Join the Club

Back in the early days of my design life, before my typographic attention span was largely limited to 100 year old typefaces, I acquired a lot of digital type. A lot. And no type foundry crossed my screen as much as P22, partly because of my Western New York upbringing and mostly because of the high quality and delightfully quirky nature of the faces themselves. And while I've had the pleasure to work with the foundry from time to time, the recent creation of P22 Member Club cards was finally the perfect project to combine the digital and metal forms. p221My first P22 font was Constructivist, of which these great letters are a part:

p22constructAbsolutely perfect shapes into which our little metal ornaments can be placed. The foundry commissioned the logo sorts from Jim Rimmer, meaning there's a little new metal type here mixed with our old.

Tp223The subtle base layers of the card were pressure printed with the back side of a piece of wood type; by adding a cut piece of chipboard (or two) to the makeready on the press, the print area varies accordingly. I adjusted the chipboard layers so that just the round areas for the logo would remain mostly white.

pressureprintThe magenta and yellow were mixed with transparent ink so that they'd remain light and would create overlapping colors and even more texture.

p226The main text was printed in process blue, which took on a greenish tint over the pressure printed areas. The space in the bottom of the P was left open so that they could be numbered, which I also did so that the ink matches.


Tp221A small but mighty project, these cards are Starshaped's little love note to P22. If you're already a member of the club you'll get one. If you're not... what's wrong with you?!


Wood, Metal, Type, Irony

Starshaped rarely prints work that is not designed in the studio, given our mission of printing only with the metal and wood type we have. But every once in a while, a project comes along that offers a chance to combine our materials and knowledge with the talents of others in a collaborative way. You may be familiar with the Hamilton Wood Type Foundry's new initiative to digitize some of the gems of the Hamilton Wood Type Museum (we've played around with these before). The effort is spearheaded by P22, a type foundry I have long admired, so when they asked about printing some note cards that feature the new digital versions of some of the upcoming releases, saying Yes was the obvious answer. Four cards were planned to coincide with the theme of the AIGA National Conference in Minneapolis October 10th-12th, and would be given away at the Adobe booth, as three of the fonts featured are volunteer efforts by Adobe designers. The first, Gothic Round, will be in circulation before the conference begins, and the others have release dates over the next few months.

I love a little irony in our printing and this project is a great example. We were to print magnesium plates made from digital typefaces designed from the original wood type.

Thwtf3Just for fun, I pulled out some of our 8 line Gothic Round type to shoot with the plate for the first card:

Thwtf4Each card would also feature a subtle background texture printed from the wood type in our collection. Here's the lucky piece, which has a lovely grain:

ThwtfLong ago I discovered through trial and fail that it's better to print transparent-base inks over the darker, more prominent ink color. So for each of the four cards, the main color was printed first and the lighter background wood texture printed afterwards. This keeps the darker color from pooling on top of the lighter pass, and anything with a mostly transparent base will never compete with a dark, saturated ink. In order to make sure everything would line up, I created a template on a transparency that I could place over top of the first color:

transparencyThe color palette was solid, and each card coordinated with rich envelopes from French Paper. Here's the cheat sheet for matching inks.

inkswatchesThese are the final cards together, along with a close up of the pale wood type texture.



hwtf4The sets are to be given away at the AIGA conference, and I'm told Hamilton will also have some. These faces were exceptionally designed the first time around for their wood type form, and I can attest to the quality of the new digital versions. If you can't work with the real thing, grab yourself these digital versions and support Hamilton. We've got some big doings up there in another month... more on that later.