It is been a while that I've been in contact with editors of Type Journal (Журнал «Шрифт»), an online journal devoted to type design, visual culture and typography in the Russian-speaking world. So at the beginning of the year, while being on holidays with friends in Berlin they've decided to visit Belgium for a few days. A perfect moment for a typographic meeting!
But before telling you the story about our type adventures in Belgium I'd like to make a short introduction of Type Journal in case you are not familiar with it yet:
Besides the talented editors and staff members they have an impressive list of editorial board members such as Misha Beletsky, Gayane Baghdasaryan, Dima Barbanel, Yuri Gordon and many more.
Within 3 years, after being an online resource, Type Journal became a publishing house producing high quality books about prominent Soviet/Russian graphic designers and calligraphers which may have been somehow undeservedly forgotten. Although the major part of the blog and books is in Russian, the people of Type Journal are doing their best to translate the articles and books into English to make it available to a wider audience.
I absolutely love the books they are producing, especially their latest project published through the successful crowdfunding campaign - a monograph of Solomon Telingater (1903−1969). Telingater? Well, that's the biggest name in Russian typography and lettering you (probably) never heard before. He was a prominent Soviet typographer, calligrapher and book artist who produced the book covers for over 600 publications throughout his career.
The book itself is dedicated to Solomon Telingater's typographic heritage. It includes an extensive archive of sketches, book covers, title pages, proofs, font studies and calligraphic sheets, carefully preserved by his son Vladimir Telingater, and demonstrates the diversity of his talent. Book covers and promotional materials created by Telingater in the '20s are a considerable part of the golden age of Russian avant-garde along with the works of El Lissitzky, Rodchenko, Varvara Stepanova, Gustav Klucis.
With more than 200 illustrations, with many of them published for the first time, the publishers comprehensively represented Telingater's work from prewar thirties with their apparent rejection of the ideas of constructivism and the war years to the 60s. His illustrative book covers composed by hand from metal type, lines and various material he could find at the printshop are exquisite. Perhaps the success of the method was the unity of graphic image - word and illustration created from the same type case material.
Solomon Telingater. Book covers typeset from typographic material, 1927. Image source
So, a few weeks ago the group of enthusiastic typographers, designers & editors has arrived in Belgium for a few days. Amongst them a type designer Maria Doreuli, Eugeniy Yukechev, Rustam Gabbasov from Type Journal, Gayane Bagdasaryan, a type designer/ Brownfox studio and organizer of Serebro Nabora type conference in Moscow, Vyacheslav Kirilenko (Brownfox studio), Dima Pilikov, Andrey & Nadya Kuzmin.
As all of them stayed in Antwerp we decided to meet up there and start our 'typographic' tour from visiting Patrick Goossens' unique collection of printing presses.
After having a lunch and a good cup of coffee we headed to Patrick's warehouse located a little outside of the city center. His collection is widely known in and outside the country and over the years he has collected and preserved more than 100 printing presses, type casting machines and various printmaking-related equipment.
Patrick Goossens is not only a private collector, but also historian who recently became a co-author of a book about the Columbian hand press, which has actually been printed by Patrick himself on Clymer Columbian No. 375 from 1828, using freshly casted Monotype Baskerville and Zerkall mould-made paper.
Patrick is a great host and can tell you a great deal about each and one of his presses and a typecasting process which is one of the main points of his interest. Besides an amazing collection of printing equipment and an extensive wood & metal type collection brought from all of the world, he has an astonishing collection of rare type specimens and books. It is an absolute paradise for a graphic designer, typographer or anyone involved in research.
The next day, recovered after an overwhelming trip to the Patrick's warehouse, we decided to meet up at the MIAT museum in Gent. The printing department of the MIAT, where I'm volunteering at, is situated on the 4th floor and has fine collection of carefully restored hand & cylinder presses, Ludlow, Monotype, Linotype/Intertype type casting machines and a large collection of wood and metal type. It is open for hands-on workshops from time to time and on Thursday's you might witness demonstrations of various presses given by one of the MIAT's volunteers.
Starting from the 5th floor where a few interesting items were exhibited - wooden hand press & Typograph Linecasting machine, we proceeded to the 4th floor to the actual printing workshop area. Arnould Poelman, our skilful volunteer with more than 30 years experience was kind enough to demonstrate the Linotype/Intertype, Ludlow type casters as well as providing an explanation on operating of the Monotype caster and other printing equipment.
After a lunch break, joined by Stéphane De Schrevel, we run a short printing session with a group. Even though not everybody had enough experience in typesetting it went quite smooth and we had lots of fun and some nice results! We spent the evening enjoying a nice meal, a tasty Belgian beer and speaking about typography till the early hours.
I was great meeting these talented and likeminded people and I hope we will meet again anytime soon. До встречи!
you might also like
- Владимир Соломонович Телингатер рассказывает об отце/ Vladimir Telingater telling about his father - video (Russian spoken)
- СЕРЕБРО НАБОРА 2013. Владимир Телингатер/ Serebro Nabora 2013. Vladimir Telingater - video (Russian spoken)
- Соломон Телингатер. Конструктор графических ансамблей. В.Телингатер, 2008, Галарт - link
- Letterpress in Russia - link
- Visionary Structures. Gustavs Klucis - link
- The Charnel-House - blog