Sunday, June 5, 2011

Making Faces: Metal Type in the 21st Century

via nytimes
Making Faces: Metal Type in the 21st Century is a new documentary by Richard Kegler. It is a video document of the late Jim Rimmer, the Canadian designer of almost 200 typefaces. In the film, Rimmer, who died in 2010, painstakingly demonstrates the lost art of pantographic type making. The pantograph is a mechanical device, based on parallelograms, which allows the movement of one pen, in tracing an image, to replicate that movement with a second pen. A craftsperson can draw on one side at a particular size, and on the other the type is “reproduced” at a chosen point size…”

“Is producing this display of vintage technology simply hanging on to the old for dear life, or is there a good reason for designers to know these processes? Kegler responds: “In any field of expertise there is a history and a cumulative reason that things are the way they are. How many Adobe Illustrator users know that kerning, leading, picas and points are terms that should have absolutely no relevance on the computer, but do, since they are direct analogies to the terms and processes of hundreds of years ago? The more time that designers spend on the screen, the more valuable the hand processes become. There is great subtlety and unique flavor in heirloom typefaces.”
Read more about the making of the documentary here, the DVD is available for order here, and the blog of Making Faces is here.

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