Glenn Fleishmanis creating Articles & Books about Type, Printing, and Language
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About Glenn Fleishman
I love type……and I love to write about it. Since the 1980s, I’ve been studying type, typography, printing and design, and telling stories about how it’s made and carried out, whether by hand or digitally, as well as designed books, posters, web sites, and other work, and occasionally tinkered with making type.
Over the last few years, I’ve written several dozen articles for my own sites, including this Patreon, and major and independent publications, recorded podcasts and been a guest on others, and completed major material projects. As I work, I share my findings by photo, post, and occasional physical mailings to Patreon backers.
In 2019, in collaboration with Anna Robinson, I developed the Tiny Type Museum & Time Capsule, a tiny case of drawers combined with a book that includes genuine artifacts of printing and type—it’s a real, tiny museum. The project to make an edition of 100 was initially funded on Kickstarter in February 2019, and 95 museums were sold and delivered by February 2021. This project also includes a copy of a book I wrote, Six Centuries of Type & Printing, which was composed in hot-metal type and printed by letterpress.
This wasn’t my first letterpress-printed book. During a design residency in 2017, I printed a book by letterpress while also intensively studying and writing about type and printing history. I interviewed designers like Erik Spiekermann and Toshi Omagari (Monotype), traveled to Wisconsin to a massive wood-type museum, and went to London to meet people and tour collections. I wrote a book about that trip and what I researched afterwards, London Kerning. I also gave three talks derived from my London book, and edited and uploaded a 90-minute version of the talk to YouTube.
From my work in in the last few years in several different publications, and via my blogs and publishing across many periodicals, I know I’m not alone in having a passionate interest in these subjects, whether it’s the origins of the words “stereotype” and “flong,” the meaning of “chromatic type,” or the story of “font detectives,” who provide expert testimony on document forgery based on the typeface and printing telltales.
I want to write these stories directly for you!This Patreon has given me the support to write and publish articles independently, continue my research, develop new books. I hope to even start a podcast that covers this broad area.
With the help of patronage, I have since 2018:
- Writing: Produced a steady stream of short items, interviews, and reported stories about type, printing, design, language, and the associated history. Some of these have appeared exclusively or first at this Patreon site.
- Work on books: Completed: A history of six centuries of printing, created as part of the Tiny Type Museum project. On my plate: An illustrated romp through printing and type terminology; one that collects the remarkable histories behind the design and recovery of some typefaces; and a book about flong (a kind of printing mold) that’s bound in flong.
- Videos: I gave several live talks and edited them to post on YouTube about London’s typographic and printing history, and the history of printing.
- Travel to type-related events: This Patreon helped me travel to the 2018 TypeCon in Portland, Oregon (where I gave a talk), visit the London Transport Museum’s storage collection for a typographic tour, visit incredible type and printing resources in San Francisco in 2019, and attend the 2019 Hamilton Wayzgoose (also to deliver a talk). I attended Hamilton’s 2020 “Awayzgoose” virtually, and hope to travel to Wisconsin in November 2021 if there’s a safe way to have an in-person event.
- Podcast: The Tiny Typecast launched in early 2020, and has several episodes out, including a visit to Letterform Archive in San Francisco, a talk about letterpress community with Amy Redmond and Jenny Wilkson, and an interview with Briar Levit, a graphic design educator and historian of forgotten people in design history. Ten episodes are recorded or planned for 2021 so far.
- Collaboration: Working with other artists to make work that combines media and technology, such as laser cutting and letterpress printing. The Tiny Type Museum project is an outgrowth of that support, where I’m working with several people to contract their art and expertise.
Some of what you’ll receive as a patron:
- Posts and writing: A regular stream of short and long writing about the subject at hand. I have piles of research for stories and photo essays already completed. Some articles appear only on Patreon; others appear here first.
- Invitations: When the pandemic recedes and it’s safe to meet together, you’ll get invitations to live events I stage; I am also planning virtual events in 2021.
- Other media: Links to podcasts, interviews, and videos I create.
- Rewards: For higher-tier backers, ebooks, print books, collaborative art, and custom items.
If you’d like to review my recent writing about these subjects, here are several articles I’ve written over the last few years:
- “Bogus” copy and labor history: how some typesetters earned jobs for life in exchange for technological progress in newspapers (Patreon).
- An in-depth examination of flongs and stereotypes, a critical and forgotten stage in printing’s evolution (Patreon).
- The long history of technical documentation (Increment)
- Looking at the digitally driven elements in the revival of letterpress for Wired
- This piece on font detectives for Wired (a profession explained above)
- Erik Spiekermann has created a new kind of “digital” letterpress
- Long, short, and medium dashes (at my blog)
- Monotype’s revival of five Berthold Wolpe typefaces for CreativePro.com
- The paper that poisoned its printers for the Economist
- The short fad of typesetting races in the late 1800s for the Economist
- For want of a typeface, about Unicode and the representation of less-spoken languages, for Increment
In 2019, I gave a talk about the Tiny Type Museum & Time Capsule at the Grabhorn Institute in San Francisco, which is the nonprofit that keeps M&H type—the country’s longest-running metal type foundry in operation—and its affiliated Arion Press.
Who is this guy?I’ve been a journalist since the mid-1990s, writing for The New York Times, the Economist, Fortune, Fast Company, Increment, Boing Boing, Macworld, the Atlantic, and many others. I've been podcasting since 2006 and a regular radio guest on local and national public radio programs. Trained as a typesetter, I managed to shift my career into technology and journalism. I love helping people tell their stories, and helping discover missing pieces of the past.
In 2017, I was the Designer in Residence at the School of Visual Concepts, during which I became proficient as a letterpress printer and produced a handmade book of a collection of reporting about type, printing, and language that was sold in a limited edition of 100 signed and numbered copies. In 2019 and 2020, I created a hundred collections called the Tiny Type Museum & Time Capsule, which feature dozens of type and printing artifacts, historic and modern.
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Routinely write short articles and produce photo essays on tightly focused topics.
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