Seeing Color/Printing Color

APHA conference poster by Doug Clouse of The Graphics Office
Typographer Nick Sherman will speak about 19th century chromatic wood type— typefaces made up of separately registered components which were printed in two or more colors. These types were designed so that the color overlap produced a third color. Nick will focus on William Page's 1874 specimen book, a tour de force of Victorian typographic fantasy. Images by Becca Hirsbrunner
The American Printing History Association's annual conference on all aspects of color printing— antique and modern, fine and pulp comic book style, from practical technique to color theory—is coming up October 18–20. Keynote speaker is Dr. Sarah Lowengard. Her brilliantly written and richly detailed monograph, “The Creation of Color in Eighteenth-Century Europe” (online here) covered "color as an idea and color as the outcome of technological processes." In other words: arcane cultural tangents and obscure chemical distillations, adroitly presented. Coincidentally I had posted about Lowengard three years ago (with lots of pix!) in a meandering commentary on color.

Dear reader, depending upon your point of view, upcoming APHA talks will either sound like parodies of eggheadedness or give you a frisson of excitement at having your esoteric niche interest celebrated thus: “American Currency: Three Hundred Years of Color Printing,” “Chromatic Type and William Page’s Magnum Opus of Multi-Color Typeface Design,” “Adding Color: The Business of the Stenciller in Twentieth-Century Publishing,” and “Worlds, Dot by Dot: Four-Color Process in the Age of Pulp Comics,” among others. This last talk, by designer Gabriella Miyares, sounded so cool it almost highjacked this post. Instead I'll give it it's own spotlight, next.


peacay said...

So did you go to the conference Angela?
I discovered Nick Sherman about that time when someone sent me a tweet with a link to WPage's 'Book of Sin' (that's how I see as you can divine here:)

And when I went digging for background, he seemed to be the 'authority' (online at least).

I must have skipped past this post of yours (I *do* subscribe to the rss feed) because I know for sure I didn't see it. Doubly weird because I sent John Ptak a link to the dots post above.

In any event.. Page's book fan-****ing-tastic!!
:- )

Be well.

Angela Voulangas said...

Hello peacay!
Thanks for subscribing! :-)
What I thought was so interesting about Page's specimen book was that considering how singular and spectacular these are--one so rarely actually SAW things printed with these types-- where are they? what jobs were they used on? where are the extant examples? Nick made the point that since the fonts were several pieces that fit together many of the face got separated and broken up early on. So many were not used to full color advantage and were just used as decorative single color wood type.


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