Bold type for old types

Types. We’re obviously talking about typographic characters, but also about a project — that of Anonima Impressori — focused on letterpress printing, so undoubtedly requiring character(s). If you devote a lot of time and energy to letterpress, you have to be bold. For sure.

[English version of “Chi ha carattere fa progetti di carattere” originally written in Italian]


And character(s) is what you find in Bologna, via Piave 11/b. Have a look at the picture below. You can see what Anonima Impressori has just found while traveling to the rescue of old types (and presses): a huge cabinet that will be filled up with types very soon.

Huge cabinets! It seems that you never have enough space for types.

Back to the project, now. They are collaborating with the Bunker design team and the Italian financial newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore to design some graphics for Norme e Tributi Mese magazine. They will create all the opening graphics for the magazine’s articles. Are opening graphics something new? Not at all, since they were not invented in Bologna, for sure. But have a look at how they design these graphics and you’ll find something really new! They use original, old typographic characters. No digital typefaces, at all, only types that had a real, analog life made of paper and letterpress printing. Characters that are now going to have a second life thanks to Anonima Impressori. These guys look for old types, then collect, clean&repair and use them. Visit their official website or Facebook page, both are full of projects. And passion, of course. A clear example that good letterpress printing can have a second life in Italy too. We are the country of Bodoni, Manuzio and Griffo, just to name a few.

Another opening graphic with the original wood type.

Anonima Impressori is working on digitizing all their types. Doing so they can use them even before printing. As I’ve told you, they collect, clean and repair types. They then print a specimen and scan all the characters. These once-analog-now-digital types can be used to design the first versions of their projects for print. They can be used to show clients a preview of what the final result could be, and this long before ink, types and paper are magically mixed together. This is really useful since a letterpress print is not something you are used to see every day, so sometimes it could be difficult for clients to imagine the final result. Now, they no longer have to make that kind of effort — they get to see an actual preview.

Luca al lavoro su una delle aperture per Norme e Tributi Mese.

A second, fundamental aspect of this digitization is that Anonima Impressori can use these characters in projects that won’t be printed with letterpress at all. Norme e Tributi Mese is a striking example. Every month a different typeface will be used to design all the opening graphics. A different way to show old typographic characters without using them with ink on paper. A kind of revenge — as it were — of letterpress types against the digital ones.

Aurora was the typeface for March issue.

In Norme e Tributi Mese there will be space not only for creativity & typography, but for some educational content too. A dedicated page will offer the reader some info about the typeface used in every issue. A great way to spread some typographic culture outside the usual circles of type connoisseurs. Spreading some typographic culture starting from a historic, fascinating element like wood types makes this project even more worthy. IMHO, obviously.

Typographical composition.
Opening graphics designed for March issue.

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