A Legacy of Letters

Mark Argetsinger, A Legacy of Letters, An Assessment of Stanley Morison’s Monotype ‘Programme of Typographical Design’, with specimens of Centaur, Bembo, Poliphilus, Garamond, Van Dijck, Perpetua, Fournier, Baskerville, Bell, and Walbaum (Skaneateles, New York: Michael and Winifred Bixler, 2008). Edition of 80 copies. Graphic Arts GAX 2009- in process

If you love printed books, you need to move fast. This is a limited edition, scholarly text by the amazing book designer Mark Argetsinger, published by the press & letterfoundry of Michael and Winifred Bixler, concerning the life and legacy of the English designer and typographer Stanley Morison (1889-1967). It is a double treat, placing such interesting research into such an elegant package.

“The typefaces and ornamental material here printed sprang chiefly from the vision and taste of an extraordinary man, Stanley Morison” begins the preface. We all know the facts. Morison founded the Fleuron Society dedicated to typography, was a staff writer for the Penrose Annual, and a consultant for the Monotype Corporation, where he developed some new and revived some forgotten typefaces. He went on to consult for The Times of London, redesigning the whole paper in 1932.

But if you thought you knew the history of modern type design, think again. Argetsinger’s essay will change your mind about the development of letterform in our time and bring you up-to-date with the effect Morison’s legacy has on printers of today.

He writes

“As much as Morison sought to produce a new design, his achievement stands largely in the series of revivals born from his important scholarship. These classical faces, amounting in Morison’s tally to one or two permanent styles through the span of a century, have stood the years and they still stand today. Creation is a gift given by the gods to a few Promethean individuals. The gift is unsolicitable. Morison strove to be one of these persons, but in an odd modern way, by industrial proxy.”

The book was designed by Mark Argetsinger and Michael Bixler and bound by the Campbell-Logan Bindery in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Our copy is being catalogued and will be on the shelf for you to read next week.