Trees into Letters

Here’s a book that makes you long for those wonderful days of wood type. The Art of Wood Type by Gregory Ruffa is billed as the “the most comprehensive book written on the subject in 50 years.” Of course, some of you may remember the now classic books that reintroduced wood type to American designers by Rob Roy Kelly: American Wood Type, 1828-1900 and Wood Type Alphabets. But where Kelly’s were black-and-white, Ruffa’s is stunningly printed in color, showing both full fonts as objects (of desire) and full alphabets as specimen settings. The Art of Wood Type, says Ruffa, “was conceptually developed to preserve the lost art of wood type, but grew into a resource for artists, graphic designers, printers, students, and teachers.” You can purchase and/or see a QuickTime movie of it here. What’s more, it weighs less than a complete font of Aldine or Bradley.

What would you do if you had a full font of wood type? Tell me in the comments.

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Daily Heller, Imprint: Print Magazine's Design Blog

About Steven Heller

Steven Heller is the co-chair of the SVA MFA Designer /Designer as Author + Entrepreneur program, writes frequently for Wired and Design Observer. He is also the author of over 170 books on design and visual culture. He received the 1999 AIGA Medal and is the 2011 recipient of the Smithsonian National Design Award.

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