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Archive for August, 2008

Orphan fonts


Okay, ’fess up: who left the bag of type on the doorstep? A couple of weeks ago, I went out to pick up the morning paper and found a paper bag filled with metal type sitting on the front porch. No explanation; no note, no clue, no context. Was it you?

There’s about twenty-five pounds of individual type sorts in that bag, neatly arranged in smaller paper bags labeled “W” or “XY” or “H.” Each of those little bags contains sorts that have been, well, sorted by letter – but in any number of different typefaces. Most of them seem to be text sizes, though not all of them are what I would think of as text typefaces. A few are italic, with slanted edges to facilitate setting seriously slanted type. There’s a bag marked “SPACERS,” and another with no label, which seems to be just a fistful of pied type; that latter includes a few broken rubber bands, which suggests that once they may have been carefully organized. One clear plastic bag, at the top of the heap, seems to be all ornaments – again, in various styles, from various fonts.

Among the bags of type I found a small, dessicated slice of cheese – havarti, perhaps, or something that had once been havarti. A defector from someone’s lunch?

Anybody missing a whole mess o’ type?



Summer’s been busy, though not always with things that are easily written up. But last Saturday I stopped by the letterpress printing fair at Seattle’s School of Visual Concepts, where a bunch of enthusiastic printers were creating great big posters – really big posters – by inking up linoleum blocks and then driving a steamroller over them. Well, it wasn’t technically a steamroller, since it didn’t run on steam; but it was certainly an impressive piece of roadbuilding equipment. This operation was publicized by the local AIGA, who entered a winning team in the “letterpress smackdown”; the event took its inspiration from Roadworks, the “Steamroller Printing Street Fair” that the San Francisco Center for the Book has been hosting every summer for several years. (The fifth annual Roadworks is coming up in September – unfortunately while I’ll be in Russia.)

For a short “slideshow” (with a bit of video) of the whole process put together by the AIGA folks, look here.

Showing off a freshly printed poster