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Philip Bouwsma

Philip Bouwsma was born in Boston in 1948 and grew up in Berkeley, California, where his father was a professor of Renaissance and Reformation History. He was given a calligraphy book when he was ten and spent a year in Florence two years later, where he learned Latin and discovered history and art. Bouwsma was originally interested in calligraphy because of its appeal as craft and because it is old; later from copying manuscripts he discovered the unique capacity of the written stroke to record the thought patterns of people from long ago. Only later did he come to see it as art and, ultimately, a new way of seeing the universe.

Bouwsma made his career choice in 1962 during a school A-bomb drill as he held his head under the desk contemplating the destruction of the human race. Considering his options, calligraphy or ancient history, he decided that calligraphy would be way more fun but he wanted a classical education anyway. He spent his teens learning Latin and Greek, making things (catapaults, a harpsichord), playing bass in rock bands and doing calligraphy. He quit graduate school and rock 'n roll in 1971 to follow his calling and has no regrets.

In 1975 Bouwsma went to New York where he freelanced in the publishing and advertising fields and joined the Society of Scribes. Not a city boy, he moved in 1978 to rural Connecticut. Out in the country, free of linear perspective and commercial deadlines, his alphabets became abstract and three-dimensional; an imagery based on calligraphic forms emerged which he applied to abstract painting, sculpture and jewelry. During the nineties he created numerous fonts based on broad pen calligraphy, many of them from historic scripts, and designed custom fonts for clients including Canadian Club, CosmoGirl Magazine, and The Greenwich Workshop.

Bouwsma is now living in the redwoods in Northern California with his wife Hildy and daughter Ann. He has recently agreed with Canada Type to produce calligraphic fonts, beginning with Torquemada. He describes his current vision of letters as "the pure moving calligraphic stroke, not the pen-and-ink rendition or the bézier outlines, but the actual stroke, device-independent, tracing its path with a musical sound through space, where I can grasp and shape it like a sculpture." Bouwsma is very optimistic about the future of calligraphy in the computer age; just as the printing press forced Renaissance scribes to become artists, the computer both challenges and empowers calligraphers to create anything they can imagine.

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34 font families by Philip Bouwsma

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Freight to me sixty dozen quart jars and twelve black pans.
Luminari™ Luminari™
Luminari™ Luminari™
Luminari™ Luminari™
Luminari™ Luminari™
Luminari™ Luminari™

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8 font styles from $24.95
Wham! Volcano erupts fiery liquid death onto ex-jazzbo Kenny G.
Bouwsma Text™ Bouwsma Text™
Bouwsma Text™ Bouwsma Text™
Bouwsma Text™ Bouwsma Text™
Bouwsma Text™ Bouwsma Text™
Bouwsma Text™ Bouwsma Text™

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6 font styles from $24.95
Fabled reader with jaded, roving eye seized by quickened impulse to expand budget.
Torquemada Torquemada

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The vixen jumped quickly on her foes barking with zeal.

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1 font style from $35.00
Suez sailor vomits jauntily abaft while waxing parquet decks.

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4 font styles from $24.95
It’s unquestionably one of Judy G. Schwartzkopf’s exotic missives.
Styx™ Styx™

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2 font styles from $65.00
Jeb quickly drove a few extra miles on the glazed pavement.

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5 font styles from $65.00
Watch “Jeopardy!” Alex Trebek’s fun TV quiz game.

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5 font styles from $65.00
Watch all five questions asked by experts amaze the judge.

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10 font styles from $24.95
Jeb quickly drove a few extra miles on the glazed pavement.
Alexia™ Alexia™

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3 font styles from $65.00
Queen Elizabeth’s Major picked five sexy wigs.

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3 font styles from $65.00
Cozy sphinx waves quart jug of bad milk.

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2 font styles from $65.00
My help squeezed back in again and joined the weavers after six.

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6 font styles from $24.95
Quick zephyrs blow, vexing daft Jim.
Tupelo™ Tupelo™
Tupelo™ Tupelo™
Tupelo™ Tupelo™
Tupelo™ Tupelo™

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4 font styles from $39.95
Lazy movers quit hard-packing of papier-mache jewelry boxes.
Lyra™ Lyra™
Lyra™ Lyra™
Lyra™ Lyra™
Lyra™ Lyra™
Lyra™ Lyra™

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12 font styles from $24.95
How vexing a fumble to drop a jolly zucchini in the quicksand.
Lorenzo™ Lorenzo™
Lorenzo™ Lorenzo™
Lorenzo™ Lorenzo™
Lorenzo™ Lorenzo™
Lorenzo™ Lorenzo™

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1 font style from $35.00
Perhaps President Clinton’s amazing sax skills will be judged quite favorably.

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2 font styles from $65.00
Quickly Shortz dreams up a few vexing jumbles.

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Sex prof gives back no quiz with mild joy.

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2 font styles from $65.00
Fixing the razor, J.S. Bach vowed to primp quickly.

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A mad boxer shot a quick, gloved jab to the jaw of his dizzy opponent.

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Blowzy red vixens fight for a quick jump.

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Jump by vow of quick, lazy strength in Oxford.

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ABCDEabcde

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ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ

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Alfredo just must bring very exciting news to the plaza quickly.

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How quickly daft jumping zebras vex.

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ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ

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1 font style from $35.00
ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ

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9 font styles from $24.95
Putin backs away from Iraq zeal; Bush, vexed, jogs.
Testament™ Testament™
Testament™ Testament™
Testament™ Testament™
Testament™ Testament™
Testament™ Testament™

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5 font styles from $24.95
Viewing quizzical abstracts mixed up hefty jocks.
Mirabel™ Mirabel™

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42 font styles from $24.95
Five or six big jet planes zoomed quickly by the tower.
Maestro™ Maestro™
Maestro™ Maestro™
Maestro™ Maestro™
Maestro™ Maestro™
Maestro™ Maestro™

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4 font styles from $49.95
Fax back Jim’s Gwyneth Paltrow video quiz.
Symposium Pro™ Symposium Pro™
Symposium Pro™ Symposium Pro™
Symposium Pro™ Symposium Pro™
Symposium Pro™ Symposium Pro™
Symposium Pro™ Symposium Pro™

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1 font style from $35.00
Viewing quizzical abstracts mixed up hefty jocks.