Letterpress

Alphabets of Wood.

alphabetswood_fullI’ll admit it, I’m a type junkie. I have been for a long time, and there is no 12 step program to cure me of this affliction. It’s part of being a graphic designer, and someone who has spent the better part of his adult life playing with, using and building with typography to create something new and unique.

This morning when I was out on the Hamilton Wood Type Museum website (yes there is a museum dedicated to wood typography) I came across a book for sale that will be going into my reference stack asap.

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“Alphabets of Wood. Luigi Melchiori and the history of Italian wood type” is the most recent addition to the latest wave of books dedicated to the history of wood type used in printing presses before digital, and before metal type became the standards of the day. It is also the first book to seriously look at the historical and cultural significance of Italian wood type manufacturers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

“This book sprung from an encounter with the life and work of Luigi Melchiori, a skilled craftman who lived and worked during the late ninteenth and early twentieth centuries in Crespano del Grappa – a small community at the foothills of the Alps in the Veneto Region. It is a tribute to a maker of alphabets of wood. The authors, James Clough and Chiara Scattolin, develop a private and professional artist’s profile, the history of the wood type and its progressive use in typography. The archive “Luigi Melchiori” is part of Tipoteca Italiana’s collections.”

 

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Monotype – Alan Kitching

This video, produced by Monotype features letterpress artist Alan Kitching. Kitching has been working in the field of design and printing most of his life. He is 100 percent analog. Absolutely no computers involved in any way, shape or form. This is a wonderfully shot and edited piece that truly honors the art and craft of letterpress design, and execution.

Portrait of a Letterpress Printer.

This put a smile on my face for a number of reasons. First off it is a really nice documentary short. Beautiful cinematography and editing. Solid story line and an interesting character. An insight into the wisdom that one gets from years of creativity. And then there is the portion of the film, where Mr. William Amer comes full circle to rediscover his passion and spread it to others. Love this little film. Great work from

Made by Hand at Adams of Rye.

Back in the day, when I was in art school… I just made myself sound really old… anyway, I took quite a few printmaking classes. I was really into the process of Lithography and intaglio printmaking. There was a solid satisfaction in the creation process and the slowness in which an image was produced.

At one point I discovered letter press and I had an instant connection to it. In part it came from the fact that I was working part time as a designer and paste up artist to help pay for school. I think the connection between the typesetting component, and the printing process is what brought it all together for me.

The video below by Leo Cackett was produced for  for Wallpaper* magazine. It features Derek Stonham, and Ian Foster producing a wood type printed piece for the cover of the 2012 May issue of the magazine. At one point in the voice over by Foster, he talks about working with antique machinery and type. This is so true. The press is probably over 100 years old, as well as the wood type they are using. I love the fact that there is a dedicated group of people all over the world that are keeping this craft alive. It really rings true with me after spending 10 hours in front of a computer screen working in Photoshop and Illustrator.

Love Letters for Hamilton Type.

When the good people at Mama’s Sauce in Orlando Florida found out that the Hamilton Type Museum were being forced to relocate, they did something extraordinary. They culled the talents of some extremely skilled designers to help raise money for the Hamilton move. The video below tells the story of who what and why. The video is worth watching in its own right. The cause makes it even better.

Letters: mamas-sauce.com/shop/love-letters/
Hamilton Type: woodtype.org/support

Designers:

Fuzzco (fuzzco.com/)
Justin Mezzell (justinmezzell.com/)
Aaron Draplin (draplin.com/)
Dana Tanamachi (tanamachistudio.com/)
Jon Contino (joncontino.com/)
Jessica Hische (jessicahische.is/)
Ross Moody 55HI’s (55his.com/)

Music by: Keegan Dewitt keegandewitt.com/

Gerald Summers 1934 Armchair becomes a Business Card.

It’s a pretty well known fact that if you want your business card to get noticed, it better stand out from the crowd. There are plenty of ways to make this happen, but few of them are as fun as this card designed by Richard C Evans for Bentply, a London furniture shop that specializes in vintage, 20th century modern furniture.

The card was letterpress printed by Elegante Press on three layers of card for stability, and die cut so it could be punched out, and folded up to become a miniature 1934 plywood armchair designed by Gerald Summers. The card looks great unfolded with a great visual layout, and color pallet that precisely the aesthetic of mid 20th century instructional manuals. Punched out and folded up it becomes a hard to forget item that transcends typical business card design.

Between Page and Screen. A Book of Augmented Reality Poems.

Over the last couple of years I have seen a ton of augmented reality stuff. Most of it is geared toward a camera enabled smartphone, and most of it is designed to extend a product offering or promote something.A lot of it is pretty mediocre in design, and implementation.

It is refreshing to see an augmented reality application that is being used to help create a literary experience. One that is well designed, well constructed, and well thought out.

Between Page and Screen was written by Amaranth Borsuk and developed by Brad Bouse. The book is a series of poems that are displayed on the page as geometric patterns that reveal the text when shown to w computer with a web camera, or a camera enabled smartphone.

Originally produced as a limited-edition hand-bound and letterpress-printed artist’s book, Between Page and Screen has been shown internationally at a number of exhibitions from San Francisco to Berlin, and is now available as a hardbound book on the Between Page and Screen website from Siglio Press.

“The pages of this artist’s book contain no text—only abstract geometric patterns and a web address leading to this site, where the book may be read using any browser and a webcam. The poems that appear, a series of letters written by two lovers struggling to map the boundaries of their relationship, do not exist on either page or screen, but in the augmented space between them opened up by the reader.”