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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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1 font style from $29.95
My help squeezed back in again and joined the weavers after six.
Luminari™ Luminari™
Luminari™ Luminari™
Luminari™ Luminari™
Luminari™ Luminari™
Luminari™ Luminari™

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5 font styles from $65.00
Jump by vow of quick, lazy strength in Oxford.

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1 font style from $35.00
TV folk buy ex-Prez John Quincy Adams’ wig.

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8 font styles from $24.95
John Quincy Adams grew vexed by talk of puzzles.
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
A very bad quack might jinx zippy fowls.
Torquemada Torquemada

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1 font style from $24.95
Lazy movers quit hard-packing of papier-mache jewelry boxes.

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4 font styles from $24.95
Just work for improved basic techniques to maximize your typing skill.
Styx™ Styx™

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3 font styles from $65.00
Six big juicy steaks sizzled in a pan as five workmen left the quarry.

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3 font styles from $65.00
Would you please examine both sizes of jade figures very quickly.

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2 font styles from $65.00
Grumpy wizards make toxic brew for the evil Queen and Jack.

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10 font styles from $24.95
My help squeezed back in again and joined the weavers after six.
Alexia™ Alexia™

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1 font style from $35.00
The vixen jumped quickly on her foes barking with zeal.

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5 font styles from $65.00
A quick movement of the enemy will jeopardize six gunboats.

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6 font styles from $24.95
A quick movement of the enemy will jeopardize six gunboats.
Tupelo™ Tupelo™
Tupelo™ Tupelo™
Tupelo™ Tupelo™
Tupelo™ Tupelo™

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1 font style from $35.00
Blowzy red vixens fight for a quick jump.

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Hark! Toxic jungle water vipers quietly drop on zebras for meals!

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2 font styles from $35.00
Blowzy night-frumps vex’d Jack Q.

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2 font styles from $65.00
Putin backs away from Iraq zeal; Bush, vexed, jogs.

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2 font styles from $65.00
Questions of a zealous nature have become by degrees petty waxen jokes.

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2 font styles from $65.00
Six big juicy steaks sizzled in a pan as five workmen left the quarry.

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1 font style from $35.00
ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ

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1 font style from $35.00
Cozy sphinx waves quart jug of bad milk.

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

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ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ

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1 font style from $65.00
Blowzy night-frumps vex’d Jack Q.

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1 font style from $35.00
ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ

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1 font style from $35.00
Was there a quorum of able whizzkids gravely exciting the jaded fish at ATypI?

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ABCDEabcde

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4 font styles from $39.95
Whacky pangram quiz flummoxed Steve Jobs.
Lyra™ Lyra™
Lyra™ Lyra™
Lyra™ Lyra™
Lyra™ Lyra™
Lyra™ Lyra™

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12 font styles from $24.95
Queen Elizabeth’s proxy waved off Mick Jagger.
Lorenzo™ Lorenzo™
Lorenzo™ Lorenzo™
Lorenzo™ Lorenzo™
Lorenzo™ Lorenzo™
Lorenzo™ Lorenzo™

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9 font styles from $24.95
Gen. Schwarzkopf’s job quietly vexed him.
Testament™ Testament™
Testament™ Testament™
Testament™ Testament™
Testament™ Testament™
Testament™ Testament™

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

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

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4 font styles from $49.95
Quip-crazy Gorbachev went and mixed flapjacks.
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
Cozy lummox gives smart squid who asks for job pen.