Joseph Churchward

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Joseph Churchward

Born(1932-08-20)20 August 1932}
Apia, Samoa
Died26 April 2013(2013-04-26) (aged 80)
Wellington, New Zealand
OccupationGraphic designer and typographer

Joseph Churchward QSM (20 August 1932 – 26 April 2013) was a Samoan New Zealander, graphic designer and typesetter. He is famous for having designed fonts now used around the world. His designs were also used in the masthead of the newspaper The Evening Post. He handcrafted an estimated 690 original typefaces.[1]

Churchward was born in Apia, Samoa.[1] He moved to New Zealand in 1946 to study at Miramar South School in Wellington. In 1948, he obtained an Art Distinction Award in Lettering from Wellington Technical College and began a career as a commercial artist.[2]

He founded Churchward International Typefaces in 1969. German company Berthold Fototypes subsequently distributed his fonts throughout the world.[2] Over the span of his career, Churchward created more than 582 original typefaces.[3] In 2008, a special exhibition was set up for his art at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.[2]

Churchward was of Samoan, English, Scottish, Tongan and Chinese heritage.[3]

He was awarded the Queen's Service Medal in the 2010 Queen's Birthday Honours, for services to typography.[4]

One of his typefaces, Churchward Design is used in the opening and closing titles of the French movie Le Magnifique.[citation needed]

The typeface he named after his daughter, Churchward Marianna is used for the brand and labels of Mela Juice - a Greytown, New Zealand apple pressing company.

He died on 26 April 2013 in Wellington from bowel cancer.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Stewart, Matt (6 May 2013). "Creating typefaces for the world". Dominion Post. Retrieved 16 May 2013.
  2. ^ a b c "Letter Man: Joseph Churchward’s world of type", Te Papa Museum
  3. ^ a b "Joseph's a master of letters", The Wellingtonian, September 1, 2008
  4. ^ "Queen's Birthday honours list 2010". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 7 June 2010. Retrieved 10 October 2018.

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