For over twenty years Louise Fili has been snapping away at Italy's signage. 440 of those photos have now been wrapped up in a rather handsome hard cover and published. Grafica della Strada celebrates the display typography of her favourite European destination.
Secondhand Bookshop loiterers will relate to this:
I was at a nearby National Trust property, mooching around the secondhand bookshop, when I spied a scruffy oddity. A strangely tall volume wrapped in an interesting elk-based photo dust jacket that was topped off with a nasty piece of outline type.
If it wasn't for the unusual format I'd have passed it by but it was poking up, head and shoulders above the other odds and ends. So I did the thing you do – we all do it, don't we? – I slipped its jacket off.
We're just about to start work on a project for the NLI. In preparation for this I dived head first, into their digitised archive – their online catalogue – of print material. They have loads of stuff archived and much more still to do. It was hard not to get distracted. So I did…get distracted I mean.
The peaceful land of Punctuation is filled with tension overnight
When the stops and commas of the nation call the semi-colons ‘parasites’
In 1905, German poet Christian Morgenstern wrote a poem, In the Land of Punctuation. It told of an escalating fracas between certain marks and the bloody battle that ensued. It's a grim (and witty) tale.
Now translated into English by Sirish Rao and brilliantly illustrated by Rathna Ramanathan, Morgenstein's poem has a whole new lease of life thanks to Tara Books.
Do designers like an aphorism more than most? I'm not sure. We certainly do love a pithy truth about the nature of our work don't we? Whether it provides valuable insight into the inner workings of design practice and principles or reassurance of the validity of our most treasured points-of-view, a few carefully chosen words from a pier or hero can resonate. Letterpress it and hang it on a wall.
Handsomely bound and stylishly typeset (using a generous selection of Hoefler and Frere-Jones' Knockout) "The Designer Says" is packed to the rafters with the wit and wisdom of luminaries from design disciplines. Thoughtfully paired, each spread presents ideas either in tune with one another or at opposite poles.
I was ever so slightly bowled over by this package that arrived last week. Superbly packaged in a bespoke printed envelope and wrapped in it's own unique tissue paper, my special letter forms part of Pauline Clancy's Wood Type project. You can find out more about it here. While you're over there, check out Pauline's other work. You might remember Pauline from this piece she did last year.
I stumbled across The Salvage Press the other day. Lovely work…
The Salvage Press is devoted to preserving, promoting and pursuing excellence in design, typography & letterpress printing. It is the name under which artist & designer Jamie Murphy produces his letterpress printed books and broadsides.
An accompanying pamphlet to that Tschichold text, this is as beautifully printed. An Older Typophile in the Nineties was printed using Linotype and Monotype Baskerville types on Mohawk Vellum paper. So it's everything you want from letterpress: a roughness to the sheet, nicely impressed letters, possibly once frowned upon but actually quite satisfying show through and hand tide string binding. It's lovely. You can get your own copy from the RIT Press.
I can't remember exactly who it was (quite possibly Johnny again) but a year (or two) ago I sparked up a short exchange about the sad demise of the pamphlet. It's a delightful format, the pamphlet. Kind of like a decent sized blog entry in print. A forerunner to the blog really, the pamphlet embodies a small work, inexpensively produced that would often have delivered a text of some importance; a new idea, a political statement or a religious concept.
My all-time typo-hero Tschichold wrote Clay in the Potter's Hand for the 1948 edition of The Penrose Annual. This reproduction of the text forms part of the Red Cat Typography Set and is available from the RIT Press. It's beautifully letterpressed on a Golding No.7 press using (presumably) Linotype set Garamond No.3 (Morris Fuller Benton's version of Claude's original) and hand set Garamont (the italic headings?). A wholely appropriate choice for a Tschichold text; he based the roman weight of his own most famous typeface design Sabon on Garamond's.
Richard Holt is a complete gent. He sent me these two lovelies. As a result, by mid-February, my penmanship will be improved ten-fold. I'll be scribing wistful and poetic correspondence like nobody's business.
Printing Processes is superbly illustrated and, as you'd expect from Ladybird circa 1970, explains with absolute clarity how it was done way back then…when letterpress and the likes of the Linotype/Monotype machines were still fresh in the memory.