The Past is the Present

Please join us for a talk by Commercial Type founder and partner Paul Barnes about their new venture resurrecting classic typefaces. He'll share where these designs came from, how they got made, and how they are still relevant to today's designers.

For the last ten years, Commercial Type has been designing contemporary typefaces — from modern classics like Graphik, Druk, Publico, and Guardian, to more experimental faces like Orientation and Styrene. Some of these, like Lyon and Portrait, have been informed and inspired by the past, but not dominated by it.

All the while, Commercial Type has been searching through long-forgotten specimens looking for hidden treasures — designs long forgotten and no longer available — which still resonate. These are designs that even today are useful — from the workhorse like sans, through to the more exotic like Italian.

Launched in 2019, Commercial Classics is a collection of these faces. Rather than being modern interpretations where the designer leaves an obvious mark, they are careful reconstructions, made not for yesterday, but for designers today. They take the old forms and expand them in new directions, yet retaining the charm and beauty of the originals. 


6:45 Doors Open
7:00 Presentation
8:00 Q&A

AIGA Member: $10
AIGA Student Member: $8
Non-Member: $15
Student Non-Member (ID Required): $9
Lesley Student (ID Required): FREE

University Hall is a short walk from the Porter Square MBTA station. There is a parking lot behind the building and metered parking in front on Mass Ave. Directions on Google maps


Paul Barnes

Paul Barnes is a British graphic designer, type designer, and founding partner — with Christian Schwartz — in the London– and New York–based foundry Commercial Type. Over the last ten years — with Schwartz and individually — he has designed a number of acclaimed custom and retail faces, from the enormous editorial Guardian family through to the more experimental such as Dala Floda and Marian. He has a particular interest in the history of letterforms, which has led to Commercial Type’s new venture Commercial Classics, an exploration of reviving long forgotten and extinct typefaces.


Lesley Art + Design

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Graphic by Carolyn Depot

Venue Accessibility:
AIGA Boston is committed to hosting events that are accessible for all. If you need special assistance to participate in this event, please contact Melissa Hines, Director of Diversity & Inclusion, at For reasonable assistance accommodations to be provided, please notify us at least five business days in advance of the event. If we do not receive timely notification of your reasonable request, we may not be able to make the necessary arrangements by the time of the event.

Cancellation / Refund Policy
Your registration constitutes permission to use photos, audio, and video recording taken of you at the event for promotional and educational purposes in connection with AIGA Boston. AIGA Boston has adopted the AIGA Code of Conduct with regard to its activities. We reserve the right to refuse admittance for violations of this Code, or other unlawful or disruptive actions. Any concerns should be addressed to the Director of Membership or Community Outreach.


When & Where
Tue, Oct 29, 2019 6:45 PM - 8:30 PM EDT
Lesley University Amphitheater, UHall Room 2-150
1815 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02140