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John Downer

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.

Downer’s debut text family was Bitstream Iowan Old Style, published in 1991. Iowan Old Style is classified as a Venetian old style type design. It is related to earlier, 20th-century American interpretations of Italian Renaissance types cut by Nicolas Jenson and Francesco Griffo, but it is modeled also on classical inscriptional lettering and sign painting seen in certain regions of eastern Iowa.

6 font families by John Downer

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Albums

4 font styles from $39.00
Gen. Schwarzkopf’s job quietly vexed him.
Brothers Brothers
Brothers Brothers
Brothers Brothers
Brothers Brothers
Brothers Brothers

Albums

7 font styles from $39.00
The quick brown fox jumps over a lazy dog.

Albums

5 font styles from $39.00
Two hardy boxing kangaroos jet from Sydney to Zanzibar on quicksilver pinions.
Vendetta™ Vendetta™
Vendetta™ Vendetta™
Vendetta™ Vendetta™
Vendetta™ Vendetta™
Vendetta™ Vendetta™

Albums

3 font styles from $39.00
Quip-crazy Gorbachev went and mixed flapjacks.
Council™ Council™
Council™ Council™
Council™ Council™
Council™ Council™
Council™ Council™

Albums

3 font styles from $39.00
Then a cop quizzed Mick Jagger’s ex-wives briefly.
Triplex Italic Triplex Italic
Triplex Italic Triplex Italic
Triplex Italic Triplex Italic
Triplex Italic Triplex Italic
Triplex Italic Triplex Italic

Albums

6 font styles from $35.00
The big plump jowls of zany Dick Nixon quiver.
Iowan Old Style Iowan Old Style
Iowan Old Style Iowan Old Style
Iowan Old Style Iowan Old Style
Iowan Old Style Iowan Old Style
Iowan Old Style Iowan Old Style