Last year Spiekermann created the typeface HWT Artz specifically for the process of cutting with a pantograph at Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum. Since then he has been experimenting with the production of new type for his printing machines at P98a for a while, as one of the gallery’s aims is to research how letterpress can be redefined in the digital age. Reproductions of old type have been cut for P98a from pear wood by Michael Linke, but the gallery team has also tried other methods: 3D-printing, CNC routing and laser cutting. In a recent experiment FF Real was cut in Resopal® at Fab Lab Berlin; however the technique still lacks a certain precision in maintaining consistent stroke widths. Some of Spiekermann’s research results are summarized in the P98a blog article Making new large type for letterpress.
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Ultimately Spiekermann came across the Bucharest-based Petrescu Press and their Wood Type Customs label. Tudor and Delia Petrescu make letters from maple wood, selling reproductions of traditional American wood type (Gothic Tuscan), ornamental fonts (borders and flowers) as well as type that was never intended to be cut in wood (Bauhaus). Spiekermann provided the press with digital data – in this font each character is framed by a rectangle, 16cic in height – which was a slightly new process for them. Ultimately single type blocks were milled with a CNC router.
At the occasion of FF Real’s release Erik Spiekermann and P98a invited FontFont’s lead graphic designer Alexander Roth to print one of his posters of FF Real in letterpress in two afternoon sessions. Roth’s alphabet showing is reminiscent of traditional letterpress specimens, essentially displaying a set of characters and cleverly including the typeface name and label. The first 25 customers who buy a FF Real Complete Suite,FF Real Text Collection or FF Real Head Collection, whether it is a Desktop, Web or App license, receive a limited edition poster printed by Erik Spiekermann in his Gallery P98a and signed by him. There are still a few remaining copies. Free worldwide shipping, rolled in a solid tube. Photographer Norman Posselt documented the printing sessions.
Image selection by Yves Peters. Trademark attribution notice Real is a trademark of Monotype GmbH and may be registered in certain jurisdictions. FF is a trademark of Monotype GmbH registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and may be registered in certain other jurisdictions. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners.