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To Make as Perfectly as Possible

Contributed by Frank E. Blokland on Nov 28th, 2013. Artwork published in .
Lost Art Press. License: All Rights Reserved.

In autumn 2013 the Lost Art Press published a deluxe edition of André-Jacob Roubo’s L’art du menuisier in an English translation under the title To Make as Perfectly as Possible. This beautiful and costly book was designed by Wesley B. Tanner.

On the Lost Art Press Blog, Tanner elaborates on the design of the book:

[…] The design of the deluxe edition takes the ambiance of the 18th-century book for its design cues; early 20th-century book designers, most notably Bruce Rogers, termed this “allusive typography.” Hallmarks of the Rococo book include the substitution of type ornament for woodcuts, a rationalized system of titling (breaking the chapters into discrete parts, and giving them subheadings), and the use of Baroque typefaces. Each of these changes marks the progress toward the industrialized production techniques of the 19th-century: the change from hand-press platen to the cylinder press; rationalization of scientific inquiry; a narrowing of the letterforms, together with shorter descenders and a tendency towards a more brilliant style of cutting. […]’, and on the selection of the applied typefaces: ‘Fleischmann types, finding themselves eclipsed by the modern styles, fell out of fashion and disappeared from use; but for an edition like “[…] Types created during the 400 years of printing were entirely cut by hand, letter by letter, and each size was adjusted for its optical size. After the invention of the pantograph, most types were created using only one master set of drawings. This has continued to be largely the case with the current group of digital fonts. A few fonts have been designed with optical scaling in mind: a set of drawings for sizes 12 point and below, known as Text; a Display set for 14 point and above. DTL Fleischmann is one of these. In the deluxe edition of “To Make as Perfectly as Possible,” the footnotes, sidenotes and the editor’s comments on process have were set in the Text version; Roubo’s text and most of the headings were set using the Display set.

Besides DTL Fleischmann ad-hoc display fonts and ornaments bases on work by Jacques-François and Matthias Rosart digitized by the book’s designer were applied.

Lost Art Press. License: All Rights Reserved.
Lost Art Press. License: All Rights Reserved.
Lost Art Press. License: All Rights Reserved.
Lost Art Press. License: All Rights Reserved.
Lost Art Press. License: All Rights Reserved.

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