Robin Kinross / 2016.07.04
Background to our publications.
Comments on the picture-sharing service Instagram (here and here) have pointed to an interesting detail in Harry Carter’s book A view of early typography. Our edition of this work was a facsimile reprint of the book published by Oxford University Press in 1969, with added editorial matter. On page 80 (line 18) of the original book, and of our edition too, one of the word-spaces has risen to the height of the type, been inked, and has left an impression on the paper. This was a not uncommon occurrence in metal typesetting and letterpress printing, and, like a slip in Freudian analysis or a clue in a detective story, it can tell us something. In fact we published a book that took risen spaces as its starting point: Peter Burnhill’s Type spaces. Read more
On 10 March at the Vitra showroom in London, Tanya Harrod spoke about her work as a writer, in conversation with Grant Gibson, editor of Crafts. This was one of the magazine’s series of Book Club events. For its illumination of her book The real thing and for its discussion of issues in the present art/craft scene, the conversation is well worth listening to. Read more
A detail of Hyphen Press style has sometimes caused puzzlement. We give the title of a book with initial capitalization only in the first word.1 Thus: The arrow of gold, rather than The Arrow of Gold. We have used this style in the text of most of the Hyphen books, and in their display typography too, in catalogues, and on this website. It is the style that I learned from Michael Twyman, who set up and then ran for years the Department of Typography at the University of Reading, where I was a student in the 1970s. It is still used at Reading, and I believe that Michael has used it in all the books he has had published. One finds it also used by other British writers on printing history – Philip Gaskell, David McKitterick – who trained as librarians. One sees it used in the catalogues of the great American and British national libraries (Library of Congress, British Library). It seems to be the norm now in science publishing – see the references to books in any science journal. But outside these spheres, in British and American (and indeed ‘world’) English-language publishing, capitalization of ‘important words’ (differently defined) is employed. Read more
Julian Barnes’s latest novel was published in London a couple of weeks ago. This is mainly a note on its qualities as a physical object.1 The book is typical of present-day book production in the UK, and this is why it has been chosen for this commentary; although there are clear signs of an atttempt at something more ‘designed’: the sections of the book have been sewn (rather than cut and perfect-bound) and a headband has been applied at the top and bottom of the spine (it adds to appearances, but does nothing useful – except obscure the glue). The jacket illustration and design is pleasingly simple and tries (and inevitably fails – its materials and processes belong to a later, much plushier society) to summon up the aura of the Soviet culture that is the world of this novel. On the publisher’s website, one can find a conversation between Barnes and Suzanne Dean, the jacket designer.2 But they only talk about the jacket design.
A familiar book-trade story: a book sells out, is declared out-of-print. A few years pass and a box of fresh copies of this item turns up in some clear-out or tidy-up in a distributor’s warehouse or a publishing office. This has just happened with Typography papers 6, which we published in 2005. We have 30-odd copies for sale. Read more