This talk took place on November 5, 2018, in the Rose Auditorium at The Cooper Union as part of the Type@Cooper Program. The recording is made possible by a generous sponsorship from Hoefler & Co.
The Rob Roy Kelly Wood Type Collection, held at the University of Texas at Austin, is a comprehensive collection of wood type, comprised of nearly 150 faces of various sizes and styles. Rob Roy Kelly (1925–2004) the noted design educator, collector, and historian began gathering the types in the late 1950s and continued adding to the collection through the mid-1960s. His decade-long research project culminated in the publication of American Wood Type, 1828–1900: Notes on the Evolution of Decorated and Large Types and Comments on Related Trades of the Period, which remains today to the preeminent history of wood type.
David Shields is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Graphic Design at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.
David is currently focusing his research on 19th century typographic form and visual culture arising from investigations of Rob Roy Kelly’s American Wood Type Collection. He keeps a slow blog of his research at Wood Type Research (woodtyperesearch.com).
His writing has been published in Slanted Magazine, Printing History, Design Inquiry Journal, and Ultrabold the Journal of the St Bride Library. David’s work has been published in Rethinking Design, AIGA Fifty Books of the Year, Behind the Seen: Studio Dumbar, and has appeared in periodicals including Eye, Emigre, and Print Magazine. His work is also included in the permanent collections of the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum and Museum of Modern Art.
Previously David was an Associate Professor of Design at The University of Texas at Austin where he served as the Head of the Design Program and as the Design Custodian for the Rob Roy Kelly American Wood Type Collection (utexas.edu/cofa/rrk). Before joining the UT Faculty in 2004, David lived in Brooklyn, NY, and taught at a number of institutions in the New York region including Rutgers, SVA, Pratt, and University of the Arts.
He continues to practice as a designer at the studio he co-founded with Jennifer Elsner in Brooklyn in 2000, Viewers Like You (viewers-like-you.com), a full-service design studio that provides creative consultancy for graphic and editorial communications and specializes in branding, strategy and positioning of both start-ups and established companies.
Shields holds a BFA from Memphis State University and an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art.