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Searching for punctuation on twitter?

I spend an awful lot of time camping on twitter, where I have two accounts that merge into professional and social. I do at times forget which one I’m signed into and so often random unrelated links or comments appear via either account.  This has lead to several comments about what I do and has been a positive cross over between both typography and research and being ‘Bec’.

So about ten minutes ago I decided to use the search function of twitter and see how punctuation rated in the world. Surprisingly a lot of people mentioned it in their tweets, they like it, they still want it, they get very annoyed at people not using it and apparently a lot of people are pedantic about it. There is also an awful lot of myth and opinion and no one seems to really have an ‘authoritative’ voice on it. (Though I beg to differ!)

After spending so much time researching punctuation I still find it incredible how passionate people become about the use of it. Take this website and comments for example, the arguments that follow about the correct use of the comma become quite heated. Why is this so? Punctuation is not just a language or typography tool but has morphed and been absorbed into social interaction. This is why I love camping on twitter, I love to see how people around the world argue their usage as being right, with passion and gusto. Like they have an almost possessive need to guard their knowledge or assert their way as the ‘right’ way.

Since my last search twelve new tweets have appeared, some arguing that we change the name of the underscore to something less boring like ‘dashy—hang—low’ (which is frankly ridiculous!) So I think I’m going to propose changing the names of punctuation and see what ideas everyone comes up with?

Here are a few to start with:

Question mark — Inquiry

Exclamation mark — Interjection

Comma — direct

I think we can do better and these are very quick alternatives that my Chamber’s Thesaurus app on the ipad helped out with. It also proved quite difficult and wrong to rename the marks, like some deep seated rules of respect for something that must not be changed. So on that note, I need to go and rebel and find some new names!

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The Crocodile and the Crown

Today’s work has been experimenting with various stock and inks. Plus the Adana is playing up a bit, so had to strip down the parts and re–oil. Thank goodness for WD40!

Anyway, whilst on my last visit to London I bought some beautiful little printing blocks from a guy in Covent Garden. (Who I recommend whole heartedly that you visit, he happens to be in the market stalls beyond the shops.)  As I was flying home I only bought 6 blocks but I could have gladly taken the whole stall! So today I’ve been tampering with getting the Adana to give  a clean impression (it’s improving) and then some hand printing using non toxic pigment ink.

I have two Crowns, a king and queen’s, a crocodile, hand scribe and some borders. I struggled before to get the ink balance right but after much preparation I managed to get going. So I’ve included some of the pictures, I love the clarity and vividity of black on the various stocks.However, the metallic inks always seem to struggle, especially when dried, they tend to still leave residue if you touch the print.

I’ve been using up some of the stockpile of Offenbach 40gsm I have left. Also a while ago I bought a sample book from Inspire me papers and have been printing on to various stock in the pack. (which had a very nice 2inch screw bolt!)

I’m going to start cutting out some of the prints and create cards and in the very near future, will have a shop of all my wares!

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19th Century Rules

Today I have been reading a paper on the psychology of punctuation. I must admit, at first,  not having considered punctuation to have a psychological impact but actually it does. This is representative in eclipses used to omit words (you know this ‘…’) and exclamation marks and commas and so on. The paper briefly covers a look at colons used in the bible and how they have declined in use; this is very similar to my MA work where I counted punctuation marks over a large corpus and drew conclusions from the data. What has really intrigued me however, is the rules that apparently surround a colon, and what has even more intrigued me is the language and how these rules are not adhered to as much today.

So here goes:

E.L. Thorndike

Rule I — A colon should be put after a clause that is complete in itself, but is followed, without conjunction, by some remark, inference or illustration.

Rule II — When a sentence consists of two members which are united by a conjunction or an adverb, and either if them is divisible into clauses separated by semicolons, a colon should be used before the connecting word.

Rule III — A colon should be placed before a quotation, a speech, a course of reasoning, or a specification of articles or subjects when informally introduced.
So reading the above, even I’m confused but I love the richness of the language. So maybe the reason why people get in a pickle over the right way to punctuate is that the language is getting in the way? Can you remember what an adverb is or a conjunction without looking it up? Difficult isn’t it?

Maybe the problem then isn’t the little marks, but rather the language to use them isn’t being taught clearly.

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Having taken a break…

Finally am back around to blogging and a much needed update for this website needs to follow soon. I have finally finished my MA and awaiting the results. Also I had my exhibition and it seemed to be fairly successful, so hopefully good things will come of the contacts made.

Anyway, I’m going to do a flurry of updates, of work done and that in progress. Currently I am experimenting with the Adana and trying to get an even impression. I also managed to buy a nipper press that was in pretty bad disrepair and have restored it! So pictures to follow soon!

I feel really proud at getting an old piece of machinery back to fantastic working order and have been using it to take quick impressions of the new type faces I’ve bought.

On another note: am still ploughing through research papers for references for my PhD. I can’t get my head around it, I know what I want to do but the words are still forming in my head, as crazy as that sounds!

