Our poster for May

The trouble with limited runs is that popular motifs run out very quickly and we have to disappoint a lot of people. We cannot simple reprint the same subject, as that would contradict the principle. We have, however, redesigned and then printed the same statement before: »Alles ist fertig, es muss nur noch gemacht werden« was so popular that a second run had become inevitable, albeit looking quite different from the first one.

The other very popular theme has been my motto »Don’t work for assholes, don’t work with assholes«. The former part of this statement is the one that most colleagues want to display on their studio walls. So we went ahead and printed just that sentence. It is set in 20cicero (about 21pica) Akzidenz Grotesk Medium. These large fonts do not have very many characters in a set. When we ran out of lower case o, we had to insert the last one from the Bold weight of the same typeface. It is a little larger on the body but ends up looking as if we wanted to stress the meaning of the word with an extra large o. Necessity as the mother of invention. BTW: 20cicero is a cap height of approx. 85mm.

p98a_assholes_2_72

As always, the poster is printed on MetaPaper Rough Warm White 160 gsm in Black and Pantone Warm Red ink. From original wood and metal type on our Korrex Frankfurt, 50×70 cm.

The 50 posters each are num­bered and signed by Erik Spiek­er­mann. We ship every­where and you can pay by Pay­Pal. Price is the same in these cur­rencies: £, $, €; always 98, includ­ing tax (where applic­a­ble) and ship­ping, wrapped in a solid card­board tube. Orders with shipping address please to info@p98a.com.

Wo says April is over?

Easter holidays and travel have delayed the production of our poster for April. The first run wasn’t good enough because even with wood type there is a limit to what can be done without kerning. The word PAY in all caps (and that’s all I have for the HWT Artz font) falls apart and becomes illegible. So Ferdinand and Jan had to get the hacksaw out. Spot the difference (and the other manual kern):

PaulRand_before72 PaulRand_after72

As always, the poster is printed on MetaPaper Rough Warm White 160 gsm in Black and Pantone Warm Red ink. From original wood and metal type (HWT Artz 16cicero and Akzidenz Grotesk Medium 60pt) on our Korrex Frankfurt, 50×70 cm.

The 50 posters each are num­bered and signed by Erik Spiek­er­mann. We ship every­where and you can pay by Pay­Pal. Price is the same in these cur­rencies: £, $, €; always 98, includ­ing tax (where applic­a­ble) and ship­ping, wrapped in a solid card­board tube. Orders with shipping address please to info@p98a.com.

Posters still in print

Some of our posters are out of print and we had to reprint those motives, albeit in a different style, lest we break the promise of a limited run for each of them. Here they are all on one page. As we take photos of the printed pieces on the workshop floor at different times, with different cameras and even different photographers, they come out quite, well: different. But they’re all printed on the same MetaPaper Rough Warm White 160 gsm in Black and Pantone Warm Red ink. From original wood type on our Korrex Frankfurt, 50×70 cm.

The 50 posters each are num­bered and signed by Erik Spiek­er­mann. We ship every­where and you can pay by Pay­Pal. Price is the same in these cur­rencies: £, $, €; always 98, includ­ing tax (where applic­a­ble) and ship­ping, wrapped in a solid card­board tube. Orders with shipping address please to info@p98a.com.
p98a_plakate_composite copy
p98a_plakate_compositehoch

The calendar is different, see here:

Making new large type for letterpress

For over a year now, we’ve been experimenting with making new type to print on old letterpress machines. I designed a typeface specifically for the process of cutting with a pantograph at Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum, called HWT Artz. We have that in 16 cicero (or almost: exact measurements have turned out to be a little slow to achieve with that process) and printed quite a few of our posters with those letters. We have them in caps only and while that makes for strong messages, it doesn’t work for everything.
neuschrift_illu_web

We’ve also had some type cut by pantograph here in Germany. Michael Linke is a retired schoolteacher whose pantograph work is outstanding. He has a yard full of mature pear trees and that wood is perfect for the job. He cut us a reproduction of Berthold’s Block Eng (Extra Condensed). Unfortunately he lost the wobbly outlines which are so typical for that style. Perhaps the person who made the templates for him thought that those were imperfections and made all the lines straight.
neuschrift_illu23_web

Ultimately, however, we don’t want to reproduce old type, nor only make type which allows for the imperfection of wood and the manual pantograph tool. So we set out to try other methods: 3-D printing, CNC routing and laser cutting. We supplied data for three characters of my Real typeface to people in Romania, the Netherlands and Berlin.

Tudor and Delia Petrescu have been cutting reproductions of old wood type for a while. Most of their customers come from the US and making a new typeface from data was a new challenge for them. The first attempt wasn’t quite good enough, but when their reset their CNC machine, used a smaller bit and adapted the speed of the spindle, the type turned out as good as the historical predecessor. They’re busy making us a full set once I’ve sent the revised data.

The reference is still Berthold’s poster type cut in Plakadur, a resin supplied by Dynamite Nobel in the 60s, called Trolon (the factory is in Troisdorf, Germany). Plakadur carries ink very well, is resistant to oils, cleaning solution and other solvents used in letterpress printing. The sharpness of the outlines and especially the counter spaces and corners have yet to be matched by wood type.

Printing a resin like Trolon on a 3-D printer is an option, but not while the material alone costs more than wood from trees. When that process becomes a reasonable alternative, we’ll be on it. Meanwhile, our friends at Fab Lab Berlin are keeping an eye on those developments but went ahead and cut my letters with a laser, into acrylic. They were then mounted onto wooden blocks. The outlines are perfect and acrylic type has been proven to print well and last, but mounting the thin layer of acrylic and cutting a perfect wooden block for the base are still challenges.

