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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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35 font families by Philip Bouwsma

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John Quincy Adams grew vexed by talk of puzzles.
Luminari™ Luminari™
Luminari™ Luminari™
Luminari™ Luminari™
Luminari™ Luminari™
Luminari™ Luminari™

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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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Bad Joaquin Phoenix wrecks zingy TV film.

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12 font styles from $24.95
Barkeep! A flaming tequila swizzle and a vodka and Ajax, hold the cherry.
Lorenzo™ Lorenzo™
Lorenzo™ Lorenzo™
Lorenzo™ Lorenzo™
Lorenzo™ Lorenzo™
Lorenzo™ Lorenzo™

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Sexy diva Jennifer Lopez wasn’t baking me quiche.
Styx™ Styx™

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John Quincy Adams grew vexed by talk of puzzles.

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5 font styles from $65.00
Playing jazz vibe chords quickly excites my wife.

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3 font styles from $65.00
John Quincy Adams grew vexed by talk of puzzles.

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6 font styles from $24.95
Six big devils from Japan quickly forgot how to waltz.
Tupelo™ Tupelo™
Tupelo™ Tupelo™
Tupelo™ Tupelo™
Tupelo™ Tupelo™

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Five or six big jet planes zoomed quickly by the tower.

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The jukebox music puzzled a gentle visitor from a quaint valley town.

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Will Major Douglas be expected to take this true-false quiz very soon?

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Six big juicy steaks sizzled in a pan as five workmen left the quarry.

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Quick jigs for waltz vex bad nymph.
Torquemada Torquemada

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Mix Zapf with Veljovic and get quirky beziers.
Lyra™ Lyra™
Lyra™ Lyra™
Lyra™ Lyra™
Lyra™ Lyra™
Lyra™ Lyra™

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10 font styles from $24.95
The jukebox music puzzled a gentle visitor from a quaint valley town.
Alexia™ Alexia™

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Two hardy boxing kangaroos jet from Sydney to Zanzibar on quicksilver pinions.

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Whacky pangram quiz flummoxed Steve Jobs.

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Fax back Jim’s Gwyneth Paltrow video quiz.

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Queen Elizabeth’s proxy waved off Mick Jagger.

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Beloved Groucho joked with a mix of zany quips.

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All questions asked by five watch experts amazed the judge.

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ABCDEabcde

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ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ

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Quick jigs for waltz vex bad nymph.

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ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ

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2 font styles from $65.00
Five big quacking zephyrs jolt my wax bed.

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9 font styles from $24.95
Baroque? Hell, just mix a dozen wacky pi fonts & you’ve got it.
Testament™ Testament™
Testament™ Testament™
Testament™ Testament™
Testament™ Testament™
Testament™ Testament™

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4 font styles from $49.95
A quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.
Symposium Pro™ Symposium Pro™
Symposium Pro™ Symposium Pro™
Symposium Pro™ Symposium Pro™
Symposium Pro™ Symposium Pro™
Symposium Pro™ Symposium Pro™

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42 font styles from $24.95
A quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.
Maestro™ Maestro™
Maestro™ Maestro™
Maestro™ Maestro™
Maestro™ Maestro™
Maestro™ Maestro™

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Sympathizing would fix Quaker objectives.
Mirabel™ Mirabel™

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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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ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ

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

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Verbatim reports were quickly given by Jim Fox to his amazed audience.