Posts categorised: letterpress poster


    I have used the ‘electricity danger’ warning sign as a starting point for both POWER CUT and MEGAVOLT which have been designed for the ‘VII Festival del Libro de artista y la pequeña edición 2014‘, a book fair in Barcelona whose topic this year is the absence of electricity.

    The triangle is composed of 1-em border rule out of which emerges the arrow shape, created using a selection of 12-, 18- and 24-point Monotype borders.

    The title has been set in the angular Stern typeface which was designed, cut and cast by Jim Rimmer (see Matrix 28 pp. 77-84) and the identification key has been hand-set in Grot 215. Each border unit has been identified by its serial number.

    MEGAVOLT and POWER CUT are both printed on Fedrigoni Sirio Limone, come in an edition of 36 and measure 350mm x 500mm.
    15 of each of these prints available in the shop:

    Monotype Borders. (Module One, Two, Three & Four).

    It is not easy to write an entertaining blog post about Monotype borders and their creative possibilities under various tabular layouts & colour combinations. So I’ll keep this brief…

    These posters, 4 in total, have been created using 12-, 18- 24- & 36-point Monotype borders which are arranged to form 24 rectangles of 12 x 18 ems (with a 12-point gap throughout). Twenty separate Monotype units have been used and the prints vary from one another due to different colour combinations and slight variations in composition.

    The borders are printed in three colours with the bottom rectangle rotating to the top on completion of each colour run meaning that each remaining rectangle moves down a section. I’ve used Figgins Sans Condensed (60-point) & Grotesque 9 (24-point) for the headings and Grotesque 215 & 216 for the identification chart.

    In Modules One & Two a 12-point rule has replaced the white space which alters the pattern more than expected. When using rule to block a white space accurately I used the Rouse saw and bowler plain – if the cutting is a fraction out the whole effect is altered.

    This is the early stages of investigation in to borders, the result of which will be a book. I’d welcome any feedback on the subject.

    Printed on to 130gsm Zerkall Rosa in a small edition of 6 prints per module. The prints are available from:

    Poster for the Barcelona Book Art Fair

    Last month I was able to spend some time with laser-cutting specialist Tommy Mayo. Before meeting up with Tommy I was undecided about the use of laser cut letters as a substitute for wood type or letters cut using a blade/scissors from other medium that can be printed (lino, cardboard . . .). One of the main attractions of letterpress  is knowing that the matrix used to produce each hot metal character at one point traces back to a punch engraved by the human hand. The same can be said of wood-type – a product of the pantograph. The thought of standing by watching a red beam slice perfectly through a sheet of hardboard seemed somehow unnatural and certainly less entertaining than standing next to a Monotype caster. And thinking about the reasons for this in part goes back to understanding the processes involved – when watching the pantograph and (to some extent) the Monotype caster in action I can understand the operations taking place to produce the type. And all adjustments and tweaks made are under the control of the human hand and eye. However shutting the lid to the laser cutter is where my brain is disconnected from the process – unable to think about how a red hot beam of light is able to work with such accuracy, speed & efficiency – it is to me somehow unnatural and certainly in-humane.

    On the 18th April 2013 the annual festival of the artist’s book starts  in Barcelona. The exhibition lasts for 5 days under the direction of Elisa Pellacani and celebrates ‘unique copies and object books in editions of 10’. Following the completion of the show a book containing work from some of the exhibitors will be published. This years theme is ‘One & Ten; the Book, unique and multiple’ and it was for this event that we were asked to produce a poster.
    The lack of large wood-type at the press & the flexibility of laser cut letter forms meant that for this project cutting our own letters was the only way to produce a large scale poster. The one drawback is that preparing the wood and computer software can be time consuming – Tom needs to draw around each stroke of the letter with a mouse – but it wasn’t long before the forms were on the press and inked up. The letter forms are based loosely on Gill Sans Ultra Bold and a Caslon Swash N, designed by T. M. Cleland for ATF in the 1930’s. Both have been blown up to about 1300-point and printed alongside some 10- & 24-point Caslon & Gill.
    The finished poster (in an edition of 20 on Fedrigoni Nettuno) will be on display at the festival – I only wish I was going myself.