Archive for the 'Typography' Category

Michael Harvey, Adventures With Letters

26 June 2012

Adventures With LettersMichael Harvey has been working with letters for more than sixty years. He has drawn them and cut them, he has written about them and taught them, he has made fonts. He was taught by Joseph Cribb and Reynolds Stone who in turn were taught by Eric Gill, so he links the current generation of lettering and type design with the great revival of the Arts and Crafts movement. Having absorbed its influence he moved on to other letter forms, sometimes exploring for its own sake, always considering the function of what he was doing.

Now he has told the story of his Adventures with Letters in a book that he has written, designed and illustrated with numerous drawings, photographs and type specimens. It’s published by his 47 editions imprint, and we’re very pleased that he’s asked us to distribute it. It is available here, now!


Henry Bowers’ diary

21 August 2011

Henry Robertson Bowers was a member of Robert Scott’s second Antarctic expedition, and one of the party of five who reached the South Pole in January 1912. He kept a diary throughout his time in Antarctica. It is now the property of the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge, who are publishing it for the first time. We are delighted that they have chosen us to print the book. It will be set in Monotype Imprint, issued by the Monotype Corporation in 1912.

The book is currently being planned. It will probably be set in 10/11 point, and we’re doing tests, calculations and estimates to decide on paper and number of pages.

We intend to Tweet about the project as it progresses.


18 pt Engraver’s Roman

26 May 2011

We recently bought twenty-five cases of second-hand type. We were looking for scrap to melt down to ingots, but some of it was too good to let go. Like this 18 pt Engraver’s Roman, large and small face, from Stephenson Blake. There’s quite a lot of wood letter too, which we’ll tell you more about when we’ve been able to go through it.

Gill Sans poster

15 February 2010

We were pleased to be asked to contribute to the special edition of the next issue of Parenthesis, the journal of the Fine Press Book Association. The initial idea of a specimen of the type that we got from the Rampant Lions Press soon became a poster showing all the Gill Sans that we hold. In the end we had to leave out a couple of sizes because there wasn’t enough room for them on the page, but it’s a pretty complete record.

The poster was designed by Rosa, and as usual it is available from our ebay shop.

36 pt Gill Cameo Ruled

24 July 2009

GillCameoRuledWe bought this fount of 36 pt Gill Cameo Ruled on ebay this week. It’s not the sort of thing we usually go for, but this was irresistible. We don’t have a use for it in mind, but we’re confident that it’ll be just the right thing for a job one day.

Eric Gill, whose name it bears, was a purist – ‘Letters are things, not pictures of things’, ‘A is A and B is B’. We’re curious to know what he made of the many variants of his type face that Monotype released. It’s easy to imagine him condemning them, and just as easy to imagine him justifying them as the inevitable consequence of machine made things.

Gill Cameo Ruled was one of a great number of types sold by Mouldtype Foundry when they were still going. If a fount wasn’t needed they’d sell display sizes (18 pt and above) as individual sorts. We still have a line of 36 pt Pepita bought that way. We only bought type when it was needed for a job in those days, but looking back it’s a shame we didn’t get any Festival Titling. It’s hard to imagine using it very much, but what lovely letters.

Eric Gill poster

30 April 2009


A new poster. This quote from Eric Gill’s ‘An Essay on Typography’ has long appealed to us. It was a natural to use our Gill Sans wood letter for it. We printed it on Somerset Book Soft White 105 gsm paper, an acid-free mould-made. Soft is a description of the white but it might also refer to its silky feel. We have kept its two deckle edges and torn a third one.

It’s available now from our shop for £50 plus p&p.

Made to make your mouth water

9 April 2009


We’ve had a lot of fun printing this poster, and we’re rather proud of it.

We started off by setting the wood type and proofing it in black to get position. We then decided on the colours, using our trusty Pantone book as a guide, and set about separating the type for each printing. We checked each colour against the black proof, lining it up on our light box.

Called Tutti Frutti, it’s available from our ebay shop. There are also some more pictures on our Flickr site.

We hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Gift vouchers

5 December 2008

benvouchersWe delivered these gift vouchers to Ben Pentreath Ltd today, and we think they look rather good. Ben gave us a rough layout, and the final form was determined by the type we had available. It can be a very productive way to work.

Mike did most of the setting, Rosa printed them on the Heidelberg platen and Phil did the cutting.


29 June 2008

The graphic design students who have joined our work experience programme so far have been taught little or no typography. This seems extraordinary, so Phil has written down some basic principles. Students are now being asked to design and set this text, and then print it on the proofing press. Here is what it says:

Six guidelines for good typography

The most important function of typography is to make the author’s message as clear and easy to read as possible. These guidelines will help.

Serifs help the eye move along the line, so serifed type is generally easier to read than sans serif.

Word spaces should be as small as possible, usually a thin, and visually even.

Word spaces should be reduced to accommodate sloping characters like W and Y.

There should be 10-12 words per line for optimum legibility. 

The visual space between lines should be greater than the visual space between words.

Words set in CAPITALS should be letterspaced for visual evenness.