Double-entry bookkeeping and our mystery leaf

We decided to try to identify a random leaf we had in our collection. Obviously from an early book, the type resembles Erhard Ratdolt’s 1484 rotunda (rotunda being a category of blackletter). Two things made this page unusual: complex fractions in the text, and...

The Spectator: a leaf book

The Spectator: a leaf book from the The Book Club of California, printed by The Grabhorn Press, 1939 The Book Club of California has, over the decades published several leaf books—books about a historical publication that include a single page, or leaf, from the...

Merry Xmas, Happy Holidays, &cetera

“Xmas” has been used in English for centuries. The X is an abbreviation for Christ, from the first letter of Greek Christos. First appearing in English in the Anglo Saxon Chronicle in the early twelfth century, it was spelled with Xp or Xr, corresponding to the Greek...

Confession: we once used a chop suey typeface

Back in 2000, the owner of a popular Vietnamese restaurant in San Diego that we frequented asked us to create a customized open/closed sign for his entrance. He was a droll young fellow, so we came up with an absurdly conventional old-chestnut-of-a-design using a chop...

Chop Suey typefaces

“Ethnic” typefaces do have a place in graphic design, though you’re well advised to avoid them, unless your client insists. After all, who would give the carry-out box in the illustration a second thought if Moishe had used the typeface Shalom? Even so, sensitivity is...

Bifur: A.M. Cassandre’s great Art Deco typeface

We picked up a copy of Continental Type’s 1930 type specimen book, a lovely two-color catalog of metal type exclusively  available from foundries in England, France, Spain, Germany, Holland and Italy. It features the great poster artist, Adolphe Mouron Cassande’s...