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Re: [PPLetterpress] Summer reading....

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  • John Risseeuw
    A suggestion on the lighter, fiction end is Salamander by Thomas Wharton, Washington Square Press, 2002. He writes about a printer like he actually knows what
    Message 1 of 14 , Jul 1, 2004
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      A suggestion on the lighter, fiction end is Salamander by Thomas Wharton,
      Washington Square Press, 2002. He writes about a printer like he actually
      knows what goes on, at least to an extent, in a printshop. The Amazon
      summary follows:

      "Nicholas Flood, an unassuming eighteenth-century London printer,
      specializes in novelty books - books that nestle into one another, books
      comprised of one spare sentence, books that emit the sounds of crashing
      waves. When his work captures the attention of an eccentric Slovakian
      count, Flood is summoned to a faraway castle - a moving labyrinth that
      embodies the count's obsession with puzzles - where he is commissioned to
      create the infinite book, the ultimate never-ending story. Probing the
      nature of books, the human thirst for knowledge, and the pursuit of
      immortality, Salamander careens through myth and metaphor as Flood travels
      the globe in search of materials for the elusive book without end."

      Also, John Dunning has a new mystery out in his series about a rare book
      store owner/former cop. This one is called The Bookman's Promise, but the
      second one, Bookman's Wake, has fictional printing brothers loosely based
      on the Grabhorns and has a fair amount of printshop info included. They're
      fun reads.

      John L. Risseeuw, Professor
      Director, Pyracantha Press
      School of Art
      Box 871505
      Arizona State University
      Tempe, Arizona 85287-1505
      480-965-3713 office; 480-965-8338 fax
    • Gerald Lange
      Joe Smeijers also has a new book out which might be of interest to you, _Type Now: A Manifesto_. This. for the most part, fills in here and there about
      Message 2 of 14 , Jul 2, 2004
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        Joe

        Smeijers also has a new book out which might be of interest to you, _Type Now: A Manifesto_. This. for the most part, fills in here and there about Smeijers and his work. The title is a very strange one though.

        Kinross has published some very brilliant books such as _Counter Punch_ and _Modern Typography_ (actually the second edition of his _Modern Typography_ is also quite recently released) but when he does the buddy buddy documentation thing with his pals, he fails miserably. This is one of those. Though there are some pearls in _Type Now_, I thought it much too disconnected, unfocused, and all over the place, in a manner that has become a typical and unfortunate Kinross editorial tendency.

        Gerald


        --- In PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com, <jranneba@u...> wrote:
        > Hello,
        >
        > I am reading "Counter Punch: Making Type in the Sixteenth
        > Century, Designing Typefaces Now" by Fred Smeijers. So far,
        > pretty interesting!
        >
        > Joe
        >
        > ---- Original message ----
        > >Date: Thu, 01 Jul 2004 11:49:26 -0400
        > >From: "Paul W. Romaine" <romaine@p...>
        > >Subject: [PPLetterpress] Summer reading....
        > >To: PPLetterpress <PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com>
        > >
        > > Hello folks,
        > >
        > > Now that the July Fourth holiday is almost upon us
        > > in the US, I have a
        > > rather interesting request from someone writing an
        > > article on summer
        > > reading of recent books related to the history of
        > > printing, type, books,
        > > and all the arts of the book. Her "summer reading
        > > list" has some "heavies"
        > > as well as some light (weight) reading.
        > >
        > > What are you reading, planning to read or have
        > > already read this summer?
        > > And why? (And no jokes about bullies kicking sand in
        > > your face for bringing
        > > Richard-Gabriel Rummonds's _Printing on the Iron
        > > Handpress_ [1988] or the
        > > forthcoming _Nineteenth-Century Printing Practices
        > > And The Iron Handpress_ !)
        > >
        > > Me? I'm reading the current issue of _Parenthesis_
        > > journal of the Fine
        > > Press Book Association, and some biographies of
        > > Benjamin Franklin (for the
        > > tercentenary). I also have a stack of old reading to
        > > get to--mostly old
        > > manuals. If possible, I'll pass along comments from
        > > our author.
        > >
        > > All best,
        > >
        > > Paul
        > >
        > > Paul W. Romaine
        > > romaine@p...
        > > http://home.pipeline.com/~romaine
        > >
        > > Yahoo! Groups Sponsor
        > > ADVERTISEMENT
        > > click here
        > >
        > > ----------------------------------------------------
        > >
        > > Yahoo! Groups Links
        > > * To visit your group on the web, go to:
        > > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PPLetterpress/
        > >
        > > * To unsubscribe from this group, send an email
        > > to:
        > > PPLetterpress-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
        > >
        > > * Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the
        > > Yahoo! Terms of Service.
        > Joe Rannebarger
        > CITES Customer Service
        > Suite 1608
        > 302 E John St
        > Champaign, IL 61820
        > jranneba@u...
        > 217-333-1161
      • jranneba@uiuc.edu
        Thank you, Gerald. I will certainly take a look at these. Joe ... Joe Rannebarger CITES Customer Service Suite 1608 302 E John St Champaign, IL 61820
        Message 3 of 14 , Jul 2, 2004
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          Thank you, Gerald. I will certainly take a look at these.
          Joe

