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Type Tuesday: All the fonts of the fair

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Type Tuesday: All the fonts of the fair

From GBP 8.50



Nov 28 2023 19:00 - 21:30


Type Tuesday: All the fonts of the fair

St Bride Foundation, Tuesday 28 November 2023 in the Bridewell Hall 7-9.30pm

Eye magazine hosts another of its popular Type Tuesday evening events with a focus on signwriting with Joby Carter. Joby is one of the world’s leading experts in signwriting, fancy lettering and fairground art. He learned to signwrite with an apprenticeship with a master signwriter who in turn had learnt in the same way going back to the 19th century.

As an advocate of traditional signwriting techniques, Joby has become a spokesperson for these traditional skills in our digital age. He runs signwriting and fairground art courses at the Carters Steam Fair Yard in Maidenhead. He teaches the traditional methods of signwriting, and advocates drawing and laying out designs without the use of computers or digital software. He does not take short cuts when painting which means no masking tape for straight lines, no vinyls to cover surfaces and no airbrushing. You can find out more here.

At the Type Tuesday talk, Joby will share his unique experience of growing up on Carters Steam Fair, the beautiful vintage travelling funfair and his lifetime love of creating and painting lettering by hand. He will share more about the bright, whimsical styles of fairground lettering and how there is more to fairground fonts than just ‘Rosewood’. In his talk, he will share examples of artwork from famous fairground artists such as Fred Fowle and talk about the work he and his team have done to create new reference alphabets in Fred Fowle’s signature style.

You can read more about the styles of fairground art in a feature in Eye 86.

Joby has just published a second book, All the Fonts of the Fair which showcases fancy lettering styles found at traditional British fairgrounds up until the 1960s. Many of these styles are missing from graphic design manuals and typography archives. This book helps continue their legacy and give them a new lease of life. Find out more here.

Joby’s first book, Signwriting Tips Tricks and inspiration was reviewed in Eye 102 

Both books will be available to buy on the night.

There will be a bar and a stall at which you can buy bargain back issues of Eye plus the latest editionEye 105. 

Tickets £13, £11 members/concessions, £8.5 students

All proceeds go to support St Bride Foundation.

Ticket is non-refundable, however you are welcome to offer your ticket to another person. Please contact to change the name of your booking at least 7 days prior to the event date.


Established in 1891 with a clear social and cultural purpose, St Bride Foundation is one of London’s hidden gems.

Housed in a beautiful Grade II listed Victorian building, St Bride Foundation was originally set up to serve the burgeoning print and publishing trade of nearby Fleet Street, and is now finding a new contemporary audience of designers, printmakers and typographers who come to enjoy a regular programme of design events and workshops.

Many thousands of books, printing-related periodicals and physical objects are at the heart of St Bride Library. Volumes on the history of printing, typography, newspaper design and paper-making jostle for space alongside one of the world’s largest and most significant collections of type specimens. The printed, written, carved and cast word may be found at St Bride in its myriad forms. Architectural lettering and examples of applied typography in many media, together with substantial collections of steel punches and casting matrices for metal types are also held in this eclectic collection. The Reading Room is open to visitors twice a month and on other days by appointment. Although we operate on a cost-neutral basis, it is necessary to charge for some of our services. Details are available by emailing the library team at

St Bride retains many of its original features, including the baths, laundry, printing rooms and library. As part of the Foundation’s original mission to provide for the community, many of the building’s unique and characterful spaces are available to hire whether for meetings, weddings or classes.

St Bride also houses the popular Bridewell Theatre, and Bridewell Bar (once the laundry), and hosts a year-round programme of plays, comedy, music and exhibitions.

With some 65,000 visitors a year St Bride Foundation is a major London hub for the creative arts in London. We look forward to welcoming you soon.


St Bride Foundation, Bride Lane, EC4Y 8EQ London


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