Friday, October 8, 2010


     Yesterday when we all traversed over to the theater to see Typeface I was expecting to see a movie that was not only about the process of the wood type but typographical principles as well.  It was however heavily weighted on the wood type and the museum/shop that still makes use of it.  It chronicled the history from past to present of this printshop up in Wisconsin.  It showed the workers who for the most part are retired, dead, or on deaths door.  The biggest most time consuming part of the printing process is not just setting all of the type in place but putting all of it away in their respective cases afterwards.  This was an even more daunting task for those pieces that were just laying around in the museum or in the collection of the small group of designers who set up a small printing studio a few hours from there.  Depending on the amount of use or neglect the typeface could succumb to damage which doesn't necessarily ruin it.  Any damage adds character to the typeface, which actually makes it its own unique set.  Methods using polymer instead of wood can never quite have the same feel of the wood type, and is considered by many to be of a cheaper quality.

     The movie overall was really depressing.  It focussed to much on the museum than over typography or wood type in general.  It seems as though from the tone of the film that the museum will eventually close, and the art of wood type will probably follow its lead.  The only way I could see it surviving is through those who would print for the novelty of it.  The practice itself is highly impractical in today's economy and fast paced environment.  Even the man who was previously in charge of the museum had to sit down and really think about his future. I suppose the movie was more of a warning about the future of wood type.

1 comment:

  1. Wood type's not dead! It's up to you, the younger generation, to save it. No pressure.

    Too many people love wood type and letterpress printing for them to ever die. A few years ago you could buy a full size letterpress for fairly cheap and now they are expensive again. We seem to be in a revival period, so there is hope.