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P98a – A Visit to Erik Spiekermann’s Berlin Studio

P98a – A Visit to Erik Spiekermann’s Berlin Studio

Visit to Erik Spiekermann Studio P98a, on November 19th 2018 p98a.berlin – typographic workshop Potsdamer Straße 98a 10785 Berlin In my quest to find practitioners of typography and letterpress today, I am visiting Erik Spiekermann’s Berlin-based artist studio, p98a Presses include an Original Heidelberger Tiegel, Korrex Frankfurt Kraft 

Vogue – Berlin Cityscapes Series – 10/10/2018

Vogue – Berlin Cityscapes Series – 10/10/2018

Berlin Cityscapes Series featured on Vogue Italia website  

Researching the City of Berlin – Typography – Actual Size Magazine

Researching the City of Berlin – Typography – Actual Size Magazine

As part of my typographical field research, I wandered the city of Berlin to seek out any surviving commercial signs, particularly on the facades of buildings, that bear witness to earlier times.

New Manchester-based print magazine Actual Size (https://www.actualsizemagazine.com) contacted me on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/heike_schneider_matzigkeit/) after spotting one of my Berlin typography photographs, the Hotel du Monde, to enquire whether I would like to contribute a feature to the first issue of the magazine.

Typography originating from various decades is commonly featured on Berlin architecture old and new – tracing back to the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution.

The most archaic text, typically signs related to former businesses or shops, is frequently witnessed today as ghostly and faded sitting sadly forgotten on crumbling facades.

Happily with the extensive renovation of many of Berlin’s older buildings various examples are being re-discovered and restored. Often vintage typography is seen as an asset to a building’s overall aesthetic. Indeed embracing a structure’s heritage can add greatly to its visual, cultural and commercial value.

Noticing these faded or restored signs, letters and inscriptions painted or fixed directly onto the front of buildings in Berlin, gives us a sense of times gone by, a sense of history, and a reminder that we are not the first to walk these streets…

www.actualsizemagazine.com

It’s especially lovely to see myself in the contributor’s section 😉

Tag der offenen Baustelle – Stadtschloss Berlin

Tag der offenen Baustelle – Stadtschloss Berlin

                                             

Letterpress Lead Printing for my prototype

Letterpress Lead Printing for my prototype

For my book cover prototype print, I choose a small lead font called 8pt Petit Post Versalien https://www.voltapress.com/typecatalog/   After choosing the font, I proceed to set up the 8 point size letters which takes a lot of concentration and care   Then, I start to 

Anhalter Bahnhof Berlin

Anhalter Bahnhof Berlin

The Remnants of Anhalter Bahnhof Berlin in 2019

 

 

Bookbinding Workshop Reflection

Bookbinding Workshop Reflection

During the bookbinding workshop I experimented with three different types of stitching and created a signature based book (chap book), a Japanese book block, and a coptic book.     Here is my final and favourite result, a coptic stitch book with black pages, white 

Boros Collection – Reichsbahnbunker Friedrichstrasse

Boros Collection – Reichsbahnbunker Friedrichstrasse

There are two very different aspects to a visit to the Boros Collection, however, at the end of the visit it almost feels that they are converging into a new whole. One element is the obvious history of the location and venue, the other is 

Letterpress Workshop – Documentation & Self-Reflection

Letterpress Workshop – Documentation & Self-Reflection

 

Lux Revolver Poster printed with wooden letters (and shadow)

Delving deeper into the history of letterpress and printing presses, I learn many interesting facts such as that historically movable type was in use in China and Korea for centuries before Gutenberg affected change in Europe during the 15th Century. The impressive illuminated manuscripts hand drawn by the monks up to the 14th Century, show the impressive ingenuity to use what methods and tools were available to people at their time.

This realisation leaves me feeling inspired to research further into my own contemporaries today.

After looking into Berlin practitioners and letterpress studios, I endeavour to go and visit the studio of Erik Spiekermann, the well-known German designer and typographer, called 98a at Kurfuerstenstrasse in Berlin.

Furthermore, on my list of places to visit is also the letterpress printing place named Die Lettertypen in Berlin Adlershof, who feature linotype presses as well as an original Heidelberg Cylinder printing press.

Last but not least I will plan a visit to the Buchstabenmuseum, the world’s only typography museum, under the S-Bahn station Bellevue. The museum is currently closed, yet open for special appointments, and when I contact Barbara Dechant, the owner of Buchstabenmuseum, she very kindly offers her help.

 

Buchstabenmuseum Berlin

 

Reflection of the Letterpress Workshop at Volta Press:

I look through the book of available fonts at Volta Press studio, where today’s workshop is being held. First of all, I pick out a chunky looking wooden letter with the name 12 cicero Erbar. Cicero is a measurement system that was being used in typography from the 15th Century, mostly in Continental Europe, from France to Italy.

 

12 cicero Erbar – Copyright Volta Press

 

Next, I decide on the text to print, and choose the name of my company, Lux Revolver.

Then the type needs to be set.

 

Next, it is time to lock the type into place.

 

 

Then the linotype press needs to be set up.

 

Locking the paper into place.

 

I decide that the most elegant print will be black ink on white paper.

After inking up the machine, I’m ready to go!

 

I love the experimental side to letterpress printing – ie creating a shadow, printing double or triple text, upside down, back to front etc.

 

I also love the imprint it can leave on paper, and how you can play with more or less imprint on a page.

 

After the first print run, it’s time to change the text to run over one long line, instead of two lines:

 

 

 

 

 

Reflecting on the day, I truly relished the ‘analog process of letterprinting’: arranging the letters, setting up the machine, deciding on the colour of the ink, mixing it, making it warm, inking the machine, choosing the paper and size, carefully adjusting the paper into the correct position, making sure the machine is in the right mode, then rolling it over the letters at not too fast and not too slow a speed – is a great experience! Focus on the task at hand, no distractions!

Berliner Stadtbibliothek – ‘Berlin Reflections – Antlitz Berlin’

Berliner Stadtbibliothek – ‘Berlin Reflections – Antlitz Berlin’

Exciting to walk past the Berliner Stadtbibliothek (Zentral- und Landesbibliothek Berlin) on Breite Strasse in Berlin Mitte today, in the knowledge that they are keeping a copy of my first book ‘Berlin Reflections – Antlitz Berlin’ in their archive.