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Nature of Type

This current collaborative research is most relevant to the printmaking/bookarts, typography and publication papers currently taught in the Bachelor of Computer Graphic Design and Quay School of the Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts and BDA associated programmes. The collaboration is with my friend and colleague Marty Vreede, head of the Quay School of the Arts Print Room.

To our knowledge there is no current research work of this kind in New Zealand on the making of letterpress type by combining digital data with analogue processes. The contribution to knowledge of this collaborative research is to generate new hybrid forms of printmaking and communication through the investigation and development of digital and analogue manufacturing methodologies to employ text in an art-making context. This in itself will produce new processes as well as new work for exhibition and provide opportunities for professional presentations and publication.

Can the application of digital data to historical letterpress designs create new hybrid forms of the printed aesthetic? By repurposing historical wooden and metal type aesthetics and experimenting with their application can we create artworks, print based design and print ephemera viable in a contemporary context? Would the technical hybridisation of analogue and digital process extend, validate or outdate as obsolete traditional typographic rules when testing new design aesthetic?

By evaluating letterpress font collections and applying contemporary computer based knowledge of typographic design rules and systems guide and assist Marty in the refurbishment, refinement and manufacture of Sorts for use in design and artworks. The process over two years will:

  • Investigate and use existing font systems for typographic work using the letterpress and analogue equipment in the studio following both traditional and alternative printing techniques on various surfaces.

  • Record the process to assess the viability and context for future design and print.

  • Make prototypes for different outcomes and analyse usefulness and practicality.

  • Advise and collaborate with Marty to create the Sorts necessary to print works that will test the hypothesis above.

  • Manufacture and document samples of Type Specimens in various publications and artworks with a focus on analogue techniques and surface.

  • Create new work for exhibition and presentations.

Here are some images from a collaborative show titled 'Nature of Type' at the Space Gallery, Taupo Quay, Whanganui. Artists expressed their own unique concepts with type. Rowan Gardiner, Catherine Mcdonald, Marty Vreede and my work 'titles', letterpress with only titles and quotes designed to allow the viewer to use their own imagination.


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