Monday, 29 August 2011
Friday, 19 August 2011
I went up to the Edinburgh Book Festival this afternoon to a talk by Simon Garfield. He recently published a book on type design called “Just my Type (Profile Books, London 2010, ISBN 978-184 668 301 5). The talk was an anecdotal discussion of some type faces and why they were designed.
First up was Comic Sans which elicited groans from many in the audience. He did a partially successful rehabilitation on what is now considered a joke amongst type faces. In fact it was designed to provide a more cuddly image for some basic easy-to-use software produced by Microsoft. It was never used to put words into Microsoft Bob’s mouth but was used in another piece of simplified software and thus unleashed on the world. A perfectly good type-face for comics and jokes it has no place on more serious applications. As such it made a good introduction to subject of type design and why there are over 100,000 typefaces available.
The life and work of Eric Gill came up. He was a sculptor with a very peculiar life-style and the designer of Gill Sans. Simon touched on the suggestion that Gill Sans was less popular now because of Gill’s proclivities. Another odd type designer was Cobden-Sanderson who designed Dove – a type face that disappeared. Cobden-Sanderson fell out with his partner Emery Walker who was supposed to inherit the type-face when the designer died. To prevent this happening Cobden-Sanderson took the complete letter fund and threw it from
A thoroughly enjoyable hour although largely concerned with dispay type-faces rather than body type. Maybe this was because if you notice the body type-face in a document something has gone wrong. I’m looking forward to reading the book
Monday, 15 August 2011
Saturday, 13 August 2011
Thanks to Rachel and Ailsa for their hard work putting it in and to Tom for the much appreciated bacon rolls!
There was more success in the Fancy Dress Parade when our Printer's De'ils won first prize... WELL DONE GIRLS!
Working with Edwin Pickstone of Glasgow School of Art, these will be reproduced as posters to supplement/promote their Festival Exhibition, The Indirect Exchange of Uncertain Value.
Fine days have seen trays of wooden type treated and set out in the yard to dry. Thank you Rachel and Jim who have been treating the problem- staff and volunteers at Smail’s have to be flexible you know! Also the whole paper store is being thoroughly gone through and treated but our woodworm motel is off on holiday to the National Museums of Scotland for a serious blast in their freezer to cure this more serious outbreak.
We continue on the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum Donor Book...
The Burns Museum in Alloway, Ayrshire has had an extensive makeover since it was taken over by the National Trust for Scotland and the wonderful new visitor centre is now open to the public. This was only possible because of the donations from many individuals and organisations.
Earlier this year over 50 very heavy packages arrived at the Printing Works. These contained the names for the memorial book of all these wonderful donors. The names were set on a Monotype hot-metal type setter by Harry McIntosh at Speedspools.
The correct leading (inter-line space) is added and then the pages are imposed in the Case-room at Smail’s. The book has to be set, proofed, imposed and printed a section at a time due to limited chases and leading making it a very slow process. The pages are being printed on our Wharfedale press, which decided it wasn’t very happy early in July. Thanks to Tony and Eric they have persuaded it to print again (it is amazing what they can do with spit, string and lots of loving attention!)
The first section is complete and the title pages look beautiful with the burnished gold borders printed on high quality paper. Make-ready for printing is more complicated than you might expect as the position of the printed material had to move progressively so that when the pages are folded together for binding the margins line up properly. Once completed the book will be sent to Carronvale Bindery, where it will be traditionally bound, and then it will be finally be placed in the Museum. Unfortunately it has taken much longer than we originally anticipated... the overwhelming support for the project saw more than twice the number of names we expected. Whilst this is brilliant, the collation etc. took longer and once the timing slipped into our visitor season, the time to print has become severely limited. We will get there and I hope, once complete, people will forgive us the wait.