Patterning the revival of an historic font: presenting The Lustig Elements Collection

 

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We are delighted to unveil the first four editions in our new Lustig Elements Collection. Wouldn’t you like to outfit your walls with a gorgeous modernist print on yummy CRANE’S LETTRA®?

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Or maybe you’ve got your eyes on just one?

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Either way, better move fast. There are only 100 editions of each of the four prints for sale. Whoever gets their hands on them also has the chance to share a priceless piece of letterpress history in the making: all of the proceeds from these editions will be donated to Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum. (A sell out would mean Hamilton Wood Type gets $16k to help grow its collections and support its initiatives.)

These gorgeous editions are only part of the story. The Lustig Elements Collection begins with a single designer’s passion to contribute to the history of graphic design and typography with a project that is 75+ years in the making.

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Meet Craig Welsh, the designer and educator so inspired by modern design pioneer Alvin Lustig, that he set out to revive a font Lustig originally began designing in the 1930’s. Welsh wanted to preserve Alvin Lustig’s impact on modernist design, as well as celebrate Elaine Lustig Cohen’s many contributions to the world of graphic design. With the help of award-winning designer, Elaine Lustig Cohen (right), Welsh has now recently completed the new version of the font — originally called Euclid — known as Lustig Elements.

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Upon the completion of the design of the Lustig Elements font, Welsh launched a successful Kickstarter campaign to fund three related projects: 1) Cut new Lustig Elements wood type at Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum; 2) Produce new Lustig Elements digital fonts with the acclaimed P22 Type Foundry; and 3) produce a short film about the project, featuring the now 89-year old Elaine Lustig Cohen.

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Upon learning this, Neenah asked Welsh to create a collection of letterpress prints for The Beauty of Letterpress. Welsh’s big, and ultimately beautiful, idea was to use the four shapes — elements — that are used to create every letter of the Lustig Elements font, and design four patterns that would pay homage to Lustig’s modernist workLustig Elements_type_shapes-croppedWelsh designed four prints, in two colorways. For each colorway he designed a pattern using all four elements—a square, a half-square, a quarter-square and a quarter-round—and a pattern using just the two largest elements. Alone, each print is a statement in design and color. Together they are a beautiful collection with a modernist appeal.

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The intent was to design pieces that could be hung independently, as companion pairs, or as a complete series. “Alvin and Elaine both fluidly incorporated geometry and color in their design solutions. The core goal of the designs was to pay respect to the genius of Alvin and Elaine,” said Welsh.

In addition to beautiful design and color, there is yet another level of appeal to the Lustig Elements Collection: the editions are letterpress printed on CRANE’S LETTRA® Cover FLUORESCENT WHITE 110C with a vintage Vandercook Press.

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(Don’t you just want to run your fingers over it?)

Let’s talk production: this is a letterpress coup. Each print had nine passes through the press, with near perfect registration.

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The printing was done by Fabrik, the new letterpress studio out of Pennsylvania and Boston. Fabrik was recently started by Welsh, who known for his historic reprint of the Declaration of Independence, and letterpress guru, George Graves (below).

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The prints are conveniently sized to fit a standard, 11×14 frame to make it easy to display them in any home or office.

10-Neenah_BoL_Lustig1_CraigWelsh_02These intensely colorful letterpress editions were no easy feat to design or print. The seeming simplicity of the letterpress printed result belies the layers of ink and layers of imagination that created these historic wonders. If you want a piece of letterpress history, go choose your edition today.

 

Photos: Pammi Simone, www.simoneassociates.com