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Monthly ArchiveSeptember 2010



Studio projects Saturday September 25 2010 10:25 am

Delaware Art Museum’s Leonard Baskin catalog

To celebrate the Appel family donation of 50 pieces of work by artist Leonard Baskin to their collection, the Delaware Art Museum sought out and offered Lead Graffiti the opportunity to produce the exhibition catalog.

The hardback books, hand bound at Lead Graffiti, were printed via letterpress in an edition 200 copies. The book covers utilize a fragment of marbled paper randomly chosen from nine possibilities. The books are available at the museum store.

Leonard Baskin catalog at the delaware art museum

Click here for a link to this project in our portfolio and a more thorough explanation.

We are very interested in producing limited edition, fine press books, so this was right in line with our creative goals.

Studio projects Friday September 24 2010 09:13 pm

Book History Colloquium poster / Columbia University

We had the opportunity to do the first of two posters for Columbia University working with Gerald Cloud, Curator for Literature at the Rare Books and Manuscripts Library and a longtime friend of Lead Graffiti.

This poster is for their Fall 2010 Book History Colloquium. We used our handrolling technique, rolling directly on the paper behind the dates and then overprinting and handrolling on the names of the speakers with silver, red orange and green.

Columbia University Rare Books & Manuscripts Library

We will do the spring version later this year once the speakers have been confirmed. We’ll post it when it is finished so you can compare the two which we expect will make a nice set.

We also printed a two-color postcard without the handrolling technique for each talk.

Studio projects & workshops Monday September 20 2010 12:46 pm

AIGA / Baltimore creative letterpress workshop

We enjoyed the company of six members of AIGA / Baltimore who spent a nice day at Lead Graffiti on a joint book project hand setting wood and metal type. The whole story.

It is a wonderful group project where a 16″ x 20″ broadside (printed one side only) is produced collectively using wood and metal type. The piece is printed via letterpress in two colors, and through some careful folding and tearing, is bound into an accordion-folded book. Without gluing or sewing, the book is made with bookboard covered in Lead Graffiti pastepaper.

It makes quite a nice group project and the results of this particular workshop displayed especially creative uses of typography. But then you might expect that from a group of professional designers.

Click here to see images of each page of this project and more information on how the workshop operates.

Studio projects Friday September 10 2010 07:23 am

Spacing adjustments when handsetting metal type

A few years ago at the Rare Book School at the University of Virginia I took a week-long course entitled Type, Lettering and Calligraphy, 1450-1830 taught by Stan Nelson. I wanted to know more about the early days of metal type. Although I haven’t seen the course being offered lately I highly recommend it for anyone who is really serious about metal type and letterpress.

We spent one of our afternoons handsetting metal type. We were setting the type unjustified and one of the rules Stan set with us was to use no more than 2 thins (one copper and/or one brass) in a line. If you needed that you had to adjust using various combinations of spacing.

After taking the course I put together this chart to show the various combinations of spacing to make mathematical sense out of the options.

If you take an EM (square the height of the type material) and set that at 60 units you would get the following for the standard spacing widths.

em = 60
en = 30
3/em = 20
4/em = 15
5/em = 12

The chart above shows what must be about all of the spacing combinations you can get between an em and a 5/em space. If you are a little short of filling the line you can replace a piece of spacing material with a combination to add or subtract a bit of space. After you do it a few times you start getting pretty good at estimating out how much adjustment you need.

Remember, no more than two thins.

If you are doing justified type (straight left and right margins) you typically need to add small amounts of spacing (usually thins) at each wordspacing to expand the line to fit exactly.

It is worth pointing out that when we are doing handset text we try to always begin and end each line with an em quad. Then if the line ends with either punctuation or a hyphen we hang that to the right in order to keep the visual margin solid all the way down. If you look at a Gutenberg Bible you’ll notice that the type is set that way. A bit more trouble, but it finishes the lines off quite nicely. Here is a Gutenberg example.

If you would like to download the chart click here. We designed it to print on a 13″ x 19″ chart that we have hanging in our studio.