          ---- Original message ----
          >Date: Fri, 02 Jul 2004 07:27:39 -0000
          >From: "Gerald Lange" <bieler@...>
          >Subject: [PPLetterpress] Re: Summer reading....
          >To: PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com
          >
          > Joe
          >
          > Smeijers also has a new book out which might be of
          > interest to you, _Type Now: A Manifesto_. This. for
          > the most part, fills in here and there about
          > Smeijers and his work. The title is a very strange
          > one though.
          >
          > Kinross has published some very brilliant books such
          > as _Counter Punch_ and _Modern Typography_ (actually
          > the second edition of his _Modern Typography_ is
          > also quite recently released) but when he does the
          > buddy buddy documentation thing with his pals, he
          > fails miserably. This is one of those. Though there
          > are some pearls in _Type Now_, I thought it much too
          > disconnected, unfocused, and all over the place, in
          > a manner that has become a typical and unfortunate
          > Kinross editorial tendency.
          >
          > Gerald
          >
          > --- In PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com,
          > <jranneba@u...> wrote:
          > > Hello,
          > >
          > > I am reading "Counter Punch: Making Type in the
          > Sixteenth
          > > Century, Designing Typefaces Now" by Fred
          > Smeijers. So far,
          > > pretty interesting!
          > >
          > > Joe
          > >
          > > ---- Original message ----
          > > >Date: Thu, 01 Jul 2004 11:49:26 -0400
          > > >From: "Paul W. Romaine" <romaine@p...>
          > > >Subject: [PPLetterpress] Summer reading....
          > > >To: PPLetterpress <PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com>
          > > >
          > > > Hello folks,
          > > >
          > > > Now that the July Fourth holiday is almost
          > upon us
          > > > in the US, I have a
          > > > rather interesting request from someone
          > writing an
          > > > article on summer
          > > > reading of recent books related to the history
          > of
          > > > printing, type, books,
          > > > and all the arts of the book. Her "summer
          > reading
          > > > list" has some "heavies"
          > > > as well as some light (weight) reading.
          > > >
          > > > What are you reading, planning to read or have
          > > > already read this summer?
          > > > And why? (And no jokes about bullies kicking
          > sand in
          > > > your face for bringing
          > > > Richard-Gabriel Rummonds's _Printing on the
          > Iron
          > > > Handpress_ [1988] or the
          > > > forthcoming _Nineteenth-Century Printing
          > Practices
          > > > And The Iron Handpress_ !)
          > > >
          > > > Me? I'm reading the current issue of
          > _Parenthesis_
          > > > journal of the Fine
          > > > Press Book Association, and some biographies
          > of
          > > > Benjamin Franklin (for the
          > > > tercentenary). I also have a stack of old
          > reading to
          > > > get to--mostly old
          > > > manuals. If possible, I'll pass along
          > comments from
          > > > our author.
          > > >
          > > > All best,
          > > >
          > > > Paul
          > > >
          > > > Paul W. Romaine
          > > > romaine@p...
          > > > http://home.pipeline.com/~romaine
          > > >
          > > > Yahoo! Groups
          > Sponsor
          > > >
          > ADVERTISEMENT
          > > > click
          > here
          > > >
          > > >
          > ----------------------------------------------------
          > > >
          > > > Yahoo! Groups Links
          > > > * To visit your group on the web, go to:
          > > >
          > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PPLetterpress/
          > > >
          > > > * To unsubscribe from this group, send an
          > email
          > > > to:
          > > > PPLetterpress-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
          > > >
          > > > * Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to
          > the
          > > > Yahoo! Terms of Service.
          > > Joe Rannebarger
          > > CITES Customer Service
          > > Suite 1608
          > > 302 E John St
          > > Champaign, IL 61820
          > > jranneba@u...
          > > 217-333-1161
          >
          > Yahoo! Groups Sponsor
          > ADVERTISEMENT
          > click here
          >
          > ----------------------------------------------------
          >
          > Yahoo! Groups Links
          > * To visit your group on the web, go to:
          > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PPLetterpress/
          >
          > * To unsubscribe from this group, send an email
          > to:
          > PPLetterpress-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
          >
          > * Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the
          > Yahoo! Terms of Service.
          Joe Rannebarger
          CITES Customer Service
          Suite 1608
          302 E John St
          Champaign, IL 61820
          jranneba@...
          217-333-1161
        • Kathy Walkup
          I happened to be in London when Smeijers spoke at St. Bride s Printing Library about Type Now (which I agree is a disappointing book). There were well over 100
          Message 4 of 14 , Jul 2, 2004
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            I happened to be in London when Smeijers spoke at St. Bride's Printing
            Library about Type Now (which I agree is a disappointing book). There were
            well over 100 people there, all clapping wildly (or the polite British
            equivalent thereof) during Smeijers' quite interesting talk. I was made
            aware again of the kind of gap that Robin Kinross is filling in with his
            books, especially his own Modern Typography. Like Gerald I strongly
            recommend watching for any of the intriguing and beautifully designed and
            produced Hyphen Press books; we need to support these kinds of publishing efforts these
            days when running an indpendent press like Kinross's is nearly impossible.

