Thursday, March 3, 2011


Each group wrote texts to go with their images, to provide background information about their subject and to explain how their image represented that information. Due to space and time constraints, we set a limit of 150 words. After some proofreading and revisions they began to set their text in lead type. Each group used a standard line length of 35 picas (because they all had to fit in the same amount of space) but each group chose their own typeface, in either 12 or 14 pt. Then they began to set, and of course when you have that many beginners all setting at once, and a teacher still figuring out the studio that they are working in, interesting problems arise. One group, writing about the Warring States Period in China, ran out of capital Q’s (the word Qin was used repeatedly in their text). We did some rewriting around the capital Q, but it wasn’t quite enough to get us all the way through. They were something like 2 or 3 lines away from the end, so we just decided that we would print the first section, then reset, and print the second part. Had I known at the time that we would be doing that resetting at 10 PM, after a full day of printing, I may not have been so keen to suggest it. But I’m learning a lot too, mainly about logistics.

Some interesting solutions also came up:

That one made me particularly happy.

One of the fascinating things about teaching a process this particular and specialized is that you get to see each student’s personality emerge in their relationship to the process. Some are hurried and frantic. Some are careless and easily distracted. Others are intently focused on getting it right. Calm, quiet, stressed, chatty—each person sets type in a different way.

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