28 September 2010

Press Notes

Tim Bowling’s new book is now on the press. I think it has the longest title of any book we’ve ever published, that is if you include the sub-sub-title that I invented when I was setting the title page. Perhaps I’ve been reading too much about 17th century books lately. Their long run-on titles have always amused me.

Bowling’s book is uses a version of Dwiggin’s Electra type, which are contemporary to much of the the subject matter in Tim’s book. Electra is a type that always looks gaunt and underfed without the ink swell of letterpress, so this book introduces a tuned up version of the face that’s a bit heavier and replicates the warmth and colour I have always had trouble achieving with it in offset printing.

Wolfville artist Jack McMaster did the illustration for the book jacket. Jack, Tim and I were putting the finishing touches on the jacket today.

Also sneaking through the pressroom early this week is a short catalogue for an exhibition of Thaddeus Holownia’s photographs at the Windsor Gallery in Vancouver which is opening next month. It contains a nice essay by Peter Sanger.



Peter Cocking said...

I look forward to seeing this, Andrew, especially given that Tim is an old friend, and Electra is probably my favourite text face. What did you do to it - actualy create a new digital version, or simply 'weight up' the existing Linotype font files? I tried that, some years ago, and the results were okay - that's the version I've used since - but this is one of those faces that really needs a complete and thorough re-digitization, as Linotype has done for other faces such as Sabon Aldus, Avenir, etc . . .

Andrew Steeves said...


Electra certainly does need a factory overhaul, though the big ‘foundries’ sometimes go overboard on their revisions. (I’m not a big fan of Sabon Next, for example, which seems to lose the warmth of the original). The font in this book is simply weighted-up a bit in Fontlab, using a couple of letterpress-printed books set in Linotype Electra as my guide. A few characters needed individual attention after I altered the weight, but largely it’s just a rough bolding. If I’m happy with the effect on the printed page, I’ll likely return and refine things even more. It may be a hair too heavy for the size I ended up setting at; likely better at 10 point. But compared to the skinny out-of-the-box version, this looks more like letterpress-printed Electra to my eye.