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Dimensions: 30 inches wide, 36 inches tall
Inkjet on matte paper, printed on both sides

Artist's narrative: This letter takes Paul Laurence Dunbar back to when he was not proud of his work. In high school, he thought all of his writing was one big joke. He could not afford much, which led to him being forced to take a job as an elevator hopper. In the end, it was a situation that should be seen as a positive. When talking in the elevator with people, he was able to learn how they spoke and put it into his writing. When he finally finished Oak and Ivy, he began to sell his work within the elevator, allowing for additional opportunities to promote his work.

Font palette: FreightNeo Pro, designed by Robby Woodard; AF Lapture, designed by Tim Ahrens

These type families captured what felt like a memory that went much deeper than what was on the outside. Lapture is an old face that represents the flashback of the memory. FreightNeo Pro captures the beauty behind everything Paul Laurence Dunbar has done.

The imagery represents his journey up and down the elevator, capturing the “footsteps” through the first parts of his life. The red throughout the piece represents the bad memories of high school and what brought him to the elevator. The elevator symbolizes the starting point of Dunbar’s career—he could only go up from here.

Publication Date



Paul Laurence Dunbar, Poetry, Typography, Black History, Ohio history


Graphic Design

The Elevator Only Goes Up



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