            As for summer reading, Simon Loxley's book is also on my list.

            Best,

            Kathy


            Kathleen A. Walkup
            Associate Professor
            Director, Book Arts Program
            Mills College
            5000 MacArthur Blvd.
            Oakland CA 94613

            510 430 2001/tel
            510 430 3314/fax
            kwalk@...

            On Fri, 2 Jul 2004, Gerald Lange wrote:

            > Joe
            >
            > Smeijers also has a new book out which might be of interest to you, _Type Now: A Manifesto_. This. for the most part, fills in here and there about Smeijers and his work. The title is a very strange one though.
            >
            > Kinross has published some very brilliant books such as _Counter Punch_ and _Modern Typography_ (actually the second edition of his _Modern Typography_ is also quite recently released) but when he does the buddy buddy documentation thing with his pals, he fails miserably. This is one of those. Though there are some pearls in _Type Now_, I thought it much too disconnected, unfocused, and all over the place, in a manner that has become a typical and unfortunate Kinross editorial tendency.
            >
            > Gerald
            >
            >
            > --- In PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com, <jranneba@u...> wrote:
            > > Hello,
            > >
            > > I am reading "Counter Punch: Making Type in the Sixteenth
            > > Century, Designing Typefaces Now" by Fred Smeijers. So far,
            > > pretty interesting!
            > >
            > > Joe
            > >
            > > ---- Original message ----
            > > >Date: Thu, 01 Jul 2004 11:49:26 -0400
            > > >From: "Paul W. Romaine" <romaine@p...>
            > > >Subject: [PPLetterpress] Summer reading....
            > > >To: PPLetterpress <PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com>
            > > >
            > > > Hello folks,
            > > >
            > > > Now that the July Fourth holiday is almost upon us
            > > > in the US, I have a
            > > > rather interesting request from someone writing an
            > > > article on summer
            > > > reading of recent books related to the history of
            > > > printing, type, books,
            > > > and all the arts of the book. Her "summer reading
            > > > list" has some "heavies"
            > > > as well as some light (weight) reading.
            > > >
            > > > What are you reading, planning to read or have
            > > > already read this summer?
            > > > And why? (And no jokes about bullies kicking sand in
            > > > your face for bringing
            > > > Richard-Gabriel Rummonds's _Printing on the Iron
            > > > Handpress_ [1988] or the
            > > > forthcoming _Nineteenth-Century Printing Practices
            > > > And The Iron Handpress_ !)
            > > >
            > > > Me? I'm reading the current issue of _Parenthesis_
            > > > journal of the Fine
            > > > Press Book Association, and some biographies of
            > > > Benjamin Franklin (for the
            > > > tercentenary). I also have a stack of old reading to
            > > > get to--mostly old
            > > > manuals. If possible, I'll pass along comments from
            > > > our author.
            > > >
            > > > All best,
            > > >
            > > > Paul
            > > >
            > > > Paul W. Romaine
            > > > romaine@p...
            > > > http://home.pipeline.com/~romaine
            > > >
            > > > Yahoo! Groups Sponsor
            > > > ADVERTISEMENT
            > > > click here
            > > >
            > > > ----------------------------------------------------
            > > >
            > > > Yahoo! Groups Links
            > > > * To visit your group on the web, go to:
            > > > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PPLetterpress/
            > > >
            > > > * To unsubscribe from this group, send an email
            > > > to:
            > > > PPLetterpress-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
            > > >
            > > > * Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the
            > > > Yahoo! Terms of Service.
            > > Joe Rannebarger
            > > CITES Customer Service
            > > Suite 1608
            > > 302 E John St
            > > Champaign, IL 61820
            > > jranneba@u...
            > > 217-333-1161
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > Yahoo! Groups Links
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
          • Paul W Romaine
            Rufo, You ve made some interesting remarks and I agree with many of them. However, I m not so sure about carving punches and then scanning smoke proofs,
            Message 5 of 14 , Jul 3, 2004
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              Rufo,

