Moveable Type, a New Design Pool Collection

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Photo of type ready for letterpress that reads Museum of Printing.
Posted by: Kristen Dettoni Category: In The Library Tags: Comments: 0

Moveable Type, a New Design Pool Collection

The Museum of Printing “is dedicated to preserving the history of the graphic arts, printing equipment, and printing craftsmanship.” I visited this museum this spring with Color Karma’s Shoshana Burgett and quickly realized I could have spent hours getting lost in this museum.

Located in Haverhill, Massachusetts, this museum has small exhibits and extensive special collections. They have hundreds of examples of antique printing, typesetting, and bindery equipment. In addition, there are two libraries of books and documents about the history of printing, as well as a shop and meeting and workshop spaces.

Over the years, printing technology has shifted from letterpress and linotype to photographic and digital. With this shift, the knowledge of printing’s history is at risk of being forgotten. In 1978, a group of printing enthusiasts founded The Friends of the Museum of Printing, Inc. The goal of the non-profit is to help the museum save and preserve the equipment and collected materials and share the history of the graphic arts. Ultimately, they want to help the museum “tell the stories of these changes using one of the world’s largest collections of printing and typesetting hardware and ephemera.”

For a manufacturing geek like me, The Museum of Printing was heaven!

During our visit, we met with Executive Director Frank Romano. Frank walked us through the exhibits at the museum and demonstrated a few of the antique printing presses. His passion for all things print is truly infectious.

It’s a cliché, but it’s true. You never really know when inspiration will strike and jolt you out of a creative block. I left the museum so inspired! Seeing the machinery in action and poring over the printing ephemera got my creative juices flowing. In the following weeks, this inspiration day manifested into a new collection of patterns called Moveable Type.

Moveable Type

All the patterns in Moveable Type reference typography and the history of printing. Motifs in these patterns are based on old typewriter keys, a collection of wingding icons, and letterforms in general.

In the case of two patterns, I also incorporated my current fascination with code which inspired The Cryptology Collection. For example, the pattern Font Code pays homage to Victor Lardent, who created Times New Roman. I used the parenthesis from the Time New Roman font family in this pattern to create a code. Using the Bacon cipher to crack the code, “Victor Largent Times New Roman” is revealed.

I used the Bacon Cipher again in pattern Type Code. Decoding this pattern reveals, “William Addison Dwiggins.” Dwiggins created the sans serif font Metro, as well as Caledonia and Electra. He lived his later years in Hingham, Massachusetts (coincidentally where I grew up) and is buried in the Hingham Center Cemetery.

The museum’s mission also inspired me.

To help The Friends of the Museum of Printing with their mission, Design Pool will donate all royalties from six patterns in this collection to the museum to the museum.

Those patterns are pictured below.
Top row, left to right: Type Font (P2030), Font Code (P2027), and Type Set (P1964).
Bottom row, left to right: Typesetting (P2036), Asterisk (P2033), Type Press (P2031).

I can picture these patterns in a wide range of environments on different types of products. Modern offices, especially graphic design studios, libraries, and schools, come to mind first, but they would be perfect in any place looking for something different.


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