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Ross MacDonald
United States of Americana
posted:

Here's some letterpress madness for your private delectations.
 
Given the subject matter of this book, my friend Milan Bozic at Harper Collins felt that some hand printed wood and metal type would feel just about right for the cover. I couldn't agree more, although it's possible that I'm biased.
My so-called design process sometimes involves slapping type onto the bed of the press and proofing it. Other times I'll doodle until something starts to feel right. This time I did both. I proofed a few things but none were really doing it. So I busted out the paper and pen.

A few of these looked promising...

...but this little guy seemed to have something the others lacked. Of course, it would be difficult - type on complex curves, twining in the branches of a tree - but it was just crazy enough to work!

Here's the final forme locked up on the bed of the press - a crazy confection of curved quads, curved furniture, 1830's to 1850's wood and metal type, great lashings of leading, reglet, furniture, magnets and ornaments - all ready for inking and printing on some handmade paper.
 
Thanks to Milan for a great gig. This piece is a couple of years old - the book came out in 2010.


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