I just added some 6 and 12 point new old stock Copperplate Gothic metal type to the Letterpress Daily store.
Only two days left to take advantage of the Felt & Wire Finds promotional pricing on Smart & Wiley’s latest product, the colorful Take Note memo pad sets. Each set includes two wiro bound memo pads made of letterpress proof sheets from various S&W projects, a latex-free rubber band, and an imprinted pencil made of sustainable materials.
This past Monday I finished some A9 showcards for an upcoming exhibit of drawings by my incredibly talented friend, Mary Toscano. I handset the type for the first run using 10 and 24 Cloister Light Face, cast by The Dale Guild.
Due to the angles, placing the type high brass rules presented a challenge. I really love the creative problem solving required to letterpress print from metal and wood type and rules. Here’s my on-the-fly solution. I laid a thin sheet of paper over a laserprinted comp and traced the lines representing the brass rules. I placed the tracing paper on the press bed and used strong magnets to secure the brass rules directly on top of the traced lines. Voila!
Mary’s drawings have an anxious, compelling energy about them. And wavy rules seemed appropriate for a show titled Worry Lines.
Mixing the “salmon” pink for the final run required combining four inks; opaque white, yellow, transparent tint base, and warm red. I was also relying on the Cream Rives BFK to warm up the final color.
Despite hours (no exaggeration) of cleaning the 14 and 18 point Franklin Gothic I set by hand for the final run, I could not get consistently clean prints. The transparent pink kept getting muddy. To avoid ruining the entire edition, I improvised and made a photopolymer plate.
The finished prints. I printed the A9 cards two-up on 8.5 x 11 inch sheets then cut the stack in half on the guillotine. I wanted the design to allude to the Into the White showcards I did last year for Mary and Cara Despain.
What’s the danger of having access to a full case of new Cloister Light Face expertly cast by The Dale Guild Type Foundry?
The first five people to like Smart & Wiley on Facebook will receive a hand written note on a one-of-a-kind makeready postcard from the press run. We’ll also throw in a bonus makeready card for the first five to make a purchase through our Felt & Wire shop.
Smart & Wiley’s latest offering is a set of four Valentine’s Day postcards, just right for the type/letterpress lover in your life. See more pictures on our website, check out our Facebook page, and pick up a set for you and your sweetie from our Felt & Wire shop before they’re gone!
Click the “Store” tab at the top of the page (or click here) to check out 4 new-to-the-store prints! Also, the limited stock of proof / makeready books made from the “Free Amos Kennedy” posters are on sale, grab ’em while you can.
For the first holiday card I’ve done since 2006 (and the first for Smart & Wiley), I used a 10 line wood type pyramid, paired with 18 point ATF Garamond Italic. Rounded corners and a blind embossed kraft envelope give the card a finished, upscale look.
Sky Shipley and his wife, proprietors of Skyline Type Foundry, do a fantastic job of packaging their expertly cast type. Every box is custom packed to keep the type on its feet during shipping.
I used some off cuts of Crane’s Lettra for proofing. Big thanks to Jen Farrell of Starshaped Press for an amazing wedding gift!
Page 7 (recto) of this foundry type specimen goes beyond showing the alphabets (see page 6), using contrived text to highlight certain letters and qualities – the flaring descender of the Normande Italic lowercase f, and the gorgeous capital G; Regina’s racy capital R.
If you don’t know about The Dale Guild Type Foundry, don’t even finish this sentence, just click the link and support (by purchasing) the important work being done by these outstanding craftspeople. I can’t wait to get my hands on – and letterspace! – the excellent, lapidary Elysian Title.
Page 6 (verso) of an eight page, saddle-stitched pamphlet letterpress printed (three colors) in Germany. This page spotlights Normande Italic and a condensed, reversed, and shadowed variant of Normande, called Regina.
Words cannot fully express my love for the thick/thin contrast, ball terminals, and swash tails of the supremely Romantic¹ Normande Italic.
¹In his essential text The Elements of Typographic Style, Robert Bringhurst describes Romantic typefaces from the 18th and 19th centuries as having “high contrast; intensified rationalist axis; abrupt, thin serifs; round terminals; small aperture; [and] fully subjugated italic.”
Combining 70pt and 5pt type in one run is slightly bonkers, but if any paper could hold the delicate curves and extravagant swashes of Elegy, Mohawk Superfine would certainly be it. Check out Alyson Kuhn’s write-up about the production of what looks to be an exquisitely printed broadside: In the thin of it: Patrick Reagh’s letterpress tribute to Elegy
Detail of the Elegy Broadside, photo from Felt & Wire
I don’t have a clue what that red machine/gear is, but that’s what makes it interesting. Like the concentric circles (both on the same block) surrounding it, the machine/gear was printed from a vintage advertising cut. The type is handset 18 point Park Avenue, from the American Type Founders. The sheet size is 5 x 7 inches; the paper is Mohawk Superfine, Smooth, White, 100lb. cover.
Amsterdam Continental Types and Graphic Equipment Inc., Specimen No. 540 A
Page 3 (recto) of an eight page, saddle-stitched pamphlet letterpress printed (three colors) in Germany. Normande, one of two faces displayed in this specimen, is a fat face Roman introduced in the latter half of the nineteenth century by the Berthold foundry in Berlin.
Guess this is backtracking a little, but I just realized I wrote this post but never published it.
Easy Assembly No Tools Required
This is the first print I completed for the show and it set the tone (and color palette) for the rest of pieces. The type is 18 point ATF Garamond Italic, the image a vintage advertising cut (see Pattern Recognition), and the star 18 point Monotype. Printed on 5 x 7 inch Mohawk Superfine, Smooth, White, 100lb. cover.
The exclamation “Improved!” was set in 24 point Kaufmann, with brass rules above and below. As you can see in the next image, I used furniture from an angle-bodied wood type script font to slightly rotate the line.
Well, since you asked, yes, that is a halftone brick man. I printed the automaton in metallic silver to emphasize its robotness. The phrase, typeset in letterspaced 8 point Spartan Black (Spartan was the American Type Founders’ version of Futura), is advertisement copy appropriated from an 1897 Sears Roebouck & Co. catalog. The paper is Mohawk Superfine, Smooth, White, 100lb. cover, the dimensions 5 x 7 inches.
Last week while going through some boxes in the garage, I came across a copy of this 6.25 x 9.5 inch broadside. The compact four-color composition utilizes multiple sizes and widths of Gothic wood type, plus brass braces, Monotype Centaur (the Latin phrase), and Trump Gravur (the attribution). The paper is French Frostone (RIP). All of the type belongs to the excellent letterpress shop at Indiana University. I designed and printed this in 2005 as a contribution to the eleventh deluxe edition of Parenthesis, the journal of the Fine Press Book Association.
It’s always interesting to evaluate past work. Years after the production of this piece, I can recall conversations, events, and inspirations that surrounded the making it. But for the life of me, I cannot remember printing this edition.