Paul Shaw

Member Since January 1985
Member Type Supporter
AIGA Chapter New York
Title Owner
Company Paul Shaw/Letter Design
Email moc.rr.cyn@wahsluap
Field Typography
Bio Paul Shaw is a calligrapher and typographer working in New York City. In his 20 professional years as a lettering designer, he has created custom lettering and logos for many leading companies, including Avon, Lord & Taylor, Rolex, Clairol and Esté Lauder. Paul has taught calligraphy and typography at New York's Parsons School of Design for over 10 years and conducted workshops in New York and Italy. His work has been exhibited throughout the United States and Europe.
  • Paul authored "From A to Big Apple"
  • Paul authored "The Bush Guard Memos"
  • Paul authored "Writing History: What We Have, What We Need"
  • Paul authored "State Department bans Courier New 12, except for treaties"
  • Paul authored "Johnnie Walker Keep Walking"
  • Paul authored "The Digital Past: When Typefaces Were Experimental"
  • Paul authored "The (Mostly) True Story of Helvetica and the New York City Subway"
  • Paul authored "Lettering Grows in Brooklyn"
  • Paul Shaw commented on the article "http://staging.aiga.org/interior.aspx?pageid=3080&id=2901"

    I noticed the odd Do Not Lean on Door vinyl signs the first time I rode the new N trains (with their LED designators in place of the lovely old colored disks—what is the A train without a blue circle on its front?) in early 2008. I thought they were an aberration to that particular car or train until I began seeing comments about them online this fall. The type size is too small, some letters appear squashed, the rule is too heavy and the space between it and the text is too large. They look as if something went haywire. Some possible theories—which will have to do for now since I did not think to ask the guys at the top secret MTA Bergen Street Sign Shop when I visited it in November—are: 1. An unauthorized person at the MTA—someone outside of graphics or the sign shop—with no graphic skills beyond the ability to use a computer keyboard and mouse designed them and the sign shop just carried out the order. This sort of thing apparently happened fairly often in the pre-Kiley days at the MTA. See the enamel column signs made in the mid-1980s using Helvetica Bold Condensed. (By the way the remaining example of this atrocity at South Ferry will soon be gone as the old station will be walled off once the new one is officially opened later this month.) 2. Someone at the car manufacturer made the signs as part of the contract to build them. The MTA gave them the signage guidelines manual but they were too incompetent to follow its easy instructions properly. And once the MTA received the new cars it was not going to return them over some bad vinyl signs. This is apparently how the TA logo that preceded the two-toned M logo was designed: not by anyone at the TA but by someone at the industrial design firm creating the look of new cars. The logo may have been part of the TA contract or something added by the design firm to sweeten their winning bid. 3. The design was done by the MTA graphics department and then something went haywire in the production process at the sign shop and no one noticed it until the vinyl adhesive stickers had been printed. Then it was too late. Better to not waste material and money if the message was still clear. So, paste them up and hope no one notices. No. 3 was my original theory—and it is an amusing one—but the more I reflect on the problems with the signs (especially the size discrepancies of the letters and rule) the more I think the fault is not the MTA's but the manufacturer of the new cars (or their industrial design firm). Does anyone know who made these new cars? Paul

  • Paul Shaw commented on the article "http://staging.aiga.org/interior.aspx?pageid=3080&id=2901"

    I noticed the odd Do Not Lean on Door vinyl signs the first time I rode the new N trains (with their LED designators in place of the lovely old colored disks—what is the A train without a blue circle on its front?) in early 2008. I thought they were an aberration to that particular car or train until I began seeing comments about them online this fall. The type size is too small, some letters appear squashed, the rule is too heavy and the space between it and the text is too large. They look as if something went haywire. Some possible theories—which will have to do for now since I did not think to ask the guys at the top secret MTA Bergen Street Sign Shop when I visited it in November—are: 1. An unauthorized person at the MTA—someone outside of graphics or the sign shop—with no graphic skills beyond the ability to use a computer keyboard and mouse designed them and the sign shop just carried out the order. This sort of thing apparently happened fairly often in the pre-Kiley days at the MTA. See the enamel column signs made in the mid-1980s using Helvetica Bold Condensed. (By the way the remaining example of this atrocity at South Ferry will soon be gone as the old station will be walled off once the new one is officially opened later this month.) 2. Someone at the car manufacturer made the signs as part of the contract to build them. The MTA gave them the signage guidelines manual but they were too incompetent to follow its easy instructions properly. And once the MTA received the new cars it was not going to return them over some bad vinyl signs. This is apparently how the TA logo that preceded the two-toned M logo was designed: not by anyone at the TA but by someone at the industrial design firm creating the look of new cars. The logo may have been part of the TA contract or something added by the design firm to sweeten their winning bid. 3. The design was done by the MTA graphics department and then something went haywire in the production process at the sign shop and no one noticed it until the vinyl adhesive stickers had been printed. Then it was too late. Better to not waste material and money if the message was still clear. So, paste them up and hope no one notices. No. 3 was my original theory—and it is an amusing one—but the more I reflect on the problems with the signs (especially the size discrepancies of the letters and rule) the more I think the fault is not the MTA's but the manufacturer of the new cars (or their industrial design firm). Does anyone know who made these new cars? Paul