For the Love of Type

Jun
13
2009

Typeface from Books circa 1870

Sometimes you come across something that you just have to share.   The other day I got the chance to go back in time.  Back in the past, to feel and  to see something of raw beauty that I personally have not experienced before.

Im talking about  the work that I found in an exercise book and the craftsmanship in some Victorian era books.

The work in the school exercise book was lovely completed by a middle class Irish 10 year old, under English rule at the time.  Those 03 dates on this work are not from 2002, but 1902, all the way back to the Edwardian era.

Look at the workmanship, the beauty in the character formation.   The level of care.  Looking through this simple school book, one can see into an era that was a lot slower. Where the time was taken to learn a skill, to master it.  Where the time was taken to do things right.  Please remember these are not preseved works, they have had no special care, so they have bled out in places, but still you can see the degree of care taken.   There is just something raw and untamed in these works, something that the digital world can’t produce.

To often we are locked in our digital design words, away from the feel of paper, the smell of ink, the texture of the canvas and the grease of the paint.  Maybe it’s time as designers from time to time we re-found this old school world of the analogue

1900's School Workbook

Draft, Draft and Draft Again

However you may think that this was the first draft the student did in these books.   Not so I also have access to the draft workbook also, in which everything is drafted in pencil.   This just goes to show that even in an Edwardian era things have a parallel to present day.

1900's School Workbook

It seems sometimes that we forget that the best way to get close to perfection is draft the work, over and over.  To this day that still holds true, even if we do tend to forget it, in our rush, rush disposable world of pixels and images that are a flicker of the eye.

For the Beauty of Old Books.

Now that we have gazed over this typical school work of the 1900’s lets roll it back with a common Victorian era  book.  If you have opened a book of this era, you will totally understand what I’m talking about, they are amazing, an artwork in themselves. The quality, even in just like the type setting, the typeface, the marbling, the binding is to behold.   Things that I love about these old books is the wood carving or plate etching artwork that  is contained within.  The level of detail is just amazing considering the handcraft process on how the books on this era where constructed.

Typeface circa 1873

I know some of my readers are going to say, so what, this is just a 120 year old book.  Fine yes it’s not that old in the scheme of things, but for Australia it is old, very old, it’s all relative, see we are a young country.  Still  you can turn your  nose up at it, but for me it’s a doorway to a world of wonder of fine forgotten craftsmanship.

So what things from the past inspire you, what old “design” treasures do you love to look over?

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