Joseph Churchward, QSM (1923 – 2013)

In September 2010 I had the honor of meeting Joseph Churchward at his Hataitai home studio.

I enjoyed hearing his narration of life thus far,  his interest in genealogy – my grandmother was Rubina Franzen (nee Churchward) and seeing his family photo wall – and the passion he exuded for his vocation.

Joseph is a master typeface designer, and through focused dedication to this art from a young age he’s created more than 690 hand-crafted fonts. Which include recognisable fonts in New Zealand such as the TV One logo, The Evening Post and The Dominion.

About 1938, when I was a young boy, the Samoan House girls who looked after me took me to the beach – they scribbled letters on the sand to teach me how to draw letters, the waves came and washed the letters away! I copied (the girls) and drew the same letters.

Throughout my life I’ve never forgotten the experience. I remember this when I use a rubber to clean pencil marks off my letters.

Joseph Churchward – Interview with David Bennewith – 20.10.2005

Joseph Churchward
Joseph 1994 at his studio in Apia, Samoa.

Joseph enjoyed having his photo taken and this is my favourite portrait of him while he’s focused on refining a new font at his home based studio.

Joseph Churchward
Portrait: Joseph Churchward September 2010 at his home studio in Wellington.

For more about Joseph and his prolific life as a typeface and advertising designer I can recommend David Bennewith’s book  – Joseph Churchward

About Tahnia Roberts

Tahnia is a Kuala Lumpur based photographer, and she loves telling stories with photography. She contributes to several platforms for photography and arts, and has received acknowledgement from FWA Photo and other publications on several occasions.

1 Comment

  1. Extremely enlightening….look forward to returning.

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