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Introducing The Archive Occasional

Hot off the press: an irregular update from an unusual institution. Get yours now.

Update, October 2023 — The second issue of The Occasional is off to press soon! There’s still time to get your copy: just join our mailing list and make sure to include or update your postal address.

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Our intro brochure has served us well since 2017. Now it’s getting an oversized companion.

Whenever someone visits the Archive for the first time, we hand them our mini brochure, a gem brilliantly crafted by Tânia Raposo to coincide with her identity design. The size of a business card, with an accordion fold, it’s the perfect quick intro to our purpose and place.

Now that we’ve hit our stride, it’s time for another printed piece: something bigger that reflects our expanding collection and community — something like a monthly newsletter or an annual report, but not quite so predictable. The Archive Occasional is an irregular update from an unusual institution. You never know when the next one will come out, but you can count on it to inspire you.

We’re inviting a different designer to take on each issue. This wide-ranging first installment was valiantly wrangled by James Goggin and Shan James of Practise, a studio whose love of typographic design and penchant for civic and cultural organizations were ideally suited for telling our intricate story.

It’s a story of a collection that is rapidly growing (now well over 50,000 objects); making the jump to the web (the Online Archive); traveling the world (exhibitions in Guadalajara, London, and Berlin); yielding a new book (Morla : Design); and impacting designers, artists, researchers, students, and educators of every stripe.

stop motion video of the Occasional and bundled brochures

True to the editorial nature of its content, The Occasional is in tabloid format, folded like a newspaper for delivery. It comes wrapped with three brochures about our burgeoning programs, Membership, Publishing, and Type West. Practise’s design includes some clever callbacks to the Archive, including ruled headlines, rotated to reference books on a shelf, and a series of Occasional Os in a gradient of weights, just like those As in our logo. Mostly, though, the designers let the stories and images play the starring roles. Speaking of images, there is plenty of collections photography taken with our usual high standards and printed with stochastic screening, the same lifelike reproduction process used in the Dwiggins and Morla books. In fact, The Occasional was printed at the same press as Dwiggins (Penmor Lithographers in Maine) using paper (Opus Sappi) leftover from the book project.

This publication represents multiple major milestones for the Archive. They are huge steps we never thought we could take this early in our history. And we couldn’t take them without the support of members, the work of dozens of volunteers, and everyone who simply shares a good word about the Archive after a workshop or tour. Thank you for taking this journey with us. The Archive truly belongs to you.

Stephen Coles, Associate Curator & Editorial Director