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Chuck Byrne (Editor)

Only on Saturday: The Wood Type Prints of Jack Stauffacher (Regular Edition)



Only On Saturday orders will ship beginning in mid-June

The first comprehensive look at Stauffacher’s striking typographic experiments, in which he used a box of worn, mismatched wood type to transform letters from legibility workhorses into expressive studies of surface, color, and form

Created in his off-hours on the weekend and in part inspired by the modern artists of his day, Jack Stauffacher’s exquisite prints demonstrate what wood type can do when released from its role in traditional communication and instead used to explore letters as pure form. In the resulting abstract, dynamically composed, often lushly layered prints, Stauffacher reclaims typography as a subject fit for the gallery wall.

Featuring 500 images (most of which have never appeared in a publication before) and essays by collaborators from the worlds of art and typography, Only on Saturday is the first trade book to document the work of one of the past century’s great typographers and printers―and offer the compelling backstory behind its creation.

These prized compositions — some patterned with letters in different sizes, typefaces, and inks; some layered with multiple presses of a single letter; others awash in solvent — morphed from exploratory pieces made during his off hours into formal studies of what was possible between the positive and negative spaces on a page. Toward the end of his life, Stauffacher expressed that these prints were “experimental up to a point”: a series of investigations that, once complete, yielded a deliberate statement of design. Today, they are in the permanent collections of many major museums. 

About Jack Stauffacher

Born in 1920 in San Mateo, California, Jack Stauffacher was a printer, typographer and fine-book publisher whose delicate yet graphic sensibility landed his work first in library rare book collections and then in museums such as SFMOMA and LACMA, who sought out his typographic prints. A printer of exceptional skill who began his apprenticeship at the age of 16, Stauffacher created books for his Greenwood Press off and on for eight decades. He taught typography at Carnegie Mellon and the San Francisco Art Institute, and served as typographic director at Stanford University Press. But it was his later wood type prints that ushered his career into the realm of fine art. Stauffacher created these innovative and elegant prints from 1966 until his death in 2017 at the age of 96. In recognition of his contributions to typography and design, he was awarded an AIGA Medal in 2004.

“The last of San Francisco’s traditional bohemians of the 1930s, Stauffacher became known as an articulate participant in the local literary and artistic avant-garde, as well as an inspiring mentor for young people and newcomers to the Bay Area. . . . [He was] the dean of San Francisco printers.” San Francisco Chronicle

“As typographers, designers, and printers, we translate words into written communication. Jack had done that all his life, making words visible. Then, after he had designed pretty much everything worth designing for a purpose, he started doing the opposite: he picked random wood letters from a case he had stumbled upon and made images with them. We aren’t supposed to read those letters as words but to go back to where they came from: pictures of those things. A large red B can be a sail, a blue A on its side is the sea, and the little black letters are birds or stones or ripples. . . . When I asked Jack about the prints, he said that those letters had become such intimate friends over time that he could behold them just as beautiful objects; they didn’t have to work for a living anymore.” Erik Spiekermann

“Jack was a very special person: easy to meet, hard to fathom, fun to be with, stimulating to listen to, effortless to learn from, and difficult to forget. . . . His cheerful and gentlemanly demeanor masked a determination to think and work at the highest level. His modern old-fashionedness found its way into everything he did and provided me with yet another model of how to live a fulfilling life in design.” Chris Pullman, Design Observer

“Jack Stauffacher . . . spent his long career in an intimate relationship with typographic form, content, and the craft of assembling letters — one at a time — to create beautiful and meaningful communications that will be relevant five-hundred years from now.” Terry Irwin



ISBN 978-0-9983180-4-2
Publisher Letterform Archive
Publication date June 2023
Size 14 by 10 inches
Printing 4 colors throughout
Edition Regular Hardcover
Table of Contents

9 Introduction – Chuck Byrneu003cBRu003eu003cBRu003eKnowing Jack Stauffacheru003cBRu003e16 Jack the Printer – John D. Berryu003cBRu003e24 The Studio at 300 Broadway – Pino Troguu003cBRu003e26 Making Phaedrus – Jim Farisu003cBRu003e28 The Reluctant Mentor – Dennis Letbetteru003cBRu003e30 Noon to One-Thirty – Kristina Bellu003cBRu003eu003cBRu003eAbout the Printsu003cBRu003e36 Only on Saturday – Chuck Byrneu003cBRu003e70 Conversation – Jack Stauffacher and Chuck Byrneu003cBRu003e74 Jack Stauffacher at SFMOMA – Jennifer Dunlop Fletcheru003cBRu003e76 Movements, Moments, Meditations – Staci Steinbergeru003cBRu003e78 Collecting Jack – Stephen Colesu003cBRu003eu003cBRu003eMonoprintsu003cBRu003e82 Finding Process – Chuck Byrneu003cBRu003e84 Carnegie Experiments: Shifting and Inkingu003cBRu003e98 Journal of Typographic Researchu003cBRu003e100 Red Squareu003cBRu003e102 On and Off Inking: a5 Series, Red 2 Seriesu003cBRu003e110 Four M Seriesu003cBRu003e112 Broken C Seriesu003cBRu003e116 Transparency: m5a Series, CE Series, YY Series, P Series, NQ Series, Broken Mu003cBRu003e138 Make-Ready SeriesrnrnPortfoliosu003cBRu003e146 Jack Stauffacher and Albert Camus – Chuck Bigelowu003cBRu003eThe Rebel Albert Camus Portfolio 1u003cBRu003e158 Book to Portfolio – Chuck ByrnernThe Wood Letters of the Greenwood Press Portfolio 2u003cBRu003e170 Prints of Wooden Letters – Matthew Carteru003cBRu003eWooden Letters from 300 Broadway Portfolio 3u003cBRu003e182 Poetic Truth – Dennis LetbetterrnThe Vico Collaboration Portfolio 4u003cBRu003e198 Poetic Speech and Visions – Nathan Garlandu003cBRu003eVico Duodecimo Axiom 65 Portfolio 5u003cBRu003eu003cBRu003eEditionsu003cBRu003e212 At Hand – Michael Tayloru003cBRu003e214 At Handu003cBRu003e216 Golden Gate Bridgeu003cBRu003e220 Tsunamiu003cBRu003e222 Phaedrusu003cBRu003eu003cBRu003e226 Notesu003cBRu003e230 Indexu003cBRu003e233 About the Contributorsu003cBRu003e234 About the Editor and Acknowledgementsu003cBRu003e235 Creditsu003cBRu003e236 Subscribersu003cBRu003e239 Colophon