Bruce Rogers, drawing of the typeface Centaur for the Monotype release, 1929. Source
What, these old things?
I’m being glib, I know. I legitimately feel privileged that part of my job is to work with these incredible, unique materials and help show them to the world. However, it does give me a tremendous kick to see work I’ve been involved with in my day job job appear in my Tumblr feed when I least expect it. In this case, it almost took me a second to realize that the Centaur drawings were being posted by the superb Design Is Fine, because I am so used to seeing this particular photo and these particular drawings. In fact, the caption is even one that I wrote originally, when we were preparing material for the Monotype Recorder/Pencil to Pixel mini-site.
I’ve made a point over the last few years of getting material from Monotype’s archive out into the open more often. It requires a lot of care to make sure the materials are protected, but I truly believe these are most valuable if they are seen and discussed in a way that makes it clear how much they connect to what we do today. What I’ve found from showing things like original lettering drawings and the mechanical type drawings made from them is that people get really excited about seeing physical artifacts that connect to design work that they’ve most experienced digitally. I think fonts are a particular case, too, as it is so easy to take them for granted when they appear in ever-expanding pull-down menus. When people see the hand-drawn shapes it is much easier to realize that even though few designers draw out a complete typeface in pencil these days, those shapes have to come from somewhere, and a person will have been involved in drawing those shapes.
I full-on love the part of my job that lets me be archivist and historian. LOVE. IT. I love spending time with these materials and learning more and more about what went into producing them, and I love getting to digest all that information and use to get people excited about what can they can do with typography now.
Just released: another in the series of short videos produced by D&AD that peer into the wonders of the Monotype archive. In this latest one, I have a chat with James-Lee Duffy of We Are Shadows about a stack of Futura specimens from the Bauer foundry, and how Futura is used today.
[Unfortunately I can’t embed the video, but you can watch it on D&AD’s site.]
OMG AMG! I just noticed that the days of the week in 2014 are going to line up with those in my 1964 Athletic Model Guild calendar. I'm already a big fan of Bob Mizer's work, so expect to see more of this this throughout the year!