Detail of title for typographic calendar published by PM Typographers in 1984. Designed by Tony DiSpigna.

Palermo roman and italic typefaces cut by Giambattista Bodoni. From his 1788 Manuale Tipografico.

Detail from the Mausoleo Ossario Garibaldino (1941), a Fascist monument erected to honor the dead of the battles between 1849 and 1870 to liberate Rome from the control of the Papal States. Designed by Giovanni Jacobucci.

Detail from business card from John Baxter & Son, Edinburgh printers. An example of Artistic Printing (1893).

Detail from bauhaus dessau im gewerbemuseum basel exhibition poster (1929). Designed by Franz Ehrlich after a sketch by Joost Schmidt.

Blue Pencil

Blue Pencil is a “slog”: a slow blog. It does not get updated daily or even on a regular schedule. Instead, it gets updated when there is something of value to be posted. Postings often take a long time to prepare and appear at intervals of a few weeks or even months. Sometimes there is a flurry of postings within the span of a few days. Blue Pencil may be unpredictable in its frequency, but not in its purpose. Blue Pencil is fiercely dedicated to the 3Rs: research, reading and writing.

Bartolomeo Sanvito—An Inventory (Part III)

A GUIDE TO MANUSCRIPTS MISATTRIBUTED TO BARTOLOMEO SANVITO AND TO SCRIBES ASSOCIATED WITH HIM

Bartolomeo Sanvito: The Life & Work of a Renaissance Scribe by A.C. de la Mare and Laura Nuvoloni; edited by Anthony Hobson and Christopher de Hamel; with contributions by Scott Dickerson, Ellen Cooper Erdreich and Anthony Hobson (Paris: Association Internationale de Bibliophilie, 2009)
This third inventory is largely taken from Appendix IV: List of Rejected Attributions (pp. 383–386) in de la Mare’s corpus of the works of Sanvito …
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Bartolomeo Sanvito—An Inventory (Part II)

A GUIDE TO THE MANUSCRIPTS RUBRICATED OR CORRECTED BY BARTOLOMEO SANVITO
Bartolomeo Sanvito: The Life & Work of a Renaissance Scribe by A.C. de la Mare and Laura Nuvoloni; edited by Anthony Hobson and Christopher de Hamel; with contributions by Scott Dickerson, Ellen Cooper Erdreich and Anthony Hobson (Paris: Association Internationale de Bibliophilie, 2009)
Albinia de la Mare’s posthumous corpus on the work of the Paduan scribe Bartolomeo Sanvito (1433?–1511) (see above) focuses on manuscripts that he entirely or partially wrote out. …
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Bartolomeo Sanvito—An Inventory (Part I)

A GUIDE TO THE MANUSCRIPTS WRITTEN OUT IN WHOLE OR IN PART BY BARTOLOMEO SANVITO
Bartolomeo Sanvito: The Life & Work of a Renaissance Scribe by A.C. de la Mare and Laura Nuvoloni; edited by Anthony Hobson and Christopher de Hamel; with contributions by Scott Dickerson, Ellen Cooper Erdreich and Anthony Hobson (Paris: Association Internationale de Bibliophilie, 2009)
This book is a posthumous summation of Albinia de la Mare’s prodigious research into the life and work of the Paduan scribe Bartolomeo Sanvito …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 438—Book jackets for Alfred A. Knopf [Part Two: 1936–1941] continued

W.A. Dwiggins contributed designs to 328 books published by Alfred A. Knopf according to Dwight Agner, author of The Books of WAD: A Bibliography of the Books Designed by W.A. Dwiggins (Baton Rouge, Louisiana: Press of the Nightowl, 1974). I use the phrase “contributed” because he did not design all of these books in the conventional understanding of the term. Agner’s list includes books where Dwiggins was responsible for: 1. the typography, binding, and jacket; 2. the typography and binding; …
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Blue Pencil no. 64—Type Specimens from 1800 to 1836

This is the fourth in a series of posts listing type specimens that have been digitized and placed online. Many of them are downloadable in whole or as individual pages. A few items listed are not type specimens, but books that show important typefaces in use.
N.B. Several of the St. Bride Library type specimens available at the Internet Archive have fold-out pages or inserted items which do not appear in the regular viewer or in the PDF downloads. To access …
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Online Type Specimens at St. Bride Library—Fold-outs

In digitizing their pre-1831 type specimen books St. Bride Library in London—arguably the preeminent repository of material on the history of type—was unable to fit some elements of the books into the Internet Archive format. Various fold-outs and inserted items had to be placed on the site as TIFFs rather than included in the complete book download options. Roughly one-fifth of the specimens digitized and uploaded to the Internet Archive fall into this category. The fold-out material includes type samples …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 438—Book jackets for Alfred A. Knopf [Part Two: 1936–1941]

