Before the days of computers and digital type, letterforms were drawn by hand, cut into wood, and printed onto paper on grand machines: a process known as letterpress printing.
Wood type was for larger sizes than its metal counterpart, and therefore leant itself to display faces in an arms-race-style battle of typographic one-upmanship. Posters using wood type needed to grab the attention of passersby, so type designers concocted ever more fanciful typefaces to outdo their competitors.
These heady days produced typefaces the likes of which cannot be matched by modern day digital standards: fanciful tuscans, outlines and inlines, multi-color chromatics faces, and some that seem unclassifiable. But these wild old faces exist still in basements, garages, and attics – occasionally gasping for air on Ebay, before being swallowed up again, away from the public eye.
But we aim to change that.
We two hearty designers are letterpress printers, yes – but also men of computers and the Internets! We wish to scour the globe for 10 of the most prized fonts of wood type we can acquire. And then we will print these faces on our trusty Vandercook proof press, and carry them over into the world of vectors and Opentype font-ery.
We will purposefully seek out faces with characteristics the digital world is lacking, that are in fine condition, and that are thoroughly complete. Many wood type faces are uppercase only, but we will hope to find some that include lowercase – and always figures and punctuation whenever possible.
We will also include damaged letters (with telltale knicks, dings, and scratches) as alternate characters, so that you can have proper variation in your typesetting. And we will print each face using various levels of pressure, to get multiple textures inside the type, which we will package as multiple weights for the digital font.
To test out our idea and show off what we can do, we created the beta version of our first font from our existing collection of wood type. It’s a gorgeous bold, extended slab-serif with the telltale character of a hand-carved typeface. We’re calling it Fatboy, and the weight is Husky.
To read the originial article, go to – http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/bearded/new-digital-fonts-from-rare-letterpress-wood-type/
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