Born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 1954, Paul Shaw has a BA in American Studies (history and literature) from Reed College and an MA in American History from Columbia University. “I am self-taught in the field of graphic design,” he says. “But I have been drawing letters since I was in grade school. In high school one of the first calligraphy books that I was given was An ABC Book by Erik Lindegren.”
While at Columbia University he was working on a dissertation on the life and work of W. A. Dwiggins. As the same time he began to take on free-lance lettering jobs as a means of paying tuition. After several years, the lettering and typeface designs became more important than finishing his dissertation. Shaw has done work for clients as diverse as Campbell Soup, Revlon, and NBC.