The Word for the Year... MIRACULOUS!

Al Zanetti

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In Memoriam
February 7, 1944 - December 9, 2001

Al Zanetti
Watercolor by Bill Riedel

* * *

Love Prints by Al Zanetti

Please note: All designs are copyrighted

"Love is the triumph of imagination over intelligence."
--- © H. L. Mencken



Love Prints for Your Viewing Pleasure


Magenta on Royal Purple



White On Pearl Gray



Light Blue on French Blue


The inspiration for the ‘Love’ prints came as a result of a request from a small group of people in New York City who publish a Calligrapher’s Engagement Calendar with a different theme each year. That year’s theme was to letter a quotation about love. I’m not a scribe but I am a lettering artist and designer so I decided to interpret that theme in my own way and make it look like what it says.

Coincidentally, a few months earlier I had an assignment in graduate school to select a typeface for ten different words to make them look like what they said. One wouldn’t choose the same typeface to sell a negligee that one would to sell bulldozers, for instance.

One of those words was ‘love’. When the same thing keeps showing up in your life it's hard not to pay attention. When my design for the calendar came out as well as it did the publishers decided to use it on the cover. I received so much positive feedback about it (that’s what gets artists out of bed in the morning) I decided to print it as a limited edition since the design was already done and get more mileage out of what is probably the world’s most universal theme.

Since love manifests itself in many different ways and takes so many different forms I chose color combinations that had strong but distinct personalities. I always enjoy watching people as they choose the color they want. It's like a spiritual Rorschach test. There is never any hesitation or doubt but go straight to the color that speaks to them. These prints exist because I was given the talent to make them. I can sense when I work that I’m just channeling. It would be criminal of me to have a talent and not share it. I figure that’s one of my roles on this planet.

The end product is not the most important thing anyway, it's just proof that you took the journey.

        --- Al Zanetti


" Love makes people stupid."
--- Dr. Steven Kopel, Clinical Psychologist



Facts About Love Prints

These prints are a Limited Edition Serigraph, 16" x 20" printed by hand on 100% cotton archival paper from an original painting by Alexander Zanetti.  There are 3 colors available - the Magenta on Royal Purple, White on Pearl Gray background and Light Blue on French Blue.  Click on any of the Love Print images to see a large detailed print.  (Please Note: larger images may take several minutes to view.)

They make a spectacular gift for the new bride and groom, and for weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, house warmings, just because, etc.

Interesting tidbit: Al Zanetti sent one to Sarah Ban Breathnach since he loved her book so much and she just loved it.  She sent him a beautiful long letter of thanks.

The magenta Love design is now available on 100% cotton Beefy-Tees purple t-shirts!  Only $16.50 plus $3.50, S&H.  Please e-mail Al at:

With over 35 years experience as a professional artist, Al has done a wide variety of projects.  If you are interested in seeing more of his work, such as the "Snowflake" and "Ruler" featured below, please e-mail



 Ordering Information For Love Prints

"Love is a spiritual experience"      - Osho


© Love Print by
 Al Zanetti



© Love Print by
Al Zanetti



© Love Print by
 Al Zanetti


The prints cost $40 each plus $5 s&h per print. 
Please specify color and number of each print desired.

* Magenta on Royal Purple
* White on Pearl Gray background
* Light Blue on French Blue.

Include both cost of print and shipping and handling for each print requested.

International orders should pay in U.S. funds and e-mail me for postage and handling charge.

Please e-mail Mr. Zanetti's daughter, Kimberly, for further instructions.







Other Work by Al Zanetti

Customized Growth Chart
Photo courtesy of Kimberly P.
 and daughter, Samantha Marie

hand-painted by Al Zanetti

Vatican coat-of-arms
reproduced by Al Zanetti

Al Zanetti's
Two Views Of New Jersey


"A-Z"  Spectrum Alphabet
16" x 40" Designed and hand-lettered with a brush and gold leaf on colored paper.
International Award Winner

Grayletter Alphabet
designed by Al Zanetti


Artisan Alphabet
Designed and hand-lettered with a brush
Click For A More Detailed Image

"These symbols can be arranged in ways to make people love, hate, cry, laugh, think, reflect, wonder, and understand."

Cafe Mozart
4'x5' Main Identification Sign
Hand-lettered with sandblasted
and gold leaf silhouette

4'x5' Main Identification Sign

Personalized Banner


Detail of
Birthday Banner
shown above


The World's Largest Refrigerator Magnet
Commemorating the demise of Candle Stick Park


The Ultimate In Personal Home Decor
(Above artwork by Russ Mowry.)

Magnetic Signs For Your Business or Personal Vehicle

Personal Logo Design

8" x 10" Raised Gold Leaf Monogram
All 26 Letters available on a custom basis.
Any size and style.

28" x 40" Poster
hand-lettered and designed
to be used as a
self-promotion postcard
Click For A More Detailed Image


Anniversary Poster

"Some things have to be believed to be seen."



Who Is Al Zanetti?

