Lettering in Chicago: From the Street to the Gallery

During this year’s Design Week, we’re taking a look at our city’s overlooked and often misunderstood street art with panelists Nick Adam, Stephen Reynolds, Miguel Aguilar. Moderated by Ryan McGovern.

This event was rescheduled for this date. All registrants who were on the original guest list, are automatically registered for this event.

Chicago's streets are full of typographic inspiration with layers of new and weathered hand-painted signs. If you’re lucky enough, you’ll spot freshly sprayed colorful bubbly lettered graffiti before it’s buffed, or a piece of art intended to make you smile or convince you to change your mind. When it all comes together, these forms of typography make our urban landscape always changing and unique.

During this Design Week event, the CBPA and STA welcome Stephen Reynolds, Miguel Aguilar, and Nick Adam to have a conversation, moderated by Ryan McGovern of Design Chat, about the history, present, and techniques of three forms of typography that we see on the streets of Chicago. We’ll look at hand-painted signs, Chicago’s rich influential graffiti scene, and artists who have used the street as their canvas to share a message instead of a gallery.

We invite the community to share their photos of Chicago street lettering that you've stumbled on. Post to Instagram using #ChiStType and we'll collect the photos to project during the reception of the event.

Thanks to Creative Go-Round for providing space for the event. Also, thanks to Finch’s Beer for providing the refreshments.

Our Panelists

Nick Adam
A creative-analytic with a conscience, Nick’s work as a communication artist is focused towards improving humankind. He specializes in how audiences relate to messaging, environments and each other. Nick believes that creating issue and audience appropriate points of awareness are the invaluable catalysts that precipitate change, positive shifts, and success.

Stephen Reynolds
Having earned degrees in the Fine Arts at the University of Michigan and the Art Institute of Chicago, Stephen Reynolds later studied the art of lettering and gilding with a master sign painter in Chicago. He has completed sign painting commissions throughout the United States and Europe for major museums, cultural institutions, restaurants, businesses, and individual artists since 1985. Reynolds often works closely with architects, designers, artists, and project managers in the development of general concepts or specific layouts. His knowledge of typestyles, graphics, and period signs contributes to positive collaborative efforts.

Miguel Aguilar
Miguel ‘Kane One’ Aguilar is a graffiti artist, educator, and founder of Graffiti Institute. A Chicago native, he began painting graffiti in 1989. He’s installed works throughout the country and has become a historian of the social practice. Miguel holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts (2000) and a Masters of Art in Teaching (2011) from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and was awarded a 3Arts Teaching Artist grant in 2012.

A STA and CBPA partner event

This lecture is part of a series of collaborative events co-sponsored by the Society of Typographic Arts and the Center for Book and Paper Arts. The events in this series will explore ways that graphic designers and artists can engage in new material practices.