Impression: Letterpress Experimentation

This week’s workshop was in the letterpress room and we were able to use the time to experiment with wooden type in order to brainstorm some ideas in relation to the individual response to the anthology brief.

First of all we were to choose a case of wooden letters and proof the alphabet. I chose Gill Sans at 6 point as there were upper and lowercase letters along with punctuation and the idea was to print a proof we could at a later date scan in and use digitally. Due to having to wait for the inks to dry this wasn’t something we were able to do in the session though.

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Gill Sans Wooden Type

The text that I am responding to is an essay discussing the book ‘Absolute Beginners’ and as I was thinking of drawing and not using text I hadn’t picked out any quotes or writing from the book or the essay that I enjoyed so using the title I developed some ideas. Quite simply to start off with I printed off the title and it looked pretty boring. So I changed the type to all uppercase characters and then from there began breaking up the words so it would form a square when I printed, which again wasn’t the most exciting thing in the world. However I had broken up the first word as ‘ABSO’ which gave me the idea of adding ‘ho’ at the end of the line to imply the word Soho, which was an important place in the 1960s when the book takes place. The further I broke down the words the more added words I could actually fit in which makes an audience have to look at it and work out that the title is spelt out in capitals; there are added words and numbers to make up places, postcodes and things such as teens, who relate to the text.

Once I had finished playing with this idea it had me thinking about drawn maps, such as the one above by Jenni Sparks, and ways I could illustrate places and postcodes in a way similar to the typographic ideas I had formed in the session.

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