The veritable British typography firm Monotype has dreamt up the ultimate showcase for the font fiends in all of us. 'Pencil to Pixel' is a comprehensive exhibition offering typography fanatics a chance to get up close to rare implements, artworks and artifacts relating to type history, charting the development of typography up to its present technology-infused state.
'In an era where most people interact with type as a digital experience, Monotype's collection of artifacts relating to type history - examples of precision drafting, metal and film masters, photographs and tools - provide a chance for visitors to explore the very physical history of the typefaces they already know,' explained Dan Rhatigan, Monotype's UK Type Director.
The exhibition also offers an opportunity to see the hand of the author. Says Monotype's James Fooks-Bale: 'A lot of designers are familiar with the "tick-down" menu in their applications but aren't familiar with the fact that it originally came from someone's hand.'
With a history dating back to 1897, Monotype is certainly in a position to hold typographic court. The exhibition, which opens in New York this week, is actually a reprise of a first installment that was staged in London last November. The American leg will feature examples with special relevance to the United States, such as a copy of the 1931 Linotype magazine 'Typographic Sanity,' published in Brooklyn, as well as original Monotype Centaur typeface drawings by American typographer and type designer Bruce Rogers.
Other artifacts on show, which have previously never been seen, include phototype masters for Haas Unica and Neue Helvetica fonts, the original drawings Eric Gill made for Joana and an impeccably maintained manuscript showing the exact Firmin Didot typefaces that inspired Adrian Frutiger's Linotype Didot.