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This Just In: Book Jackets by Philip Grushkin

Original art and mechanicals from the prolific cover designer provides insight into mid-20th-century lettering and pasteup process.

Philip Grushkin, jacket for “The Disappearance”
Philip Grushkin, jacket for The Disappearance, Rinehart & Company, New York, 1951. Left: Final jacket. Right: Original artwork.

Philip Grushkin was a tour de force in the publishing world. Before launching his prolific career, Grushkin studied under master book jacket designer George Salter. Working largely during the 1940s–80s, he designed book jackets for publishers like Random House and Alfred A. Knopf. He later became an art director, designing hundreds of books for Abrams Art Books.

Letterform Archive acquired a modest portion of Gruskin’s archives in the fall of 2016, complete with original art and mechanicals for several of his dust jacket designs. The collection is a great source of education and inspiration for both students and researchers. Showing final pieces, while highlighting edits and production notes in the process pieces is an excellent tool for explaining pre-digital printing processes to aspiring graphic designers.

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This Just In: The Experimental Wood Type Prints of Jack Stauffacher

Over 200 experiments by the San Francisco printer have arrived at the Archive.

Jack Stauffacher, wood type print, 13’’ x 20’’
Jack Stauffacher, wood type print, 13’’ x 20’’

Jack Stauffacher (who celebrated his 96th birthday in December 2016) has been making books since age 16 — which means 80 years spent practicing and perfecting the interrelated arts of printing, typography, design, and publishing. A 2004 AIGA medalist, the self-taught Stauffacher is one of the most distinguished printers in the United States today.

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This Just In: Aaron Marcus

Letterform Archive gratefully acknowledges Aaron Marcus’s recent donation of an archive of his work.

Aaron Marcus, Directions for Genesis 1 and 2, 1973
Aaron Marcus, Soft Where, Inc., Vol. 1, 1975

The newly acquired collection encompasses a broad swath of Marcus’s works and interests, ranging from art and design to physics and computer science. Through his experimental design works and creative explorations, Marcus challenges both our notion of what letters are and how they are constructed. His explorations — through both hand work and computer code — prefigure a computer-assisted approach to creative expression that is widely utilized by artists and designers today.

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This Just In: Identity Manual Collection

Thanks to a generous gift from Professor Dennis Y. Ichiyama, Letterform Archive is excited to add nearly 200 identity manuals to our collection.

Corporate identity manuals

Dennis Ichiyama is a designer and professor of visual communication design at Purdue University. As a student, he studied under Paul Rand at Yale, learning the importance of creating within limitations — a philosophy he carried with him into a long career as a designer and educator.

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Celebrating A Year with the Jan Tholenaar Collection

Last August, the Tholenaar collection of type specimens made its way from Amsterdam to San Francisco. Since then, we’ve shared the acquisition with hundreds of letter lovers.

Tholenaar nameplate

Jan Tholenaar (d. 2009) was a Dutch bibliophile who collected the letter arts in a variety of printed formats. His extensive collection of books, type specimens, and ephemera is best-known for serving as the inspiration behind Taschen’s Type: A Visual History of Typefaces and Graphic Styles. In his introduction to Volume I, Cees W. de Jong speaks admiringly of Tholenaar’s “international private collection of type specimens, his admiration and love for diverse letters and ornaments, and his examples of artistic printing.”

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