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Topic: Joseph Churchward - a life at the typeface

Is part of topic Letter Man: Joseph Churchward's world of type

Joseph Churchward recalls drawing letters in the sand as a child growing up in Samoa, where he was born in 1933. He is from the ‘aiga (family) Sä Anae, and the villages of Faleasiu and Tufulele.

In 1946, when he was 13, Churchward left Samoa to attend secondary school in Wellington, New Zealand. Two years later he gained an Art Distinction Award in Lettering from Wellington Technical College and, shortly after, began work as a commercial artist.

In 1969, he founded Churchward International Typefaces, which became New Zealand’s largest typesetting firm. Leading German type company Berthold Fototypes accepted some of his fonts for international distribution, and they were soon in use throughout the world.

Churchward’s typefaces are now digitally distributed and rub shoulders with the world’s favourites. Now aged 76, he still continues to create new fonts. A biography of his extraordinary life and work was released in March 2009.


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