              You've made some interesting remarks and I agree with many of them.

              However, I'm not so sure about carving punches and then scanning smoke
              proofs, although Jim Rimmer may have done this. What's the point?
              Harry Carter's son, Matthew, actually apprenticed as a punch-cutter.
              He may be the only digital designer today who has worked hands-on in
              all major typographic format: foundry type, hot metal, photo fonts and
              digital. (I may be wrong about his working in hot metal, and I assume
              his Linotype work was on photo fonts.) Matthew is emphatic about the
              improvement of digital over actual punch-cutting. He points out, as
              Smeijers does, that a single mistake at the end of the day could
              destroy an entire 8 hours' work. Matthew fully agrees with the
              "sculptural" point that Smeijers makes.

              I think the author of the up-coming article did in fact include Harry
              Carter's _Early View_ because it was recently re-issued (Eric Gill,
              too, right?). It's a classic, and a such a relief from American and
              contemporary prose.

              I didn't mention it, but the new edition of John Carter's _ABCs of
              Book Collecting_ has just come out. It's distinctive in this (9th?)
              edition because Nicolas Barker has finally received co-author credit
              on the titlepage. (And I just told Nicolas Barker about an omission
              and a couple errors.) The prose still shines. I especially remember
              Carter's (relatively unchanged) entry on "Condition."

              > And what bully would dare kick sand your way if you're walking
              around
              > swinging a big-ass book like "Printing on the Iron Hand Press"?

              A couple people have pointed this out to me privately. But I still
              remember bringing my copy of the Modern Library edition of Plutarch to
              the Jersey shore as a teenager.... Don't ask why or how!

              All best,
              Paul
            • Gerald Lange
              Rufo A very intriguing and thought provoking post. As far as I can discern from reading Smeijers _Type Now_ it does not seem that he has cut a complete
              Message 6 of 14 , Jul 6, 2004
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                Rufo

                A very intriguing and thought provoking post.

                As far as I can discern from reading Smeijers'_Type Now_ it does not seem that he has cut a complete alphabet from punches. His idea that the way type was cut and later, designed, results in a significantly "different" letterform is hardly a new observation. But drawn faces are also a great part of metal type during the twentieth century. There were very few (relatively) twentieth century metal typefaces that would have been hand cut from punches. The schism between the punch cutter and the drawn metal face created with the pantograph is
                probably a much greater one than that of the pantograph and the digital.

                On the other hand, I have seen it argued, though rarely, that the cutting of letters was more a violation of letterform than the drawing. One would have to discern how significant the differences are between drawn or sculpturally created letterforms of antiquity to secure a position in what is obviously a fairly untraveled argument.

                The early printers were using the only technology at hand in their attempt to perfect mechanical writing. I just point this out. It was the only way to standardize the written letterform. But punchcutting drew from the numismatic world rather than the traditional world of the scribe. The Carter book is, I think, the most important thinking on the early manufacture of type. And requires a great deal of rereading. Though I have the first edition I was quite pleased that Kinross reprinted it. Note though, how Carter hardly mentions Gutenberg, and when he does, it is a query. More is not said there than was said.

