News

Apr 21, 2017

Help Us Digitize Dwiggins

W. A. Dwiggins portrait
W. A. Dwiggins is the subject of our first publication, a comprehensive biography of one of the most innovative designers of the 20th century.

W. A. Dwiggins has a posse. We launched our Kickstarter campaign for A Life in Design on March 27 with the hope of reaching some of his many fans around the world. Here we are, twenty-six days later, and the community has responded in force, manifesting a genuine and widespread interest in the man and his work. While our original fundraising goal represented only a fraction of the actual costs needed to develop and produce this book at a level that does justice to Bruce Kennett’s remarkable biography, we now have received the resources needed to cover our expenses.

Update: The Kickstarter campaign was successful and we reached our stretch goal. You can still preorder the book on Indiegogo InDemand.

As a nonprofit organization, we are committed to using all proceeds to further our mission. Therefore, in response to the phenomenal outpouring of support, we feel compelled to do more. As we head into the last week of the campaign, we’re introducing a stretch goal of $175,000. The additional funds would allow us to digitize the rarest Dwiggins objects in our collection and share them in a public, online gallery of zoomable, downloadable images. While “A Life in Design” includes over 1200 illustrations, it represents only a segment of Letterform Archive’s holdings, which include process work, original sketches, typeface proofs, and other unique material rarely seen outside our doors. A rich web gallery will introduce Dwiggins to designers and makers around the globe. Here’s a sample of what’s possible.

High-fidelity digitization is core to Letterform Archive’s mission. While there is no substitute for holding a rare book or designer’s sketch in your own hands, we want to offer the Letterform Archive experience to those who can’t visit in person. With raking light, sensitive staging, premium camera equipment, and very high resolution files, we can produce imagery that is as lifelike as possible. Our goal is to capture every paper texture, artist correction, and metal type impression, so each item is documented in its essential form – not as a flat image, but as an object with a story.

One of several process sketches in gouache and ink for a mailing label, including handwritten notes from Dwiggins and client, late 1930s.
Letterform Archive photography captures depth, texture, brush strokes, and pencil marks.