LR Tips Redefining Letterpress in the Digital Age


Senior Member
Sep 27, 2006
Erik Spiekermann is on a quest to make letterpress a viable and meaningful process in the age of all things digital. Last year he created HWT Artz, a font designed for the sole purpose of being cut as wood type using the pantograph process. Spiekermann’s method of digitally designing fonts for use in letterpress has led him to attempt many different processes, each with their own unique challenges. He’s not trying to re-create the imperfections of letterpress type—he points out there are Photoshop filters for that—but rather, in his words, “…to make good new type in large sizes for today’s type designers.” In addition to the pantograph process, he has attempted creating the perfect type using 3-D printing, CNC routing, and laser cutting. Most of the letterforms are crafted from different types of wood, but he has also tested newer materials, such as acrylic. Spiekermann has to re-define the font for each process, taking into account the strengths and weaknesses of each. Most recently, he teamed up with Wood Type Customs in Bucharest to create an entire set of his font FF Real in wood—maple to be specific. Along with Alexander Roth, lead graphic designer at FontFont, and type historian [...]
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