W.A. Dwiggins contributed designs to 328 books published by Alfred A. Knopf according to Dwight Agner, author of The Books of WAD: A Bibliography of the Books Designed by W.A. Dwiggins (Baton Rouge, Louisiana: Press of the Nightowl, 1974). I use the phrase “contributed” because he did not design all of these books in the conventional understanding of the term. Agner’s list includes books where Dwiggins was responsible for: 1. the typography, binding, and jacket; 2. the typography and binding; …
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Blue Pencil no. 63—Type Specimens 1770 to 1799

This is the third in a series of posts listing type specimens that have been digitized and placed online. Many of them are downloadable in whole or as individual pages. A few items listed are not type specimens, but books that show important typefaces in use.
N.B. Several of the St. Bride Library type specimens available at the Internet Archive have fold-out pages or inserted items which do not appear in the regular viewer or in the PDF downloads. To access …
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Blue pencil no. 62—Type Specimens from 1700 to 1769

This is the second in a series of posts listing type specimens that have been digitized and placed online. Many of them are downloadable in whole or as individual pages. A few items listed are not type specimens, but books that show important typefaces in use.
N.B. Several of the St. Bride Library type specimens available at the Internet Archive have fold-out pages or inserted items which do not appear in the regular viewer or in the PDF downloads. To access …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 438—Book jackets for Alfred A. Knopf [Part One: 1926–1935]

W.A. Dwiggins contributed designs to 328 books published by Alfred A. Knopf according to Dwight Agner, author of The Books of WAD: A Bibliography of the Books Designed by W.A. Dwiggins (Baton Rouge, Louisiana: Press of the Nightowl, 1974). I use the phrase “contributed” because he did not design all of these books in the conventional understanding of the term. Agner’s list includes books where Dwiggins was responsible for: 1. the typography, binding, and jacket; 2. the typography and binding; …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 419 addendum—Serenade jacket roughs

Somehow, when I prepared the post on Serenade I overlooked two roughs by W.A. Dwiggins for the jacket. Both are in the Boston Public Library, while the material I had been relying on came from the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas. Neither of the roughs resembles the final jacket design which leads me to believe that they were done before September 10, 1937. But exactly when is unclear.
Both roughs are more conservative—at least by Dwiggins’ standard—than the …
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Blue Pencil no. 60 addendum—Some comments by Dan Reynolds on “Die Schrift unserer Zeit”

Type historian Dan Reynolds has sent me the following comments regarding my notes to the English translations of Paul Renner’s essay “Futura: Die Schrift unsere Zeit” in Blue Pencil no. 60. Within brackets I have added some clarifying information.

There are two things that deeply bother me about the advertising around Futura’s launch. The first is that, as far as I can remember reading, there does not seem to have been any critical reaction to the phrase “Die Schrift …
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Blue Pencil no. 60—Die Schrift unserer Zeit

Front cover of Futura 1. (Frankfurt am Main: Bauersche Giesserei, 1927). Image courtesy of St. Bride Library.
Futura 1., the first specimen of Paul Renner’s groundbreaking Futura typeface contained an essay titled “Futura: Die Schrift für unserer Zeit” (usually translated as “Futura: The Type for Our Time”). The provocative title is well-known, but Renner’s actual text less so. It has never been translated in full into English. [1] An abridged version appeared as “Futura: The Type of Today and Tomorrow” in …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 419—Serenade

James Cain (1892–1977) is best remembered for his hard-boiled crime novels that were subsequently made into iconic film noir movies: The Postman Always Rings Twice (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1934), Double Indemnity (1936), and Mildred Pierce (Alfred A. Knopf, 1941). [1] Serenade (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1937), his third novel, never made it it to the silver screen, but not for lack of trying. Its controversial depiction of the supposed link between homosexuality …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 445—Faust

Typography
“For me to function in the project, I should have to have a free hand with the typographic scheme, and be backed up by you in any discussion with Author (I foresee discussion!),” W.A. Dwiggins wrote to Sidney R. Jacobs (1909–2000), production manager at Alfred A. Knopf, on March 19, 1941. “If it is a case, like some others, where Author has to have his way for one reason or another, I want to be told, so I can drop …
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Blue Pencil no. 61—Type Specimens 1486 to 1704

This is the first of a series of posts listing type specimens that have been digitized and placed online. Many of them are downloadable in whole or as individual pages.

Index of Selected Type Designers, Punchcutters and Type Foundries
Arrighi, Ludovico Vicentino degli—1529
Garamont, Claude—1592 (2), 1622, and 1664
Granjon, Robert—1592 (2), 1622, and 1664
Guyot, François—1565
Janson, Anton—1671 (2), c.1675, 1678 (2), c.1680, 1683, and 1687 (2)
Le Bé, Guillaume—1546 and 1602
Luthersche Schriftgiesserei—1664, 1665, and 1678 (2)
Moreau, Pierre—1645
Ratdolt, Erhard—1486
Schmidt, Johann—c.1670, c.1674, and 1677
Voskens, Bartolomaeus—c.1665 (2)
Voskens, Reinhard—c.1668 …
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