Computers are brilliant.Â Quick. Simple. And yup, so easy that you don’t have to think too much about what you are doing.
But there is a danger that the brilliance of the computer helps us forget the craft of type.Â Or worse, we never ever learn it in the first place. So the knowledge is never passed down because there is no knowledge.
Here are some words from the maverick Tony Davidson on why this project is important to the craft of type:
“Firstly thanks to all those who are taking part in this collaborative project.
Back in the day wood and metal type revolutionised the creative industries. Â With the introduction of new technology many type houses now face extinction. Today it is easy for anyone to manipulate typefaces and design layouts. Â However, with this new found freedom is there a danger that we lose the knowledge and craft of typographers and designers that worked in the era of the printing press?
â€˜Almost Extinctâ€™ is a project that seeks to rediscover this â€˜craftâ€™.Â The idea is to source leading experts in this field to help design and print an alphabet of animals without the use of a computer. Some of the designs require many passes of the printing press with letters at various angles. Others require overprinting with a precise weight of ink. Â All of them require the sourcing of the perfect wood or metal letters, that should ideally suit the scale of the animal.
Dave Wakefield, a typographer I worked with when I first came to London, is aptly the first person to take part in this project. He lives in Sussex where he has garages full of wood and metal type that he has collected since 1970. He chose to execute â€˜Dâ€™ is for â€˜Duckâ€™ and â€˜Zâ€™ is for â€˜Zebraâ€™.”