Yes, it took one designer, a maker, two modernist design pioneers and a Vandercook press more than 75 years and yes, 87,715 steps.
The story begins in the 1930s when modernist design pioneer Alvin Lustig began work on a font he titled Euclid. His inspiration for the font was Oliver Byrne’s seminal book on Euclidean Geometry, “The First Six Books of the Elements of Euclid.” Just four geometric shapes are used to create the typeface. Lustig was never able to finish the font.
Fast forward to 2012 when designer and design educator Craig Welsh of Go Welsh rediscovered the font – and found a mission. For the next four years Welsh worked with Alvin’s widow, award-winning designer Elaine Lustig Cohen, to complete the font.
Jumping ahead to 2016: Welsh was invited to create a print for The Beauty of Letterpress by Neenah, with 100% of sales of the prints to be donated to the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum in support of their efforts to preserve their historical collection of wood type.
Welsh designed four prints with two color ways. For each of the color ways he designed a pattern using all four elements, 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.
In addition, there is yet another level of appeal to the Lustig Elements Collection. You see, these limited edition prints are letterpress printed, all produced on CRANE’S LETTRA Cover FLUORESCENT WHITE 110 lb.
Letterpress printer extraordinaire George Graves of Fabrik hand cranked over 500 prints, with five colors each. Just for fun he wore a Fitbit to track his mileage while he stepped back and forth in the small area between paper and press, and yes, he walked 40.13 miles (87,715 steps) before he was done!
Look at him go! And look at that registration: That’s four passes on each of those patterns (and a fifth pass for the silver type at the bottom of the print) and he nailed it!
The prints are conveniently sized at 11” x 14” in order to fit into a standard frame — to make it easy to display them in any home or office. They sell for $40 and 100% of proceeds are donated to Hamilton Wood Type.
Check out the Lustig Elements Collection on the newly redesigned The Beauty of Letterpress website where you can order prints, support Hamilton, view the gallery of some of the most innovative letterpress work done by printers around the world, submit your own work, and find a letterpress printer.
Hear Lustig Elements designer Craig Welsh discuss the Lustig Project in the recording below:
CRANE’S LETTRA is a registered trademark of Crane & Co.