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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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1 font style from $29.95
Sphinx of black quartz, judge my vow.
Luminari™ Luminari™
Luminari™ Luminari™
Luminari™ Luminari™
Luminari™ Luminari™
Luminari™ Luminari™

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

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1 font style from $35.00
Boxer M. Tyson packs his bags w/ Jay-Z DVDs, Quik, Holyfield’s ear.

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8 font styles from $24.95
King Alexander was just partly overcome after quizzing Diogenes in his tub.
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
How vexing a fumble to drop a jolly zucchini in the quicksand.
Torquemada Torquemada

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1 font style from $24.95
Dumpy kibitzer jingles as exchequer overflows.

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4 font styles from $24.95
Viewing quizzical abstracts mixed up hefty jocks.
Styx™ Styx™

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

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

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1 font style from $35.00
ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ

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2 font styles from $65.00
Brawny gods just flocked up to quiz and vex him.

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1 font style from $35.00
Hark! Toxic jungle water vipers quietly drop on zebras for meals!

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10 font styles from $24.95
Quincy Jones vowed to fix the bleak jazz program.
Alexia™ Alexia™

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2 font styles from $65.00
It’s unquestionably one of Judy G. Schwartzkopf’s exotic missives.

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5 font styles from $65.00
Just work for improved basic techniques to maximize your typing skill.

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6 font styles from $24.95
May Jo equals the fine record by solving six puzzles a week.
Tupelo™ Tupelo™
Tupelo™ Tupelo™
Tupelo™ Tupelo™
Tupelo™ Tupelo™

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4 font styles from $39.95
Jackdaws love my big sphinx of quartz.
Lyra™ Lyra™
Lyra™ Lyra™
Lyra™ Lyra™
Lyra™ Lyra™
Lyra™ Lyra™

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12 font styles from $24.95
Will Major Douglas be expected to take this true-false quiz very soon?
Lorenzo™ Lorenzo™
Lorenzo™ Lorenzo™
Lorenzo™ Lorenzo™
Lorenzo™ Lorenzo™
Lorenzo™ Lorenzo™

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3 font styles from $65.00
Gorbachev’s quixotic plan fazed jumpy hawks.

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

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

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2 font styles from $35.00
We have just quoted on nine dozen boxes of gray lamp wicks.

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A large fawn jumped quickly over white zinc boxes.

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Quick wafting zephyrs vex bold Jim.

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ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ

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Murky haze enveloped a city as jarring quakes broke fourty-six windows.

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ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ

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Sympathizing would fix Quaker objectives.

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ABCDEabcde

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9 font styles from $24.95
Sex prof gives back no quiz with mild joy.
Testament™ Testament™
Testament™ Testament™
Testament™ Testament™
Testament™ Testament™
Testament™ Testament™

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5 font styles from $24.95
Queen Elizabeth’s Major picked five sexy wigs.
Mirabel™ Mirabel™

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42 font styles from $24.95
Six big juicy steaks sizzled in a pan as five workmen left the quarry.
Maestro™ Maestro™
Maestro™ Maestro™
Maestro™ Maestro™
Maestro™ Maestro™
Maestro™ Maestro™

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4 font styles from $49.95
Queen Elizabeth’s proxy waved off Mick Jagger.
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
Mix Zapf with Veljovic and get quirky Beziers.