I was so inspired by this past week’s Type Tuesday on Zeta Font’s Gepetto that I decided to create the entire Top Five To Follow On Instagram based on the art of wood type.
If you missed the article, the inspiration behind Gepetto was based on the technique of creating typography and printing from these hand-carved woodblocks. The process began dating back to 868 CE and essentially works as a stamp, except the letters get carved into wood blocks that vary in size and style.
The mastery, skill level, and attention to detail needed to be successful at wood type are endlessly fascinating, so I started doing some digging. To my extreme delight, it turns out that the process of wood type is very much alive, as it should be. While not widely prevalent, the technique is still practiced by a handful of highly talented and skillful craftspeople. You WOOD follow these folks, right?
Hamilton Wood Type | @hamiltonwoodtype
Hamilton Manufacturing was America’s most significant and most prolonged wood type maker. Not only do they have the most incredible type collection, but they also have the tools to use them. Fascinatingly, The Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum is the only hub dedicated to the conservation, examination, production, and printing of wood type. While visiting the museum in Two Rivers, Wisconsin might not be in the cards for you now, their Instagram account is also extraordinary. They feature daily inspiration, museum podcast updates, and merch.
𝗦𝗰𝗼𝘁𝘁 𝗖𝗮𝗺𝗲𝗿𝗼𝗻 | @typehighdesign
Scott Cameron is the artist behind Type High Design, an online shop that offers wooden type in full fonts, number sets, ornaments, and completely custom orders. Interestingly enough, Scott was introduced to wood type while studying at university and began to fall in love with preparing and inking the type to create designs full of character, which is often the total opposite of digital printing. After purchasing his own antique press and large CNC machine, he spent time learning and fine-tuning his skill before turning his passion into a full-time career. The rest is history and can be found within the squares of his Instagram account, featuring samples of past orders and explorations.
Alyse | @mantraandmood
Based in Chicago, Alyse Benenson is the mastermind behind Living Spaces Press. She began her artistic career at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she obtained a BFA in Graphic Design and a BA in Visual and Critical Studies. While she loves wooden-type and often creates with the technique, her Instagram beautifully features more than just that. Splashed between wooden-type posts, you’ll find drool-worthy food images, inspiring artwork in all mediums, and her beautiful cat, of course. If you’re interested in learning more about typography, she teaches letterpress classes at Lill Street Art Center. Additionally, she works at Steracle Press with Stacey Stern to create custom letterpress wedding invitations and other paper items.
Rachel Dugan | @rachel__dugan
Rachel Dugan is an artist, professor, and designer based in Lynchburg, Virginia. Her work has been shown in galleries and juried shows, and she has won awards for her art, research, and graphic design work. Furthermore, Dugan has given lectures and workshops ranging from screen printing and typography to paper stocks and marketing campaigns. She also shares a peek into the classes she teaches and the pieces that come out of them, showcasing her innate eye for typography and proving that the future of design and hand-crafted type is in excellent hands.
Julia Humfress | @wood__words
Julia Humfress is a designer, art director, and printmaker who has worked at prestigious companies like Vogue House for Condé Nast Publishing. Not only is her knowledge for digital design and printmaking supreme, but she has created a space for creativity and collaborations called Wood Words Studio, a place for designers and creatives to come together to discover the possibilities of vintage letterpress and wood type. You’ll find beautiful examples of these discoveries throughout her Instagram, often blending color and typography in unexpected yet gorgeous ways.