                But the way we see the development of metal type today may very well be incorrect. The very recent investigations of the DK-type (historically attributed to Gutenberg) have provided a much more interesting view of possible early metal type production. One that is more probably aligned with letterform structure and of significance, I think, in the way digital letterforms are themselves often constructed.

                But I think a reasoned examination of the intentions of the early printers and the later ability to actually "draw" letterforms mechanically provides a very good rationale for the use of photopolymer. You surmise a preservation act, I see it as much more.

                I was going to also refer you to the Andy Crewdson interview with Robin Kinross (publisher of Hyphen) at Andy's new-series.org but the link seems to be broken. Anyone know what happened to Andy's site?

                Gerald


                > Yes, I really liked "Counter Punch"; it rearranged my thinking
                > regarding the way type could be designed. I never saw how the sometimes
                > contrived nature of twentieth century text fonts could have something
                > to do with the fact that most contemporary fonts are drawn designs,
                > which would be more open to arbitrary idiosyncrasies than a punch cut
                > based on a common counter. The latter method limits one's design
                > options but, God, what a wonderfully practical & satisfyingly tactile
                > way of focusing a typographic design. It's a way of going about things
                > that I can't imagine a design school student or teacher wanting to try
                > - most schools like designing to be free of limitations.
                >
                > I'm curious if Smeijers has punch-cut a font and finished it digitally
                > on a fontlab or fontagrapher program. If he's right in thinking that
                > the early design of fonts is more of a sculptural rather than graphic
                > process, and that with practice and learning of right techniques one
                > could learn to make tactilly with punch and counter punch a font
                > family as quickly as one could design it visually on paper or via a
                > font program, it's conceivable that one could then scan smoke proofs of
                > all the punch-cut letters into a computer and create a digital font for
                > mass use that is much more solid a type form than a computer-only
                > design. Like polymer plate letterpress, it seems like great way of
                > using present technology to preserve - or in this case revive - an art
                > form & keep it relevant with the current techniques of design. And by
                > thus remaining relevant, older typographic design has a better chance
                > of influencing future typographic thought.
                >
                > Oh, and to Paul: I'm reading Harry Carter's "A view of early typography
                > (up to about 1600)" originally put out by Oxford UP in 1969. The
                > version I have is a 2002 reprint by Hyphen Press (yeah, them again).
                > It's a compact trade paperback clocking in at about 150 pages (126 of
                > it text) based on a series of lectures Carter gave at Oxford in 1968.
                > His prose is great - no stodgy dry lecture here. Carter was a guy
                > whose love of typography is infectious; you get drawn in as he traces
                > the origins of the early printing industry and the spread of roman and
                > blackletter across Northern Europe. So far a ripping yarn.
                >
                > And what bully would dare kick sand your way if you're walking around
                > swinging a big-ass book like "Printing on the Iron Hand Press"? A book
                > like that could do some real damage.
                >
                > Rufo
                >
              • David Goodrich
                Gerald wrote: On the other hand, I have seen it argued, though rarely, that the cutting of letters was more a violation of letterform than the drawing. One
                Message 7 of 14 , Jul 6, 2004
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                  Gerald wrote:
                  On the other hand, I have seen it argued, though rarely, that the cutting of
                  letters was more a violation of letterform than the drawing. One would have
                  to discern how significant the differences are between drawn or sculpturally
                  created letterforms of antiquity to secure a position in what is obviously a
                  fairly untraveled argument.

