SAN FRANCISCO, CA.- The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
(SFMOMA) MuseumStore features a special product series designed by San Francisco typographer and printer Jack Stauffacher. The SFMOMA Artists' Series works with artists and designers represented in the museum's collection to create limited-edition products that bring art and design into everyday objects. Stauffacher is the third artist in this series.
For the MuseumStore, Stauffacher designed a special line of products using the SFMOMA letters. Items include T-shirts, canvas tote bags, reusable grocery bags, mugs, ceramic double-walled coffee cups, and acrylic tumblers.
Stauffacher first became enchanted with the craft of lead type and letterpress printing as a young boy; he established in 1934 the first incarnation of The Greenwood Press, named after the street where he and his father built it, behind the family home in San Mateo, California.
In 1966 he moved the Greenwood Press into the historic San Francisco building called "The Independent Pressroom," located at 300 Broadway. At the time, another printer was ending its poster business there, and the typographers presented Stauffacher with a box of 66 random wood letters. These 19th- and early 20th-century pieces of wood type were of different styles, ranging in size from two inches to 12 inches high, and did not comprise a complete alphabet. These became the inspiration for most of Stauffacher's typographic experiments. He believes that working within the limitations of those wood letters is a metaphor for all work with type. The discipline of Stauffacher's thinking combined with his sense of typographic space has led to nearly 50 years of unique typographic images.
In 1955 Stauffacher was awarded a Fulbright scholarship for study in Italy, where he spent three years studying Renaissance Florentine printers; at the same time he explored theories of the Bauhaus and the Constructivists. He subsequently held an academic post at the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon) and the position of Typographic Director at the Stanford University Press. The Greenwood Press continues to flourish today.
His work embodies a unique blend of traditional typography and modern design. He works in the letterpress tradition but transcends typographical conventions, using standard woodblock letterforms to create semi-abstract graphic compositions. Stauffacher has an international reputation for his typography and book design.