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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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Jail zesty vixen who grabbed pay from quack.
Luminari™ Luminari™
Luminari™ Luminari™
Luminari™ Luminari™
Luminari™ Luminari™
Luminari™ Luminari™

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

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1 font style from $39.00
Playing jazz vibe chords quickly excites my wife.

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1 font style from $24.95
Ebenezer unexpectedly bagged two tranquil aardvarks with his jiffy vacuum cleaner.

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8 font styles from $24.95
It’s unquestionably one of Judy G. Schwartzkopf’s exotic missives.
Bouwsma Text™ Bouwsma Text™
Bouwsma Text™ Bouwsma Text™
Bouwsma Text™ Bouwsma Text™
Bouwsma Text™ Bouwsma Text™
Bouwsma Text™ Bouwsma Text™

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12 font styles from $24.95
Jelly-like above the high wire, six quaking pachyderms kept the climax of the extravaganza in a dazzling state of flux.
Lorenzo™ Lorenzo™
Lorenzo™ Lorenzo™
Lorenzo™ Lorenzo™
Lorenzo™ Lorenzo™
Lorenzo™ Lorenzo™

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3 font styles from $39.00
Crazy Fredericka bought many very exquisite opal jewels.

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We promptly judged antique ivory buckles for the next prize.

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ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ

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Sex prof gives back no quiz with mild joy.

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The quick brown fox jumps over a lazy dog.

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Jay visited back home and gazed upon a brown fox and quail.
Alexia™ Alexia™

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Packing five dozen waxy liquor jugs? Must be a typophile.
Tupelo™ Tupelo™
Tupelo™ Tupelo™
Tupelo™ Tupelo™
Tupelo™ Tupelo™

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2 font styles from $39.00
Packing five dozen waxy liquor jugs? Must be a typophile.

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Questions of a zealous nature have become by degrees petty waxen jokes.

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Jelly-like above the high wire, six quaking pachyderms kept the climax of the extravaganza in a dazzling state of flux.

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Big July earthquakes confound zany experimental vow.

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Jay visited back home and gazed upon a brown fox and quail.

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Many-wived Jack laughs at probes of sex quiz.

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TV folk buy ex-Prez John Quincy Adams’ wig.

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ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ

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Mozart’s jawing quickly vexed a fat bishop.

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ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ

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Pack my box with five dozen liquor jugs.

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ABCDEabcde

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Jelly-like above the high wire, six quaking pachyderms kept the climax of the extravaganza in a dazzling state of flux.

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Fabled reader with jaded, roving eye seized by quickened impulse to expand budget.
Lyra™ Lyra™
Lyra™ Lyra™
Lyra™ Lyra™
Lyra™ Lyra™
Lyra™ Lyra™

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The quick brown fox jumps over a lazy dog.
Styx™ Styx™

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6 font styles from $24.95
Hark! Toxic jungle water vipers quietly drop on zebras for meals!
Torquemada Torquemada

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9 font styles from $24.95
Watch all five questions asked by experts amaze the judge.
Testament™ Testament™
Testament™ Testament™
Testament™ Testament™
Testament™ Testament™
Testament™ Testament™

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42 font styles from $24.95
Packing five dozen waxy liquor jugs? Must be a typophile.
Maestro™ Maestro™
Maestro™ Maestro™
Maestro™ Maestro™
Maestro™ Maestro™
Maestro™ Maestro™

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4 font styles from $49.95
Jim just quit and packed extra heavy bags for Liz Owen.
Symposium Pro™ Symposium Pro™
Symposium Pro™ Symposium Pro™
Symposium Pro™ Symposium Pro™
Symposium Pro™ Symposium Pro™
Symposium Pro™ Symposium Pro™

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My expensive quartz watch once belonged to JFK.

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Gen. Schwarzkopf’s job quietly vexed him.
Mirabel™ Mirabel™