Monday, 29 December 2008

The pleasures of pastiche

‘The pastiche project’ will be familiar to Reading Typography graduates of a certain age. The task was to design, and then typeset and print, a small document which reflected a particular historical style – the work of a great printer, or a piece of familiar ephemera from the Department’s collection. The project, of course, made you think quite hard about exactly what part of the presentation of an object embodied its visual essence, and to consider whether the resources available now (in those days metal types, of course) were sufficiently similar to the historical model to pass muster.

My note on the typography of Mad Men shows how difficult it is to reproduce the familiar items of the recent past accurately. So, for your edification, two pastiches produced as Christmas ephemeral items: wine lists based on designs by Jan Tschichold and Horace Hart. The Tschichold uses City and Bauer Bodoni, both reasonably accurate digital redrawings of metal designs. The Hart pastiche (based on a table in Notes on a century of typography at the University Press, Oxford, 1693–1794) uses the careful digitizations of Fell made by Igino Marini. If you think they could be improved, be sure to let me know.

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