An educator bloogging about graphic design.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

ka-chink. RrrrrrrrrrrrrCHUNK!

vander4I heard the sound of a Number Four Vandercook proofing press in my car this week during the commute home after teaching. It was recorded as part of the NPR Sound Clips series on All Things Considered. When I was an MFA student at Cranbrook we had a Vandercook in the basement, right next to a MacIntosh loaded with Pagemaker and hooked up to a dot matrix printer. They made a strange pair: an outmoded printing machine and one still coming into its own.

A few years later I was designing books at University of Illinois, where larger letterpresses and linotypes were still in use. A trained operator gave me a tour, setting my name in 18 pt. Futura and tossing me the heavy, hot slug of metal fresh out of the typesetting machine. Ouch. That’s why they call it hot type, kid.

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