Right back to work!

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Inspiring blog find

I’m trying to sort my flickr widget out and at the same time as googling using the ‘compositor’s stick’, I stumbled across this blog from Justin Knopp. I was very excited to read about the Wharfedale he has (as I live in the town where they were invented and built!)

Also I have just moved all of my faces I’ve bought into their antique case. There is something quite satisfying about having everything organised, in its’ place and waiting. I can almost feel the trepidation every time I slide a drawer open! Sadly, my wooden blocks and furniture is having to live in recycled cardboard boxes until I find a suitable chest. The problem is the size, some being poster sized, others being a lot smaller but not belonging to a family. My collection consists mostly of punctuation I’ve found in my travels; the metal type is complete families though I only have one serif. Which I must rectify!

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Today’s work 8th Feb

Today I managed to complete some of tasks I’m trying to work through. I’ve been setting myself lose deadlines and small projects.

First was to update my note book, I haven’t been reading as much I was at the beginning of the project; mostly as I’ve been concentrating on getting my letterpress printing set up. Anyway, I’ve managed to read through, cut out and stick in all my collected articles.

Secondly, I learnt about Tympan padding/ paper that goes underneath the platen to distribute the pressure when printing. Something that I obviously had overlooked when gathering my info to start printing!

Thirdly, I finished up the changes to my Penguin book entry. Though I’ve had a few headaches with the image.

The problem is my camera creates the images at 72dpi but 4000×3000 pixels! So a huge file! Anyway, trying to remove the noise, raise the dpi and sort out the pixel size lead to a massive headache that I hope will get fixed. A change of font to something more appropriately French and Perfumish and voilà!

Fourthly, I’m having to work out the headings for my final book, using diagrams that I created to document my research approaches.

I also have a presentation next Wednesday to show my work to date. Slightly concerned as I’ve been concentrating on another module so need to get my skates on!

Lastly, found a lovely blog via twitter. An illustration one but from what I gather it is work produced every day, which is a good ethos…no a GREAT ethos! The Illustrator is called Yae Won Yu

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Type setting 1959 style

My Adana 5×8 press arrived on Friday and after unpacking it and checking out all the bits, I’ve downloaded the instruction manual from and hopefully later on today I’m going to start printing.

So I thought to refresh my type setting skills that I’d Youtube any type of videos that explain daft mistakes not to make. (Though maybe mistakes are a good thing?) So in all it’s 10 minutes of excruciating boredom (serious editing required!) this little video is quite thorough and explains the whole process of setting metal type.

Letterpress 1959

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Penguin Design Award

I’ve decided to embark upon the task of designing a book cover for the Penguin Design Award; choosing the adult brief of ‘Perfume by Patrick Süskind.

I haven’t read this book before, so I’ve done some quick background reading via wikipedia. The basic premise is a man without a personal scent, goes a bit mad; murders 25 virgins and creates the most aromatic, sensual, sense overloading scent. There are other bits going on, characters, social under currents, class, language. What comes across as a great story basically.

A quick google to see the other ideas that people have broached, most have gone along the murder, perfume cliché route. Noses, scent, women with red hair (the first woman to die is the red haired lady adorned on many previous book covers!) I wanted to avoid that and create something that held suggestion by drawing the viewer in. Maybe I’m bordering on too a fine art idea?

Anyway, I have explored fabric, texture, representatives of skin, touch, fabric of life, woven – those types of themes. I’d quite like to experiment with infusing a scent into the paper, though whether I’ll have the time to source someone to do that I’m not sure. I love layering, so I’m trying printing on translucent papers to see how colours over one another and textures could work. Overall I’m really enjoying this project as truthfully I wasn’t going to bother. I wanted to get this done fairly quickly and as I haven’t really had a design brief like this for a while, it’s proven to be quite a challenge but in a good way.

Anyway –

Penguin Design Award

This was my very first idea, I got the sizes wrong hence it being tiny! (Ok so I was tired!!) I was trying to make map paper (Waterproof paper that can be folded) from GF Smith absorb an oil based marbling paint but it wasn’t having any of it. The image was a result of the ink running, which I thought was quite apt but decided against it.

My idea I’m currently working on, though I’m concerned that there is too much noise in the picture so when printing there is myriad of colours not supposed to be there! This printing milarky at times is a tad taxing!

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This morning I’ve been experimenting with various printing inks and embossing powders. I’m trying to create a transparent/translucent print effect.

The text I’ve been setting is Beatrice Wardes’ ‘The Crystal Goblet’ which I felt was apt for typographic experimentations! Though I think I’m going to have to change the text, as I’m not sure it’s working as well. Probably to something a bit snappier, more a limerick or a small ditty.

The idea is remove punctuation from the text and replace it with a letterpress version which is larger and then printed using translucent ink. So that you as a reader are aware of the change and the relationship of the marks to the letters and meaning of the words.

Well that is the idea..

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