Type Camp California Day 2

After having a day and half to gel as a group and get fully immersed in the esoteric and challenging world of type, we hit the ground running on day 2 of Typecamp fueled, as we were, by gallons of coffee and a pot of fresh fruit compote.

The first workshop of Day 2 involved visually arranging the letters of words like missing, drip, drift, and shuffle in ways that embellished their inherent meaning. We weren't allowed to use extraneous characters or marks and, above all, our composed word-forms had to be legible.

This was a memorable and enjoyable exercise for me because it made me think much deeper about the connotations of the word I was endeavoring to typeset. And though we only had about an hour to work on this project we produced some really intriguing word/letter play:

Missing, by yours truly
Missing, by yours truly
Drip, by Maiken Fredsted
Drip, by Maiken Fredsted
Shuffle, by Fraser Bingham
Shuffle, by Fraser Bingham
Drift, by Andre Braz
Drift, by Andre Braz

In the afternoon of Day 2 we visited The Shakespeare Press Museum, an absolute gem of an establishment. Hidden deep in the underbelly of the Graphic Arts Building on the campus of California Polytechnic in San Luis Obispo CA, the Shakespeare Press is a charming (dare I say magical?) little print shop run by faculty advisor Brian Lawler.

Faculty Advisor Brian Lawler prepping the 8 X 12 Chandler and Price Printing Press
Faculty Advisor Brian Lawler prepping the 8 X 12 C&P Printing Press. Photo by Laura Serra. @laureola.

With a laid-back style and encouraging (but careful) demeanor, Brian and his assistants imbued us typecampers—many of us having little or no experience with letterpressx—with the confidence to produce beautifully executed prints within a matter of hours.

In fact, the sheer amount and quality of the production over the course of our 8 hours in the print shop was staggering. Especially when you consider that we had just three presses to cover all 20 of us! Here are some of my favorite prints:

ChicAukland, by yours truly and Fraser Bingham
ChicAuckland, by yours truly (from Chicago, IL USA) and Fraser Bingham (from Auckland, NZ).
This is not Wood Type, by Maggie Moore and Spencer Syfrig
This is Not Wood Type, by Maggie Moore and Spencer Syfrig. Photo by Daria Lanz
Stop Your Messing Around, by Erin Ellis and Remy Chwae
Stop Your Messing Around, by Erin Ellis and Remy Chwae. Photo by Daria Lanz.
Gravity and Levitation, by Laura Serra
Gravity and Levitation, by Laura Serra

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve spent time working under the guidance of letterpress printer Paul Aken at the Platen Press Museum in Zion, IL.

Nonetheless, I believe my printer’s spirit was liberated by my experience at the Shakespeare Press. I learned something there (about printing, typography, about the community of type) that I can feel in my heart.

Now I just have to convince my wife to let me buy a press of my own!

Billy Whited was an 8th Light UX Craftsman from March 2011 - April 2012.