September 5, 2011

A movie about type?

Yes, a movie about type!

I admit, you really have to be a design nerd to take this one off the shelf. I think it might have appeal to the curious types though!

I first read about Typeface on the Design Envy blog and then checked it out from the library. It's an hour-long documentary that originally aired on PBS. The film chronicles the history and the current state of the Hamilton Wood Type Museum in Two Rivers, Wisconsin.

The Hamilton Wood Type company was producing individual letters carved out of wood up until 1985 (which was when, not coincidentally, the Mac computer came on the scene).  Posters and other print pieces used to be made of individual letters carefully "set" into place and then printed. The museum is this grand collection of old machinery and heaps and heaps of old wooden type. A designer's playground!

The film shows everyone from the hip Chicago designers who have a passion for old type and printing using the letterpress, the town's historical society who are struggling to make ends meet, and the older residents who are some of the few people who know how to carve type in the way it used to be done.

I would love to visit someday when they have workshops. When the design profession has gone so far into the world of computers, there is a real appeal to doing things by hand once again.

Please take a peek at their website to see the beauty of these letterforms.

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