Remember the days when if you needed to use a new font, you had to run down to the print shop and fire up the ol’ jigsaw, etching each letter out of a solid block of maple?
No? Oh that’s right, because in today’s digital world, we’re used pulling our typesets from ZIP files and style guides – not from the sawdust on the factory floor (think of how less annoying Twitter would be if this were still true – suck it, Ashton).
Typeface – a grassroots documentary from Kartemequin films – explores the nearly extinct art form of wood type creation. The film makes its setting in one of the last remaining wood type factories and museums in Two Rivers, Wisco, and follows its owner’s struggle to keep the skill alive in an industry that is becoming increasingly digitized and an economy that is swiftly being shopped overseas.
Part Michael Moore, part David Carson, the film explores both the transition of handmade typesetting from a largely practical commodity to an aesthetic nostalgia, as well as the all-too-common theme of the dilapidated state of the once-mighty Midwestern industry. Really, though, it’s just cool to see the last remaining craftsmen at work in an art form that is soon to be <–Backspace’d into oblivion.