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

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

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!


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..

Work update

So last semester, got to bring together a report and a final piece.

Book of collected ideas and working thoughts and processes of the journey I took to understand what is punctuation?

6 posters that show a craft/handmade element of the letterpress I’ve found (mainly punctuation.)

The report is to be written (3000 words) and I’ll bind it.

I’m currently experimenting with embossing, printing with various inks and papers and trying out my new pieces of letterpress.I’ve uploaded my photos to flickr so you should be able to see them with a refresh.

I’m really enjoying the simplicity of arranging the letterpress punctuation and printing; it’s really refreshing to just go back to craft and make stuff. I feel so much more creative when I know I’m making things, especially when the outcome of the printing is varied and not perfect. (Which honestly, drives me nuts.)

Working experiments…

I’m not a graphic designer

For a while I have struggled as what to do with my life, job, education, career etc. I had thought I wanted to do a PH.D. and given the chance I still would; the end of my MA is approaching quicker than I’m ready for and I will really miss academia.

I suppose the problem is that my area of research (typography/language/punctuation) is already whittled down to a finite niche area and in some respects I’ve shot myself in the foot. Yet, I’ve loved every minute of reading, trying to understand what punctuation is, how it works, how to break it and put it back together, though what for?

I’m a bit lost. I’m not a graphic designer, nor am I a typographer in the true sense of the word. I’m a creative, I know that. I love language though I don’t know if I can write, I haven’t studied linguistics though the research has lead that way. So what to do?

I know I’m so lucky, that my educational outcome isn’t reliant on needing a job straight away. Yet I still want to produce and be creative as otherwise all this hard work could have been for nothing.

I guess I have some more thinking to do!

Very naughty!

So I haven’t been and updated here for ages. So tonight, I will upload all my bits I’ve been working on and maybe write a word or two.

I must work. I must work. I must work.

Rough ideas…

I’m currently trying to understand ‘interruptions’ or ‘punctuation’ in everyday life. In the space we occupy and traverse through. I have to admit, I think this is a tangent not worth following; it is arbitrary to my main body of research. However, at my tutorial I did mention I was stuck and I think my tutor was trying to give me some ideas to go forward.

I keep getting asked ‘why’, what am I trying to understand about punctuation. I don’t have the answer right now, other than my work is an exploration into understand marks that are apparent in our system of writing.

I don’t want to document a history of the punctuation mark, rather understand where it is going, will it evolve as language does and how is it influenced by technologies. Letterpress, handwriting, emails and so on.

An inherited tin and a hand!

This is our new button tin (filled to the top with some beautiful buttons at least 50 years old!) and a lovely hand sign found in York today. Picture quality is a bit poo but then I can blame that on the pants camera in the iphone!

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Watmoughs Printing firm 1888-1965

Sadly my Nanna passed away earlier on in the year and we now have the sad task of finally clearing away the last of her possessions. So it is to my joy that we discovered she had a small collection of books and items, that are of great typographic importance (well to me anyway.)

So far I’ve inherited lovely typeset books, a gorgeous typewriter, tins with Eric Gill’s Gill Sans loving set on the top, bibles, 1950’s cake boxes, a vice and other typesetting tools!

My Uncle who works for PoleStar Watmough, dug out a book that had been presented to him. It is a history of Watmough printing company, from 1888 through to 1965. I have to say it is quite a boring book, the information and history isn’t presented in a particularly exciting way and it doesn’t divulge too much information about type. However, there are some lovely pictures, with which the nostalgic part of me harks backs to a hand made/craft time.

Interesting to see that the only women present are those in the Bindery…

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The Bindery 1958 and the Linotype (hotmetal)composing room.

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The Rotary newspaper press and Catalogue print run.

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The composing room/metal type chests.