                  There is a wild difference between drawn and sculptured letterforms in
                  antiquity. Drawn forms, such as the political campaign slogans painted on
                  walls of Pompeii, are in a style now called "rustic", painted by a brush
                  held in a manner that produces heavy serifs, or terminations, and thin
                  lines. They are also very narrow letters. There is a museum of inscriptions
                  in the Baths of Diocletian where sculptured letterforms can be studied. The
                  letters are not only different shapes but different proportions. I found
                  one inscription that was basically Garamond. (E.g. T with serifs pointed in
                  different ways.) Our Roman type derives, indirectly, from the sculptural
                  forms. Of course the stonecutters had to draw the outlines of letters
                  before starting to chisel, but I am unaware of any use of the drawn letters
                  by themselves. But there may well have been painted imitations of chiseled
                  letters on signs and the like that have not survived. Mosaic letterforms
                  are different yet. Some have triangular serifs and dipped crossbars in the
                  A and H and thus are probably the model for nineteenth century Latin types.
                  David
                • David Goodrich
                  I should add to my previous posting that the Romans occasionally inserted bronze letters into their carved monumental inscriptions. These were presumably cast
                  Message 8 of 14 , Jul 8, 2004
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                    I should add to my previous posting that the Romans occasionally inserted
                    bronze letters into their carved monumental inscriptions. These were
                    presumably cast although they may have been trimmed to fit the hollows in
                    the stone. This raises fascinating questions, such as whether the bronze
                    casters dictated the design of the letters using standardized moulds or
                    exactly how the letters and incisions were made to match. Whereas most
                    inscriptional lettering has a V shape, the stonecutting where bronze letters
                    were to be attached has a flat bottom. Thus the stone cut letters were
                    altered to accommodate the bronze inserts. Intriguing that the Romans had
                    learned to cast metal letters but never thought of printing from them.
                    David.
                  • Gerald Lange
                    David Yes, script and sculptural forms were wildly different and there is certainly, as you point out, abundant artifacual evidence of this. I suspect,
                    Message 9 of 14 , Jul 8, 2004
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                      David

                      Yes, script and sculptural forms were "wildly different" and there is certainly, as you point out, abundant artifacual evidence of this. I suspect, though, regarding your last comment, that the thought of printing from the cast letters, or of applying casting technique to printing, might have taken a giant leap for the Romans. I suspect the reason has less to do with potential than it does with established practices. I offer here some thoughts on why this may be the case. Though, of course, this is only speculation.


                      Throughout the history of western letterforms, from the time of the Egyptians up into the middle ages, there seems always the potential for casting letterforms and printing with or from them. The Phaistos Stone, as an isolated and aside example, was a casting of symbols or possible letterforms that were seemingly repeatedly punched into the mold with a carved device. But nothing further than this artifact has been found. (Replications of carved forms have even been found in cave paintings and early textile work.)

                      The problem of "transfer" may not have been one of technical restrictions (or even the ephemeral nature of materials) as much as cultural restrictions. Casting technology was fairly restricted to medallions, coins, etc and written technologies were restricted to pliable and "mobile" substratum. I've really not found much historical consideration at all about why the connection was not made.

                      But it would seem that Tradition (and the restrictions held in this regard) kept sculptural and script like letterforms quite separate. Artifactual evidence reveals that the Egyptians had three sets of the written language, each had its own usage in the social/cultural hierarchy and each with its own separate technique/process for delivery. This hierarchical separation can be seen to be carried along into other cultures that evolved from this, including the Greek and Roman cultures, as well as into medieval Europe. Script like faces were always at the lowest stratum, but somehow managed to persevere through the ages,
                      probably because of this.

                      It would seem that important early European political/religious documents were to be written in a certain hand on papyrus rather than parchment, later on, parchment rather than paper. This had little to do with the quality of the technique/process/substratum. But rather, tradition. The early split editions of printing, using both parchment and paper, are part of this. Even though it was much more difficult to print on parchment and it is not well suited to the process, the practice continued. The parchment edition, though often not as well printed, was considered the traditional method of choice for the higher end market. Perhaps also because the illuminated manuscripts, which held the high end book market for near a century following the development of printing, were themselves commonly produced on parchment.

                      With the development of paper in Asia, there was early on some successful castings of letterforms that were printed. But the problem there, not faced by the Romans, was that the character set required was far too large to allow the process to take hold and have universal application.


                      In regard to your previous statement on the roman alphabet, it may very well be that the evolvement backward of the textura into the roman letterforms as seen in the transitional work of the early printers during the period of incunabula, had very little to do with the sculptural forms surrounding them (the letterforms on the columns seem to have had little influence or effect on the local populace for well over the previous millennium!!!), but rather that the marriage of the Carolingian minuscule and Roman majuscule is more a case of working with, and emulating, Renaissance manuscript materials (which themselves reveal a consideration of the Roman majuscule form).

