There may be no task more daunting than designing a book about a designer — especially when that designer was your friend of 30 years. That was the case with Chuck Byrne, who wrote and designed our book on the work of Jack Stauffacher.
For the printer and designer whose wood type prints are the subject of Only on Saturday, crafting a perfect page meant getting a feel for the written word, its history — and what it means to be human.
Long before Jack Stauffacher picked up a piece of wood type and used it to create one of his remarkable typographic abstractions, the printer and designer had collected lessons in his craft from across time — and from across the globe. Read on to learn about just a few of the many influences that informed his wood type work, which is the subject of our third book, Only on Saturday: The Wood Type Prints of Jack Stauffacher, now live on Kickstarter.
Early Experiments in Printing
At an early age, Jack Stauffacher was practically anointed as a printer. Paging through an issue of Popular Mechanics when he was fourteen, his eye fell on a mail-order advertisement for a 3-by-5-inch letterpress, and his curiosity was permanently piqued. By the time he graduated from high school, he and his father had built a modest studio in the backyard of their home in San Mateo, California, and the tiny mail-order press had given way to a more stately Chandler & Price model. Named the Greenwood Press after the street adjacent to their home, young Stauffacher’s enterprise began to take on small commercial jobs.
We are pleased to announce the launch of Letterform Archive Book No. 3, Only on Saturday: The Wood Type Prints of Jack Stauffacher.
For over 50 years, Stauffacher lived a singular life at the heart of San Francisco’s creative community. Now, his legacy lives on at the Archive, and his wood type prints are the subject of our third book.
Some rooms convey history all by themselves. They tell stories about the people who live in them before those occupants even utter a word. Jack Stauffacher’s studio in San Francisco was such a place.