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We Love Life by Pulp

Contributed by Stephen Coles on Oct 1st, 2013. Artwork published in .
    We Love Life by Pulp 1
    Source: Image via Emmanuel Lodieu. License: All Rights Reserved.

    For Pulp’s final album in 2001, Peter Saville contrasted two very different typographic styles — intricate floral letters cut by hand into wood, and plastic label tape stamped by a machine.

    The large letters come from at least two designs (the ‘P’s are from different alphabets) in a decorative wood type series by the Louis John Pouchée foundry who was active in the early 1800s. As far as I know, no one has digitized these alphabets and they can only be seen in their original form in Ornamented Types: Twenty-three alphabets from the foundry of Louis John Pouchée, a 1990–94 printed specimen published by I. M. Imprimit with a very limited edition, or as reproductions in Nicolet(t)e Gray’s Nineteenth Century Ornamented Types and Title Pages where Pouchée’s type is attributed to the Wood & Sharwoods London foundry. You can also see some glimpses of the I. M. Imprimit specimen in this clip from the film Typeface.

    Lettres Ombrées Ornées is a similar design but is based on a slab serif model and is much less varied in its ornamentation.

    “We Love Life” is made not with a font, but with a labeler (such as a DYMO) that stamps letters into plastic tape. But global promotional materials used various fonts derived from these label machines, including FF Dynamoe and Chromosome,

    Printed credits:
    Design: Howard Wakefield and Marcus Werner Hed
    Art direction: Peter Saville and Jarvis Cocker

    We Love Life by Pulp 2
    License: All Rights Reserved.
    According to PulpWiki, non-UK versions of the album have autumnal colors rather than green.
    Source: Photo by Bas van Vuurde. License: All Rights Reserved.

    According to PulpWiki, non-UK versions of the album have autumnal colors rather than green.

    Australian promo poster using Chromosome.
    Source: License: All Rights Reserved.

    Australian promo poster using Chromosome.

    Promo poster using the FF Dynamoe font rather than physical label tape.
    Source: License: All Rights Reserved.

    Promo poster using the FF Dynamoe font rather than physical label tape.

    Swedish promo poster also using FF Dynamoe.
    Source: License: All Rights Reserved.

    Swedish promo poster also using FF Dynamoe.

    4 Comments on “We Love Life by Pulp”

    1. Paul Barnes says:
      Oct 2nd, 2013 1:36 pm

      As far as I know Pouchée’s letters were first shown in the Journal of the Printing Historical Society, volume 1 (1965), in an article by Harry Carter, ‘Caslon Punches, an interim note’. This was when all of the Caslon punches were at the Oxford University Press. The letters that are shown in Gray are indeed from Wood & Sharwood’s Austin foundry. They are not Pouchée’s but almost exact copies of those of Pouchée.

      Its also not strictly true that the letters are wood type, more that they are wooden punches, intended to be used to make matrices from which metal type would be cast. The only time they were used as type was when they were used to print the book.

    2. It looks like the second ‘P’ is from a larger size, see the higher frequency of the hatching. The varying levels of detail suggest that the four letters are all from different cuts, with ‘L’ being taken from the smallest and ‘U’ from the largest.

      A propos: LTR Federal is a digital typeface that comes in a range of optical sizes: The bigger the intended size, the more shading lines.

    3. Love the Trees track on this. Recognized the artwork while browsing this site.

      I’d never noticed that the “P”s were different.

      So great. Had no idea that Peter Seville was in charge. Very cool.

    4. I’ve seen the (astounding) Imprimit edition and I can confirm Mr. Hardwig’s intuition: bottom left 'L’ is an 8-lines size, top left 'P’ is the 9-lines, bottom right 'P’ is 14-lines. Kind of impressive that they decided to use a mix of alphabets as it must have been harder to put together-I now wonder if the serifs might have been modified to get them to align. That said, they are astonishingly well-cut, you can’t believe that they’re cut on wood not metal. This set of floral designs forms a loose family (Mosley in the introduction speculates that they were one engraver’s work); others have other designs, often darker in overall colour.

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