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Jack Stauffacher's work in printing books, typography and design
combines an informed reverence for the Classics with an insightful
appreciation of innovation. He has published a definitive
collection of the 17th century Dutch typeface Janson; and is a
proponent of modern design, using the principles of minimalism to
organize two-dimensional space. His exquisite mastery of the craft
of printing is demonstrated in the many books and limited editions
he published under the imprint of the Greenwood Press that he
founded in 1936. Stauffacher is also an educator, having taught at
Carnegie Institute of Technology and at San Francisco Art
Stauffacher's fascination with the craft of printing and the
potential of the printed word began at a young age. In 1936 he
established the Greenwood Press, named after the street on which it
was located, in a small building that he and his father built
behind the family home in San Mateo, CA. He purchased a Chandler
& Price 10 by15 platen press and a large selection of Garamond
fonts from American Type Foundry with which to print business cards
and tickets. His first books appeared when he was in his early
The Fullbright grant he received in 1955 for three years of
study in Florence provided the perfect opportunity for deep
research into the origins of the book in relation to the ethos of
place, and led to a lifelong connection to traditions of the past.
Here he met master printers Giovanni Mardersteig and Alberto
Tallone whose work and ideas influenced him profoundly.
Upon his return to the U.S., an appointment as assistant
professor of Typographic Design at the Carnegie Institute of
Technology, Pittsburgh, led to the formation of the New Laboratory
Press. He then went on to become typographic director at the
Stanford University Press and to teach at the San Francisco Art
In 1966 he reopened the Greenwood Press in a building at 300
Broadway in San Francisco and resumed producing books and limited
editions such as Albert Camus and the Men of Stone (1971).
At this time he also began a series of typographic experiments that
consisted mainly of repeated letterforms and words that produced
graduated typographic patterns and shapes. In 1967 he was
commissioned to redesign the Journal of Typographic
Research, later renamed Visible Language. The typographic
composition he used for its cover was used for many years and
became something of a design icon.
“Jack Stauffacher describes himself as a printer. It is a
somewhat deceptive term for us today. His use of the term connects
him to a five-hundred-year tradition of the
entrepreneur-publisher-designer-typographer-printer. Like the best
who made up that custom, he possesses a love of type and printing
and the ability to convey meaningful words and thought.”
—Chuck Byrne, “Jack Stauffacher, Printer,”1998
The distinguished AIGA Medal is awarded to individuals in recognition of their exceptional achievements in the field of design.
Section: Inspiration -
Few practice the art of hand-carving letters in stone. Kennard meets the Bensons, masters of this centuries-old craft and owners of The John Stevens Shop.
Section: Inspiration -
type design, typography
Ever wondered about the design process behind the Walker Art Center’s beautiful publications? Their design director shares a behind-the-scenes look at how his department conceived and executed the catalogue for “The Autoconstrucción Suites,” an exhibition by Mexican conceptual artist Abraham Cruzvillegas.
Game designer Nicole Lazzaro explores how certain feelings create dynamic engagement, and explains how designers can tap into deeper emotional experiences using the “Four Keys to Fun” at “Head, Heart, Hand: AIGA Design Conference.”
Section: Inspiration -
AIGA has drafted a document that outlines the outcomes and
competencies expected of a four-year design program. This document will
become the basis of our efforts to guide curriculum development for future design
education. We are currently seeking your input on these recommendations; please comment by August 24.
Section: About AIGA -
AIGA Insight, college, education
The Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP) is an annual online survey and data-management system designed to improve arts-school education through tracking the training, careers and lives of arts graduates.
Section: Tools and Resources -
job search, professional development, accreditation, college, graduate, education
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