Fe, Fi, Fo, Fum

20 line Grecian Condensed

It’s interesting to note that the earliest appearance of Grecian, in the 1840s, was in a condensed form. The full face version that inspired Hoefler & Frere-Jones’ steroidal Knox didn’t show up until nearly twenty years later.

A side by side comparison of two F’s – both came in a single case of type purchased last year from an eBay seller – illustrates how slight changes to a letterform can dramatically alter its presence. The character on the right has an elongated upper arm and a thinner central arm (or crossbar) with the addition of unbracketed serifs. These seemingly minor design changes make this F appear narrower and more refined.

Hyperbole For Sale, part 1

Last night I installed a small show at Alchemy. Lauren helped me hang twelve new prints, plus two completed last year. The main attraction of the show, entitled Hyperbole For Sale, is the immense “Super, Extra, Ultra, Mega!” At 19.75 x 27.5 inches, it’s easily the largest print I’ve made, and it was only possible because of the fabulous Vandercook SP20 at the Book Arts Studio.

Super, Extra, Ultra, Mega! on press
The first line is 30 line Grecian Condensed; second is 20 line French Clarendon; Ultra is set in 24 line Gothic X Condensed (the only type used for this piece not from my collection); and last but not least is 15 line Antique Tuscan.

Makeready
All of the type used for this print is quite old and in pretty rough shape. The makeready took nearly eight hours, and still could have been better, but I had a show to hang!

Printing on the SP20, photo courtesy Lauren Huber

The first of three runs on the drying rack at the Book Arts Studio

Holding a copy of the finished print for human scale

Detail of the 8 line Aldine Expanded exclamation, printed in red

I decided to really emphasize the scale of this print by flanking it with two 5 x 7 inch prints.