John Downer began training as a sign painter while he was in high school. He finished his apprenticeship after college, then started graduate studies in art at The University of Iowa, where he received MA and MFA degrees in painting.
John Downer currently resides in Iowa City, and lectures throughout the U.S. and Europe. His essays on type history and hand lettering have appeared in Emigre magazine and House magazine. Downer’s professional activities include sign painting, lettering, glass gilding, type design, typography, and logo design. He has also designed custom fonts for individuals and corporations.