Art 135: Typography

Art 135 is a Scripps College Press studio course in typography, emphasizing fundamentals of typographic design and letterpress printing. Experimental projects in book design and printing, using original texts and original imagery. Six hours time plus three hours arranged. Offered every semester. Professor Maryatt.


Grades in the Typography class are determined by the following factors:

Technical skills You will learn how to set type by hand and print on a letterpress machine. Setting type requires knowledge of the lay of the case, an understanding of the finer points in the setting of type, and the ability to arrange a block of type solidly in the press for printing. It means that by the end of the semester, you have a reasonable knowledge of how the printing press functions so that you can print a page of type or imagery without over- or under-inking or having too much or too little impression.
Creating the text One of the aims of the class is to produce a short text which we print in book form. You are expected to produce a rough draft and then a completed draft according to a schedule. We normally write to a stated and agreed-upon theme or idea. Then there are several group discussions and critiques of the rough drafts and further discussions with the professor to advise those who request help. Placement and sequencing of the text on the pages is critical.
Image-forming You will be shown how to create imagery by various methods that will be printed by the relief printing process. The inter-connection of imagery and text will be discussed, and the way in which you merge the two will be examined. You are expected to be capable of producing well-printed prints for the book. The progress of the transformation of your original idea to the finished print will be noted.
Typographic understanding The choice of type for your section is limited by the type on hand. You are expected to understand something about the various text faces so that you can choose an appropriate face for your text. Pacing and position on the page will be examined. You will be expected to be able to choose appropriate display faces when necessary.
Meeting deadlines In order to complete a book of this scope in a semester, you will be given a series of deadlines to complete each step of the process. When necessary, there will be adjustment of these dates. But if you are frequently seriously late on these deadlines, you jeopardize the realization of this book.
Typesetting front and back matter You are expected to work in groups on the typesetting and printing of the front and back matter of the book in addition to completion of your own section. This includes distribution of this material at the end of the semester.
Attendance Not only does this mean informing the professor when you are unable to attend class, it also is a commitment to arrive on time on any day that you are scheduled to print or to do any group activity and in addition, to be ready to perform whatever task has been assigned. For example, if you are assigned to print, you are expected to have the type on the press, proofed and corrected, with a color mixed up for printing.
Distribution of type After printing, you will distribute the type and the spacing material back into the appropriate cases. The presses should also have the furniture and quoins put away by the end of the semester.
Binding capability You will be expected to bind from 5 to 10 copies of the books we produce collaboratively. This is normally done in the last three weeks of the semester, just before the publication party, which is during finals week. At the beginning of the semester, you will be taught how to bind a journal to keep your notes in. During the progress of the semester, there will be discussions about the style of binding we will choose. You will find that you might be better at certain of these processes than others, and then we divide into groups to manage the production of the book. You will naturally be graded on how well you do the task you are suited for.
Research assignments There are from time to time research assignments that require searching for and reading various texts on the book arts and/or presentations of that material to the class. Proper completion of such assignments will be noted.

Printing Equipment

The following equipment is in use by the students participating at the Scripps College Press:

Binding Equipment
Jacques board shears 32″
Challenge 19 1/2″ Guillotine
Kutrimmer 22″
4 Book Presses
2 Lying Presses
3 Sewing Frames

Printing Equipment
Vandercook #4
Vandercook Universal III
Vandercook Universal I
Another Vandercook Universal I
Chandler & Price 10″ X 12″ Platen Press
Washington Hand Press

Text Typefaces at the Press
Caslon, Garamond, Scripps College Old Style, Centaur and Arrighi, Ehrhardt, Fournier, Goudy Modern, Optima, Times New Roman, Univers.

Papermaking Equipment
Hollander beater
Hydraulic jack
Paper mould