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Alphabetical, my dear Watson


Newly arrived from the RIT Cary Graphic Arts Press: Alphabet Stories: A Chronicle of Technical Developments by Hermann Zapf. This tasty edition is the latest in a series of beautifully designed books about the typographic and calligraphic work of Hermann Zapf. It was published simultaneously in German by Linotype, as part of its recently instituted Mergenthaler Edition line.

The volume itself is designed by Hermann Zapf, and its text uses two brand new typefaces designed by Zapf, along with Linotype typographic director Akira Kobayashi: an update to the much-abused Palatino, called Palatino Nova; and a sans-serif companion, Palatino Sans.

I haven’t had a chance yet to do much more than browse through the book, reading just the first few pages, but it’s clearly one of those well-made volumes that is going to be a pleasure to read and peruse. It’s a limited edition, so if you’re interested, you might want to get in touch with the Cary Graphic Arts Press at RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology) right away. I don’t yet see it on their website; but then, this was billed as an advance copy.

Roycroft Theater


What exactly is the connection between this faded lettering on a neighborhood theater in Seattle and Elbert Hubbard’s peculiar expression of the Arts & Crafts movement, the Roycroft community in upstate New York? Certainly this blocky lettering bears no resemblance to the overly precious decorative types used in Roycroft books.