Al Zanetti
in front of hand-painted dining room wall mural

Al Zanetti is a professional sign painter, lettering artist, designer, and educator with over 35 years experience and a perennial patron of lost causes.  He has lectured and exhibited widely and is a freelance writer.  He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors from Rutgers University, and attended graduate school at Pratt Institute in New York City, where he studied with many of the masters in the field.

Al is a 10-time National Sign Design Award Winner.  He has won numerous other awards from The Art Directors' Club of New Jersey, The society of Environmental Graphics Designers, Calligraphy Review Magazine and PRINT Casebooks.  His work appears in Sign Design, (STPublications), Artist & Alphabet (David R. Godine) and the last two editions of the Speedball Lettering Books, as well as such magazines as SignCraft, Signs of the Times, and Letter Arts Review.  Al taught at Letterforum and Calleidoscope, two international conferences of lettering artists.  He also served on the faculty of Parsons School of Design, New York City, where he taught sign painting and lettering design.  Al was selected for inclusion in the 23rd edition of Who's Who in the East.

Al tought sign design and lettering workshops throughout the United States. He was recently working on a 36'x36' fabric meditative labyrinth based on a 13th century design discovered in Chartres Cathedral in France.

 "Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it."

 --- Goethe


Artist's Statement

"I don’t do quotations. I’m an artist, not a scribe. I see one of my roles on this planet as creating and graphically presenting the symbols we call letters as a sensuous experience, not an intellectual one. My interest is in the sacred geometry; the musical, symbolic and poetic nature of the letterforms as architecture - Sumerian, Sanskrit, Cuneiform, Arabic, Oriental, Hebrew, Cyrillic, Greek, Gothic and Latin - interpreted through paper, clay, stone, wood, metal, glass, fabric, paint, ink and light as vehicles for communication, my soul to yours".

--- Alexander Zanetti






  • Society of Scribes Invitational Group Exhibition:  Artist & Alphabet -  Fall 1999
    An invitational exhibition of 100 lettering artists to represent the state of the art in calligraphy and the lettering arts of  the 20th Century.  American Institute of Graphic Arts National Design Center, New York City

  • Artist's Profile:  Letterhead's Magazine, "Keeper of our Craft" -  Spring 1999

  • Commissioned:  CATHEDRAL of ST. FRANCIS of ASSISI -  Fall 1998
    Commissioned to create "Porta Sancta" signs and reproduce the Vatican coat-of-arms for area parishes in commemoration of the Jubilee 2000 year.

  • Invitational Group Exhibition:  Calligraphic Legacies -  March 1997

  • Invitational Exhibition: Letterheads International, Dublin Ireland - October 1996

  • Guest Artist:  Artake Salon - November 1995

  • Group Exhibition: Zimmerli Art Museum - September 1994

  • Invitational Exhibition: Presidents Gallery at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York - September 1993

  • Invitational Exhibition: Northern Arizona University - September 1993

  • Certificate of Design Excellence: Print Case Books 9 - September 1992

  • Contributing Illustrator:  The Speedball Textbook, 22nd Edition -  February 1992

  • Guest Artist:  Monmouth Cablevision TV 34 - June 1991

  • Artist Profile:  SignCraft Magazine - September 1990

  • Guest Instructor:  Maryland Institute of Art - November 1990

  • Guest Instructor:  Creative Arts Workshop -  May 1989

  • Guest Lecture:  Monmouth Museum, October 1988

  • Guest Instructor:  Philadelphia Calligraphy Society - September 1988

  • Certificate of Excellence: Calligraphy Review international competition - April 1988

  • Artist profile:  Calligraphy Review magazine - October 1987

  • Silver Medal Award - Hand Lettering/Typography Design:
     Art Directors Club of New Jersey - May 1987

  • Appointed to Faculty: Parsons School of Design, Greenwich Village - February 1986




Article From The Home News & Tribune

Painter Crafts Art In Alphabet -
Area man wins worldwide acclaim in 32-year career

September 26, 1996 by Elias Holtzman

Alexander Zanetti of East Brunswick [New Jersey] is enchanted with the written word. 

He's a sign painter.

And not just any sign painter.  he is a lettering artist, a calligrapher, a designer and an educator.  He also writes about sign painting.

Zanetti has zing.

"I like to make art out of the alphabet," he says.

He has made an art of his craft.  He is world-class. In his 35+ years in the business...samples of his work have been seen and emulated around the globe.

Describing his love for lettering and sign painting, "It's music for the eyes."

Zanetti has taught sign painting and lettering design at the Parsons School of Design in New York

Zanetti calls sign painting "one of the last pure capitalistic ventures."  Which is to say, you make it using your own talent.  That is what Zanetti has done.

Zanetti is known for the preciseness of his lettering and has created an alphabet unique to him that is called Zanetti Script.  He describes it as "a highly ornate script style based on 18th century-letting style... a calligraphic handwriting with flourishes and curlicues."

One sample of the Zanetti Script is in his "Two Views of New Jersey," a work that graces his living room, and in which the words New Jersey, in Zanetti script, are juxtaposed against the words New Jersey, done graffiti style.  The work was exhibited in 1994 as part of the New Jersey Designer Craftsmen Exhibition at the Zimmerli Museum at Rutgers.

