John Downer is a sign painter by trade, with a specialty in gold leaf lettering. He has a BA in Fine Art from Washington State University and both an M.A. and an MFA in Painting from The University of Iowa. He began his career as a freelance type designer in 1983. Downer writes about type and type history for Emigre magazine, House magazine, and other publications. He lives in Iowa City, and travels widely in the United States and Europe, always on the lookout for interesting letterforms.