James Clough

A London-based calligrapher and scholar, he studied Typographic Design at the London College of Printing. He worked as a designer and calligrapher mainly in Milan, where he settled and has lived since 1971. He teaches typography and the history of typography at Italian and Swiss universities and has curated three printing museums. He lectures in Italy, England, the USA and Turkey. He writes about typography for Italian and international publications, such as Matrix, Eye, Codex among others. In 2014 with Chiara Scattolin he wrote Alphabets of Wood, published by Tipoteca Italiana.

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    Whimsical and intuitive, original, humorous, improvised, elegant: Italian signs are a mirror of Italian society. What distinguishes the most interesting Italian signs and inscriptions is the variety of original letterforms.

    Before typefaces and fonts dominated the scene, there was no standardization in Italy of letterforms for commercial signs and there were no printed manuals for signwriters. This freedom and detachment from standard models of letters as well as the craftsmanship and creativity of the signmakers and designers are what make Italian signs so extraordinary.

    In this book, the Italian-based British designer, teacher and writer, James Clough, examines Italian signs within a historical perspective and from many standpoints. From the ornate Tuscan style of the 19th century to the eccentric letters of Art Nouveau, from the grandiose architectural lettering of the 1930s to the exquisite surviving examples of the old signwriters, from fascist ghost signs to lettering on manhole covers, Clough points out the highs and lows of this artistic expression as he takes readers on a fascinating lettering tour of Italy.

    Text and illustrations by James Clough
    Cover design by Luca Barcellona
    Book design by Bunker

    12 × 8½”
    248 pages
    Over 300 photographs
    Hardcover
    English edition
    Isbn 978-88-98030-08-8
    First edition September 2015