• Steven Heller

ZZ Type

Who is that bearded man (above)? His name is William H. Page, but let’s call him ZZ Type. He is just one of the many master printers, type designers, type makers (his woodtype is sampled below), punch cutters, and engravers discussed in Nineteenth Century American Designers Engravers of Type

by William E. Loy (edited by Alastair M. Johnston and Stephen O. Saxe). This rich compendium of vintage biography and type specimens by heretofore forgotten pioneers of American graphic design (before the coinage of the word) is drawn from the original book by Loy (1847-1906), a printing salesman who knew many of the leading craftsmen of his age and assembled a vast typographic library of their wares. Among those in the book are Alexander Phemister, Gustave F. Schroeder, Nicholas J. Werner, and Henry Schuenemann–not household (or AIGA Medalist) names, but major contributors to the wood and metal typographic legacy. Order here.

For more on American wood type also check out the Rob Roy Kelly American Wood Type Collection at The University of Texas at Austin curated by David Shields.

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 →