Nearly a year ago I made a fairly impulsive purchase of a case of movable type
. The plan was to build a press, but that took a little longer than I planned - about 10 months.
In the summer I bought a few more bits to give me everything I needed except the press. The first was a nice lot on eBay containing leading, loads of spaces, some quoins and a set of Univers 55, giving a grand total of four fonts to print from (note that's fonts in the traditional sense - a single typeface, in a single style, at a single size):
- Univers, 55, 14pt (recently described as the French take on Helvetica, a favourite of Vignelli)
- Gill, regular, 8pt (a classic sans used all over the place, including the BBC logo and all the captions in "The Apprentice")
- Times, regular, 6pt (originally developed for "The Times" newspaper, thanks to Microsoft the world now contains thousands of documents badly typeset in Times New Roman)
- "Old Style", italic, 8pt (I haven't yet managed to identify which "Old Style" this might be, but quotes typeset quite nicely in it, so that's not going to stop me using it any time soon)
I also picked up some Van Somme rubber-based inks. These are claimed to "stay open" on the press for a long time, and they mean it - some months-old ink I mixed is still good for printing. I chose five colours:
- Pantone Transparent White, used in mixing a lot of other colours
- Pantone Black, used for greys, or just from printing in black
- Pantone Reflex Blue, used for a few greys. I wanted to create the cool greys, but that needed 22 Blue, which is £20 a pot, so I'm moving my designs to 420U-433U, which use the cheaper Reflex Blue
- Pantone Yellow, used to mix a couple of different yellow shades I use in nearly everything
- Pantone Warm Red, because it seemed silly to have blue and yellow but no red. Now I've moved to a slightly richer yellow the red's actually in the formula, so it worked out quite well.
I'll probably forever kick myself for not buying green. I also picked up a very old copy of the Pantone formula guide from my late Grandad, which makes a lovely addition to my desk.