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A Farewell to a Man of Letters

November 2, 2015

Artist, graphic designer, typographer and writer John Langdon is best known for his ambigrams, most notably those in Dan Brown’s bestselling novel Angels & Demons and in Ron Howard’s film adaptation. In fact, Dan Brown’s character, Professor Robert Langdon, was named for John. After teaching typography in Westphal’s Graphic Design program for 27 years, Professor Langdon is on to his next adventure. A one-night farewell exhibition at TandM Arts: Studio will center on Langdon’s painting The Persistence of Influence, a typographical homage to one of his primary artistic influences, Salvador Dalì. The exhibition will take place on Friday, November 6, from 6:30pm to 9:30pm (319 North 11th Street, 4th floor), and will be a chance for the Drexel community to wish a fond farewell to Langdon, a longtime and beloved faculty member.

An ambigram is a word or symbol whose elements retain meaning when read from different directions. Click here to see more of John’s work for clients like Sony Pictures, DirecTV, John Mayer, Nike, Will Shortz and many more. His ambigrams and logos have been published around the world. As a longtime faculty member, he taught Westphal students to make abstract concepts visual through the design of words, letters and symbols.

Since 1995 he has also applied his visual-verbal meditations in painting, blending symmetry, illusion and philosophy (and a few puns). The November 6 exhibition will explore the meticulous preparatory process that Langdon used in creating The Persistence of Influence (2000), in addition to featuring a number of other figure/ground reversals in logos and paintings. The painting is part of the collection of Westphal College benefactor Melba Pearlstein.

TandM Arts: Studio is a project of Art & Art History professor Blaise Tobia and his partner Virginia Maksymowicz. For more information about the event, please contact Blaise Tobia at