Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Type Americana: Part 2 (Film Screening)

After the 8 lecture series I attended at SVC's Type Americana on Friday, December 12th, I zipped over to the Northwest Film Forum in the Capitol Hill neighborhood for the screening of Making Faces: Metal Type in the 21st Century. The film was pretty awesome; as the Stranger reviews, "Watch an older man with a tidy goatee pour molten metal into hand-carved molds for a newly-invented typeface! Design documentaries: pretty awesome." Ha. It's so much more than that, but it's also exactly that.

It captures the process legendary type designer Jim Rimmer used when creating metal type - from sketching all the way to the final metal face. The font showcased in the film is Stern, named after Chris Stern, a friend and letterpress artist who passed away in 2006. (His studio lives on.) Stern was the first font to ever be released as a digital font and a hand-set metal type simultaneously. Pretty darn awesome. (You can buy it here. And really, why wouldn't you? It's gorgeous, as seen below at myfonts.com)
We got to watch the film and then sit in on a Q&A time with its director, Richard Kegler. One of the first questions posted to Kegler was something like. "Have you always been interested in type or is film more your thing?" It just so happens that Kegler is one of the founders of none other than P22, a major US type foundry. Basically, he is type. (How did we all not already know that?) Again, awesome.

What made our short time with Kegler even more memorable was when someone asked about the relationship between Rimmer and Stern, the font's namesake. Kegler admitted he couldn't really speak to that and someone in the audience piped up and said "I can." It turns out Chris's wife was in attendance. She gave us all clear insight into the amazingness of Chris and the tenderness and generosity of Jim. He too passed, just this past summer. Having that unexpected information was pretty awesome, too.

The film is like a time capsule in motion - capturing the details and beauty of an almost-lost art. For that we should be forever grateful. Whether or not you're into type, it's pretty important.

Okay, all that said, you've got to watch what's available online now. > Making Faces trailer
You can also peek at it elsewhere online:
it's blog,
it's Kickstarter page,
the Stern Specimen booklet.

P.S. If you purchase Loxley, all proceeds go to Making Faces, per Jim's wishes.

Type designers are pretty awesome.

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