I have no idea when—or if—I will ever return to Italy. Covid has knocked freedom of movement for a loop. With luck, this most beautiful of countries will return to normal soon and travel will again be possible. In the meantime, I take solace by living vicariously through years I have spent collecting flea market artifacts, and discovering Italian type, typography and graphic design. There are many extraordinary memories yet of them all I daydream about my visits to arguably the eighth wonder of the typographic world, or at least one of the world’s great type and printing museums, Tipoteca Italiana. In an attempt to give my dreams weight, of late I’ve been pouring over James Clough and Chiara Scattolin’s authorship of a book titled Alphabets Of Wood, the first study on the Italian history of wood typefaces and the role of Tipoteca in its scholarship. Viewed through the lens of Tipoteca’s Luigi Melchiori archive, the book goes deep into the history of wood typeface factories. It might still be available here.
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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.View all posts by Steven Heller →