We also had Rutger Paets in Holland cut the same three letters into wood. He uses a CNC router directly from our data and cuts pear wood, into the end grain. That makes his type very hard and the outlines precise. Once we’ve tested Rutger’s type under real conditions, we may ask him to supply a complete font in 16 cicero.

For now, I have to adapt the font data for Real to the requirements of the tool, i. e. incorporate the dimensions of the body around the characters. Large type is cut very tightly around the image with no real sidebearings. Spacing is done in the press, and kerning means cutting up letters, something not readily done. The screen grab below shows how tightly the body is marked around the letters (it shows FontLab data for HWT Artz). Too tightly for somebody cutting with a pantograph, but a computer can cut to smaller tolerances, providing the material will take it. Soft wood is obviously at a disadvantage.
Artz_outlines

Precision is the name of the game. As you can see from the image below, not everybody comes to the same result as far as what 16 cicero should be. Exactly 72.2044 mm, by the way. There’ll be wear and tear enough later during setting and printing these letters on our presses, so we may as well start with as little tolerance as we can get. We are not after that “letterpress look” of distressed type, showing blotches, holes and woodgrain. There are Photoshop filters for that already. We intend to make good new type in large sizes for today’s type designers.
neuschrift_illu22_web

These posters are still available

Some of our posters are out of print and we had to reprint those motives, albeit in a different style, lest we break the promise of a limited run for each of them. Here they are all on one page. As we take photos of the printed pieces on the workshop floor at different times, with different cameras and even different photographers, they come out quite, well: different. But they’re all printed on the same MetaPaper Rough Warm White 160 gsm in Black and Pantone Warm Red ink. From original wood type on our Korrex Frankfurt, 50×70 cm.

The 50 posters each are num­bered and signed by Erik Spiek­er­mann. We ship every­where and you can pay by Pay­Pal. Price is the same in these cur­rencies: £, $, €; always 98, includ­ing tax (where applic­a­ble) and ship­ping, wrapped in a solid card­board tube. Orders with shipping address please to info@p98a.com.
p98a_plakate_composite
p98a_plakate_compositehoch

The calendar is different, see here:

The eternal calendar is ready

It could be called that because it took us an eternity to print and bind, but now that it’s ready, it’ll last forever, literally:

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 23.59.21

Each day of the week has its own page and its own typeface. All printed by hand on a Korrex proof press at Galerie P98a in Berlin by Dylan Spiekermann, Erik Spiekermann and Ferdinand Ulrich. Jan Gassel organized production and had the calendar backed with a heavy grey card and spiral bound by Ralf Fischer at Buks in Berlin. The calendar is 35×70cm, printed on 160gsm MetaPaper Rough in three colours, including white on the red cover.

Just like the animated gif below, the calendar will run forever. Or at least until we run out of Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. For those of you unable to live with English words on the wall, we can provide translations.

There are exactly 75 prints, so supplies will not last forever. It sells for $/€/£ 198, including shipping, tax etc, regardless where you are. Order it by email from info@p98a.com.

p98a-cal_xs

March poster is ready to ship

The poster for March 2015 is, as always, 50×70cm in size (approx 20×28in), printed 2 colours on 160gsm Meta­Pa­per Rough. It is the second run of our most popular motive, albeit this time set in a different typeface. We just got this chunky Block Heavy in 16 cicero and welcomed the opportunity to try it out. It prints almost too perfectly for wood type. Doesn’t need much pressure, but a lot of ink. Weight has its price.

p98a_movefast02_klein

There are 50 prints of each poster, num­bered and signed by Erik Spiek­er­mann. We ship every­where and you can pay by Pay­Pal. Price is the same in these cur­rencies: £, $, €; always 98, includ­ing tax (where applic­a­ble) and ship­ping, wrapped in a solid card­board tube.

Orders with shipping address please to info@p98a.com. We’ve been promising a proper shopping basket for this site for a while and hope to get it done before the next poster gets printed.

February Poster

The second poster for 2015 is, as always, 50×70cm in size (approx 20×28in), printed 2 colours on 160gsm Meta­Pa­per Rough. In case you didn’t notice: it’s in German, meaning: Everything is ready, it just needs to be done. We printed the same saying before, but in black only. That one was very popular and all 50 prints sold out immediately. So here’s a new print run in two colours. The type is 16 cicero (approx 17 pica) HWT Artz, the one I designed for the Hamilton Wood Type Museum to cut in wood for us. These letters are from the second production run, cut in Two Rivers, Wisconsin, earlier this year. The outlines and counters are clean, the type has the proper German height and they print really well.

Alles-ist-fertig-2nd-ed
There are 50 prints of each poster, num­bered and signed by Erik Spiek­er­mann. We ship every­where and you can pay by Pay­Pal. Price is the same in these cur­rencies: £, $, €; always 98, includ­ing tax (where applic­a­ble) and ship­ping, wrapped in a solid card­board tube.

Orders with shipping address please to info@p98a.com. We should have a proper shopping basket for this site soon, which will make buying a poster much easier.

Three-letter words

Characters make words, and words make sentences. If you had all these words printed on paper in front of you, you couldn’t help yourself but would want to arrange them into sentences. So we intend to print these and more words, regardless of whether they’re nouns, pronouns, adjectives or verbs. We’ll also do a similar exercise in German but may have to go to four-letter words as German is not known for too many short words. As Mark Twain famously said: “German words are so long, they have perspective.”

Not sure whether it’ll be in the HWT Artz typeface (which only has upper case so far) or in a new one we’re about to cut, but print we shall.

3letterwords_loop