Letterpress From Scratch

By Benjamin Brundell

The letterpress printing process is one of the oldest ways of getting the printed word on to a page. It relies on a physical representation of each letter being inked and then pressed against the paper—and this is why it’s both interesting and expensive. Thinking a little further about it for each page the printer needs a piece of metal to represent every single character; a way of applying ink to each character and a machine to force the metal and paper together. It follows that changing from bold to italic, for example, will need a totally new set of metal characters rather than a few clicks of a mouse. Other printing processes like lithography or digital printing are more flexible, quick and less expensive. But while commercial letterpress is in decline there are many who are starting from scratch with this wonderful process.

letterpress

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Sunday type: napkin type

The Bestest Type

Welcome to another Sunday Type. Thanks to all those who sent in samples of their handwriting. I’ll gather them together and post them some time. If you haven’t sent in your handwriting sample, then you can still do so.

I’m sure most of you have at some time or another, with time to kill, scrawled or doodled something on a napkin. I certainly wouldn’t post mine here; in fact they’re not even worthy of a photograph. However, these are something you might like to aspire to:

napkin type

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Sunday Type: incubator type

Coffee Hot, Tea Cold

Who says House don’t make metal type. This looks like metal to me; though larger than your average type, and weighing in at 8kg. I love it. Unfortunately it’s sold out! [Have since heard from the Houses’s mouth that the Cast Iron Ampersands, pictured, are now available]. There are, however, a number of  cast aluminium ones left. But I want need this one:

house metal ampersand

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Arabic calligraphy as a typographic exercise

By Julia Kaestle

Arabic Calligraphy’ is a hybrid English term. ‘Calligraphy’, taken from the Greek kallos (beauty) and graphe (writing), is literally understood in the western perception as ‘beautiful (hand) writing’ of the Arabic language. Yet the Arabic term for what we call calligraphy invites closer inspection. Within the Arabic language the transliterated word ‘Khatt’ (خط) is derived from ‘line’, ‘design’, and ‘construction’. The philological connotations get lost in the translated term ‘calligraphy’. From a type design perspective I think this rather an astonishing difference.

Arabic Calligraphy

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Sunday Type: stern type

Metal Digital

First, I’d like to thank Matthew Buchanan for helping me with coding for my comments. Thanks too to everyone who commented on the Type Camp feature. I think there are places left. If you’re interested, or have questions, then mail Shelley—info[at]typecamp.org.

A lovely photo from a talented photographer:

lucky may flickr

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Type Camp 2008

The ultimate vacation

Are you interested in typography? Do you feel that you don’t quite know what you’re doing when it comes to letterforms and text? Do you want to know more? Or perhaps you just want to visit the ‘Typographic Archipelago’ (and get your company to pay)? TypeCamp is one of the few places in the world where you get to relax and talk shop while surrounded by some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.

type camp

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Sunday Type: garbage type

roman, italic, rotalic

August marks iLT’s first birthday, and I’d like to ask you all for suggestions on how we might celebrate. I have begun organising some prizes, so if you can think of a competition or whatever, then let me know in the comments below. Don’t be shy.

I’ve recently begun heading this post with a lovely photo of found type. Let’s stick with that. Here’s one from Simon Pascal Klein:

simon pascal klein

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Anivers — birth of a typeface

by Jos Buivenga

When I was asked by Smashing Magazine (SM) in 2007 if I could release a free font to celebrate their first anniversary I first thought that the release of Museo could very well be that font. However, it was nowhere near ready and, not wishing to rush things, I started to play around with some sharp elements I liked to see if something could grow out of it.

Anivers, the beginning

Still far too constructed of course, but the sharp elements did offer nice connections which I decided to keep and transpose to other characters as a key feature of Anivers.

Anivers, the beginning

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Sunday Type: vintage type

Last week we led with a beautiful found type photo from David John Earls. This week we lead with another stunning photo from Adam Polselli. It just happens to be one of my favourite cars too. Anyone have a spare one languishing in their garage?

adam polselli vintage car logos

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A Brief History of Type—Part 5

Slab Serif / Egyptian

Welcome to the early 1800s and the birth of the Slab Serif, otherwise known as Egyptian, Square Serif, Mechanical or Mécanes. What’s with the name Egyptian? Upon Napoleon’s return from a three year Egyptian expedition and publication in 1809 of Description de l’Égypt, Egypt was all the rage, and it appears that type founders simply used a term that was on everyone’s lips, a term that was in vogue. The nomenclature has absolutely nothing to do with Egyptian Hieroglyph Slab Serifs—because there’s no such thing.

egyptian or slab-serif

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