The Lost Typefaces of W.A. Dwiggins
May 22, 2017 6:49 AM   Subscribe

When I first started as a typesetter back in 1962, I knew almost nothing about its history. But I learned on the job from people who'd been in the trade and from books. One name that seldom came up was W.A. Dwiggins. I started in newspapers and Times Roman was the font, a more boring typeface has not been devised. Dwiggins' fonts weren't like that.
posted by MovableBookLady (6 comments total) 43 users marked this as a favorite
 
Fascinating—I love reading about typefaces and their history! This is full of good stuff:
“Tell me how fast you have to move,” Dwiggins responded. “I shall be busy as a bootlegger all Summer, but a type face is a job that you have to dream over anyhow.”
Busy as a bootlegger!
Linotype had Dwiggins on a retainer, which meant both great creative freedom and no guarantees. “He could blue-sky to his heart’s content, and then they would pick which ones to carry into real metal,” says Kennett. “Several of those types were developed to the point that entire books were typeset in them, but Linotype never brought them to a full commercial release.”
Those were the days...

And "He may have been the first person to use the word 'graphic designer,' in 1922"! Thanks for a great post.
posted by languagehat at 7:27 AM on May 22, 2017 [4 favorites]


I'm always happy to see a book set in Electra. There's more on the Kickstarter page, including sample pages of the book in their new digital Electra. (Is it just me, or does it look narrower than the original?)
posted by mubba at 7:53 AM on May 22, 2017


Excellent post. Thank you.
posted by the sobsister at 10:01 AM on May 22, 2017


I was going to mention that should you ever plan to be near Boston, call ahead to the Rare Books and Manuscripts Room at the Boston Public Library to request a showing of cool stuff from their William A. Dwiggins collection. But alas! They are closed to the public through 2019 to make preservation improvements.
posted by Artazil at 10:01 AM on May 22, 2017 [1 favorite]


Wow, wow, WOW! Thank you so much. I'll be daydreaming of this until I can look at it again when I get home.
posted by brokeaspoke at 10:44 AM on May 22, 2017 [1 favorite]


I like the handwritten note with “Yeah, I'm kinda proud of this” on it.
posted by scruss at 5:44 PM on May 22, 2017 [1 favorite]


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