I’m interested in the changes that occur when something digital is converted to analog. (We translate the real into the virtual all the time, of course, and rarely think a thing about it.) I’m interested in what changes when a virtual thing is translated into something real, something tangible. Is the analog version of a digital thing significantly different from its predecessor? Is it something else entirely? Is it more of an abstraction than a representation, or the other way around? These are important questions, and as a designer I find much of the work I produce is either directly or tangentially related to this line of inquiry. To answer these questions I created the digital font, Rudiment, with digital tools, Adobe Illustrator & Glyphs. I then created a series of Rudiment specimens as wood block type for letterpress, cutting the letterforms out of wood using a CNC router. My investigation into the art of reproduction using unconventional methods & alternative tools, and the resulting cross-over between digital and analog (computer code & wood), originated a new aesthetic direction for me, wherein the limitations inherent in this reproduction give birth to new forms.
I was working in a print lab with a letterpress and a variety of typefaces. I noticed while using Melior typeface that there were subtle differences between the digital version and the metal type. This guided my early investigation into what is an ongoing project.
Cutting the entire lowercase typeface from the CNC router was done in two sessions and took approximately 12 hours.
Once the CNC was finished, the woodblocks had to be built up to “type-height”, .918″, to properly print in the Vandercook letterpress.