June 9, 2010

(Type)-A Craftmanship

I just heard about the passing of Mr. Jim Rimmer. He was a type designer and printer of the tallest order. Letterpress printing has surely had a Renaissance in the past 15 years, mostly due to the later technologies (MAC computers, Adobe type) and has become way more accessible due to polymer platemaking (taking a digital file and creating a polymer plate for it—thus having access to however many fonts your computer can store, and images from so many sources).

What most people don't realize is not so far 'back in the day' typesetting was truly a craft and it involved setting lead type letter-by-letter, blank-space-by-blank-space. This is how I (gratefully) started to print. I learned the craft of typesetting.

Let's take it a step further now. I've (luckily due to my proximity to M & H Type Foundry) always had access to lead type and have always enjoyed the meditative process of hand-setting my designs. But who creates the fonts for lead type? If I thought hand-setting type was a painstaking process, creating the punches to make the type is a thousand times that.

For the curious and the true type-lovers, here is a trailer for a movie which displays just that.
Enjoy and Thank you, Mr. Rimmer.

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