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Wood Typefaces Go Digital

Written by in #ClassicNeenah

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Just a few dozen miles from the Neenah Paper mill in Neenah, Wisconsin, 1.5 million pieces of wood type are housed at Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum, dedicated to preserving and producing type and the tools used to make it.

Hamilton depends largely on support from former employees of the Hamilton Manufacturing Company, the largest maker of wood type in the country during letterpress’s glory days. To honor some of their longtime friends, Hamilton partnered with some world-renowned designers to create new fonts, available in both digital and wood cut form. Known as the Wood Type Legacy Project, these fonts have been named for some of the former type cutters, trimmers, and sales staff who help carry on Hamilton’s mission today.

Enter German designer and letterpress printer Erik Spiekermann and Artz. Named for Dave Artz, a master type trimmer for Hamilton Manufacturing from 1976 to 1993, Artz was designed with production in mind. Avoiding sharp corners, which require hand finishing when cutting, Spiekermann emphasized rounded edges. When we reached out to Spiekermann to include Artz in Fresh Takes on Classic Type, he explained some of the thought process that went in to designing a type meant to be used both on press and on screen.

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“I designed ARTZ to be relatively easy to cut with a pantograph, and I provided data—vector art—for making the patterns. I was very interested to find out how we could make large types today, from wood or other materials. I also wanted a typeface that could withstand printing on simple presses.”  –Erik Spiekermann

In addition to Artz, displayed in Fresh Takes as typeset by Ferdinand Ulrich at p98a in Berlin, other digitized Hamilton fonts include HWT Mardell by Louise Fili and HWY Van Lanen by Matthew Carter, available to download here.

For more amazing letterpress design and to help support Hamilton as they keep the craft alive, visit The Beauty of Letterpress where 100% of shop proceeds benefit the museum.

 

Paper Specs

Left Page: CLASSIC CREST®, AVON BRILLIANT WHITE, 100C
Right Page: CLASSIC CREST®, AVALANCHE WHITE, 80C

 

 

 

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  1. 09
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    16
    2:18pm

    Love this idea! Great work, Sarah! Keep it up.