On another wall is a horizontal framed piece called Rainbow Alphabet, which takes the viewer through the alphabet, from dark to light to dark again.

"I'll talk about signs until you wrestle me to the ground," he said.  He paints from a studio in his home, and he tries to avoid on-site painting because of the distractions.

Zanetti has been painting signs from the time he was 9-years old, when he painted paper plates to describe items in his grandfather's store, Baker's 5 & 10 in South River.

You can see his work if you drive by the main sign at Rutgers Preparatory School on Easton Avenue in Franklin or notice the 8-foot by 8-foot "School's Open" sign on Rues Lane in East Brunswick. 

He's been doing the "School's Open" sign each year for 30 years.  He also has painted signs for the Hun School in Princeton and for Wooster College in Danbury, Conn.  Many of the safety banners strung across roadways were made by Zanetti for AAA campaigns. 

Much of Zanetti's work these days is done for trade shows and convention work for ad agencies and graphic designers.

"Those signs are time sensitive and ephemeral," he said.  Which means they are used for a specific occasion, and that's it.  "When I do outside work it has to be environmentally sensitive," he says.

"I'm very sensitive to the amount of junk people have to look at," he says.  "Anything I put out has to blend with the environment.  It's my way of having made a mark in the world."

One of his favorite quotes is from writer Philip Fisher:  "From the 26 letters we can reach any point.  Some combination of those letters will spell out any detail of human reality that we can notice, and any new reality can be accommodated within these same letters."

"Rampant technology has touched this craft at least as much as other crafts, " Zanetti said, referring to the inroads the computer has made in producing signs.  "Computers have democratized the craft in the worst sense of the word," he adds.

But Zanetti says it is the creative effort of the sign painter that makes the difference in what is esthetically pleasing.  "Pardon me I sound like I'm on a soapbox," he said, "but people who are able to letter and design and create see themselves as having an art and ability a notch above people making signs through computer generation."

Not that he doesn't use computers. "There are voices to type," said Zanetti.  "I like a sign that speaks and will say a lot of things unconsciously."

In addition to being a sign painter, Zanetti is a sign historian, and notes that sign painting was medieval craft.  "I have a whole library pertaining to the history of signs," he said.  "I can trace the use of signs to the pre-Christian era."

About six years ago an exhibit-design firm called him from Boston and said they wanted to design a turn-of-the-century New England fishing village.  They wanted 10 or 12 shop signs that looked like they had weathered for years.

Zanetti rose to the task.  He salvaged hardware from junkyards and picked up old wood from deserted vacant lots to create 11 shop-identification signs that looked like they had weathered 100 years.

"I was making signs out of rotting deteriorating lumber and rusting metal," he said.  The work was a success and is part of Discovery Cove inside the Ruggieri Building at New York Aquarium at Coney Island.

In a sign-painting workshop at a calligraphy conference in Washington D.C., several years ago, Zanetti had Donald Jackson, known through the calligraphy world as the official scribe for the British Queen, as one of his students.  He and Jackson have since become close friends, Zanetti said.

Zanetti's reputation as a sign painter and calligrapher led to his being given the job of painting the Pierpont Morgan Library's name on it's awning in New York City.  The Morgan Library is the depository of many classic manuscripts and type-faces as well as two Gutenberg Bibles.

The library wanted its awning painted in a 15th century typeface designed by a man named Jensen.  They wanted the work to be accurate and artistically pleasing.  "Bring in Zanetti!" the type mavens said.  And the library did.

Zanetti has had a diversified career.  He has gilded church domes - specifically a church in Elizabeth in the 60's.  When hand-painted pinstripes were fashionable on cars, Zanetti painted them.  He has hand-lettered wine barrels for use as signs, and also painted footballs and basketballs which were usually presented as game balls to a winning coach at a testimonial.

He has painted the side of live elephants in a promotion for Wonder Bread, which until recently had a manufacturing plant in East Brunswick.  Wonder Bread, for whom Zanetti had done some other work, had bought advertising space on the elephants as part of a traveling-circus promotion.  On one elephant he painted "Wonder Bread" and on another he painted "Hostess Twinkees."  "I thought they wanted me to paint a banner to drape on the elephants," he said, adding that he wrote a piece about his elephant painting experience which is still remembered by readers of a sign-painters magazine.

He has even painted a pizza, properly cooled, for a meeting of international sign-painters groups which calls itself, "Letterheads," and which is devoted to the integrity of the sign painters craft.

The group meets periodically.  Zanetti [could not attend its session in Dublin], but - at the group's request - has sent a copy of a new alphabet he has created, called Artisan.  Zanetti describes it as a "classic Roman-letter style inspired by the monumental lettering found on the friezes of Roman buildings."

Zanetti is a 1977 graduate of Rutgers University, where he was an English major.  He went to school at night, and it took him 12 years to to get his degree.  As an English major he was able to take various courses in humanities in which he was interested.  He also took courses at Pratt Institute.

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