Friday, May 13, 2011

Letterpress Basics: Composure On A Stick

So the cool thing about the basics to hand setting type is it requires composure (meaning patience and organization) and, in my opinion, helps one appreciate the craft of letterpress that much more. Here are some of what you need to get started and a simple visual guide on how to hold your composing stick before you compose your first lines of type.

The top picture shows a variety of composing sticks from makers in Germany, Italy and France. Next, composing rules to make composing the second line of type on top of the first line of type easier. Notice the ear on the side of the composing rules--this will make it easier to slide out once you don’t need it in your composition. 
This picture shows the sometimes complicated, but much needed, furniture (reglets, spacers and quads). It’s what creates all that white designerly space within and fills up the negative space around your design so to be sure it fits tight inside your form before you lock it up and are read to print!
mini how to: Hold Your Stick
1. Grasp your stick in your left hand (that is if you are right handed)
2. Your thumb should be free to move over and hold down each letter or line as it is set into your composing stick.
Next, Letterpress Basics: Composing with Metal Type.