By exploring the space between modern typographic design and the techniques utilized in wood type display typography we present the Would Type experiments. These experiments will focus on creating typography designed specifically for polymer plates used in modern letterpress printing. Howard is (hopefully) the first of a series of these typographic experiments that we are cultivating here at The Workshop.
Some of the more elaborate wood type designs would incorporate different levels of light and shade, creating accents, bevels, embosses and drop shadows. The erudite craftsmanship of such faces gives an inherent charm and flair. Often, modern typeface lacks this craftsmanship and thus lacks this inherent charm and flair (though there are a few notableexceptions). By cutting into block areas with different line work, hatches and cross hatches the designers and creators of the wood type would give form and shape to the flat printed face; echoing the depth and sculptural form of the wooden blocks from which they came.
So far, Howard is just a proof of concept based on Hoefler & Frere-Jones’ Gotham. It uses the simple technique of a dot pattern to create a lighter surface. The regular filled area becomes the shadow, giving the typeface a 3rd dimension. Designed with letterpress in mind, Howard also gives dimension and texture to the paper. The negative space in the dot pattern will appear to sit higher on the paper and the block areas will appear to press deeper.
Well, that’s theory at least. Below you will find a link to an archive containing a working EPS file and a PDF of samples of the beta design of Howard. This is an initial, unrefined release. It’s not perfect!
In the coming months we will be testing the the type on our press and refining the design. In the meantime, feel free to download and play around with the EPS. If you create something with it, let us know. If we like it we might even print it for you.
The words in the example above are lovingly lifted from Shadows of Tomorrow.