Wood type
by Ryan Bernis


Evaluating my final term of second year.

This term has been very different to the previous time on vis com, being able to design my own brief at first seemed to be really intimidating. I tried to grasp at straws over things that may be potentially interesting but they just felt ‘done’, making illusions and looking at common misconceptions weren’t taking me anywhere. I then began thinking about equality of sexes and the issue in SOHO led me to begin thinking baout prostitution. I initially started asking people about how they percieved prostitutes, the responoses were often long, pitiful and non discript. It made me want to talk about it with people more and find out what they actually think. I think it being such a ‘tabboo’ subject some what limited people. After a tutorial, I began looking into comparing a profession with the work of a prostitute. This really wasn’t grabbing me, I looked into the similarities such as stilettos, business cards and potential phrases that could relate to two jobs. I then began thinking further about the idea of quotes, by chance I decided to use letterpress to create a ‘Happy Birthday’ card, I found that this type was really, really beautiful and could potentially be perfect for creating typographic peices as my hand drawn typography really wasn’t doing much at all!

I went to Amsterdam to spend some time visiting galleries, having a look around, and goign to the red light district, I started asking my friends what they thought about prostitutes, again, it was generally pitiful.

On returning back and thinking about the project again, I watched a Rupert Everett documentary, which highlighted the issues surrounding prostitution. They essentially run the same day as a lot of people, just that there are no definite laws, it’s wishy washy, some parts are legal but others are definitely not. I then thought back to the idea of equality and also wanted to know exactly what it meant to be a ‘prostitute’.

Tracing the word back to the mid 16th century led me to find an entirely new definition, a gender neutral idea that could be applied to almost anyone. On further research the volume of social critics, writers and others that described everyone as whoring themselves was huge, I began to feel as though the project was clicking.

I initially printed a range of letterpress that were shockingly dull, with no type hierachy. They were definitely not good enough but it allowed me to start getting into the idea of using letterpress. I went away once and re thought the quotes, then again to make them cruder, I want people to talk. After reprinting, sorting out typographic handling and making sure I didn’t leave smudges all over the paper, I finally choose the seven best prints to frame. I know that the prints aren’t perfect, I know that they will never look like they’ve been digitally printed but I wanted them to look as good as they could. The frames work really well in the images where they are in context, I was thinking about conventionally mounting them but I didn’t want it to feel fussy, I like how the images work.

My little book was quite successful, it printed a lot lighter than I thought it would but it still works okay. I think that should I do more to the project which I would actually really like to. I would include more research and possibly start to make illustrations.

For me, I think this term has been a huge change in my time at university. I really engaged with the process of letterpress, working in the studios far more often and knowing that I have mostly directed myself through the work. I really loved making the prints and learning a lot more about book binding.

screen shots from second print of posters

screen shots from the initial presentation. looking at research, perception and images from amsterdam


by Mostarda em Pó

type hierachy

image from my third attempt of printing, text needs to be lined up and the paper stock needs sorting out!

image from my third attempt of printing, text needs to be lined up and the paper stock needs sorting out!

bbc radio 4 - printing press

letterpress designers


Designer of the week - 14/04/2014

Pointbarre   |   http://pointbarre.ca

Pointbarre is an independent, Montreal-based design collective, founded in 2010. Pointbarre’s main interest is graphic design that is oriented towards paper, screens and space. 

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