                      Gerald

                      >Intriguing that the Romans had
                      >learned to cast metal letters but never thought of printing from them.
                      >
                      >David.
                      >
                      >
                      >
                    • Rufo Noriega
                      Yes, I really liked Counter Punch ; it rearranged my thinking regarding the way type could be designed. I never saw how the sometimes contrived nature of
                      Message 10 of 14 , Jan 1, 2005
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                        Yes, I really liked "Counter Punch"; it rearranged my thinking
                        regarding the way type could be designed. I never saw how the sometimes
                        contrived nature of twentieth century text fonts could have something
                        to do with the fact that most contemporary fonts are drawn designs,
                        which would be more open to arbitrary idiosyncrasies than a punch cut
                        based on a common counter. The latter method limits one's design
                        options but, God, what a wonderfully practical & satisfyingly tactile
                        way of focusing a typographic design. It's a way of going about things
                        that I can't imagine a design school student or teacher wanting to try
                        - most schools like designing to be free of limitations.

                        I'm curious if Smeijers has punch-cut a font and finished it digitally
                        on a fontlab or fontagrapher program. If he's right in thinking that
                        the early design of fonts is more of a sculptural rather than graphic
                        process, and that with practice and learning of right techniques one
                        could learn to make tactilly with punch and counter punch a font
                        family as quickly as one could design it visually on paper or via a
                        font program, it's conceivable that one could then scan smoke proofs of
                        all the punch-cut letters into a computer and create a digital font for
                        mass use that is much more solid a type form than a computer-only
                        design. Like polymer plate letterpress, it seems like great way of
                        using present technology to preserve - or in this case revive - an art
                        form & keep it relevant with the current techniques of design. And by
                        thus remaining relevant, older typographic design has a better chance
                        of influencing future typographic thought.

                        Oh, and to Paul: I'm reading Harry Carter's "A view of early typography
                        (up to about 1600)" originally put out by Oxford UP in 1969. The
                        version I have is a 2002 reprint by Hyphen Press (yeah, them again).
                        It's a compact trade paperback clocking in at about 150 pages (126 of
                        it text) based on a series of lectures Carter gave at Oxford in 1968.
                        His prose is great - no stodgy dry lecture here. Carter was a guy
                        whose love of typography is infectious; you get drawn in as he traces
                        the origins of the early printing industry and the spread of roman and
                        blackletter across Northern Europe. So far a ripping yarn.

                        And what bully would dare kick sand your way if you're walking around
                        swinging a big-ass book like "Printing on the Iron Hand Press"? A book
                        like that could do some real damage.

                        Rufo


                        On Thursday, July 1, 2004, at 09:10 AM, <jranneba@...> wrote:

                        > Hello,
                        >
                        > I am reading "Counter Punch: Making Type in the Sixteenth
                        > Century, Designing Typefaces Now" by Fred Smeijers.� So far,
                        > pretty interesting!
                        >
                        > Joe
                        >
                        > ---- Original message ----
                        > >Date: Thu, 01 Jul 2004 11:49:26 -0400
                        > >From: "Paul W. Romaine" <romaine@...>�
                        > >Subject: [PPLetterpress] Summer reading....�
                        > >To: PPLetterpress <PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com>
                        > >
                        > >�� Hello folks,
                        > >
                        > >�� Now that the July Fourth holiday is almost upon us
                        > >�� in the US, I have a
                        > >�� rather interesting request from someone writing an
                        > >�� article on summer
                        > >�� reading of recent books related to the history of
                        > >�� printing, type, books,
                        > >�� and all the arts of the book. Her "summer reading
                        > >�� list" has some "heavies"
                        > >�� as well as some light (weight) reading.
                        > >
                        > >�� What are you reading, planning to read or have
                        > >�� already read this summer?
                        > >�� And why? (And no jokes about bullies kicking sand in
                        > >�� your face for bringing
                        > >�� Richard-Gabriel Rummonds's _Printing on the Iron
                        > >�� Handpress_ [1988] or the
                        > >�� forthcoming _Nineteenth-Century Printing Practices
                        > >�� And The Iron Handpress_ !)
                        > >
                        > >�� Me? I'm reading the current issue of _Parenthesis_
                        > >�� journal of the Fine
                        > >�� Press Book Association, and some biographies of
                        > >�� Benjamin Franklin (for the
                        > >�� tercentenary). I also have a stack of old reading to
                        > >�� get to--mostly old
                        > >�� manuals.� If possible, I'll pass along comments from
                        > >�� our author.
                        > >
                        > >�� All best,
                        > >
                        > >�� Paul
                        > >
                        > >�� Paul W. Romaine
                        > >�� romaine@...
                        > >�� http://home.pipeline.com/~romaine
                        > >
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                        > >
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                        > Joe Rannebarger
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