Classic Hand Composition

The Printing Museum Community
The Printing Museum Community
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Classic Hand Composition
Date: Saturday 29th February, 9.30am to 4.00pm
Venue: WCBA, Woolstore Building, 262 Thorndon Quay, Wellington
Tutor: Brendan O’Brien
Fee: $140. Members $125

For hundreds of years before machine composition appeared at the end of the 19th century, printing types were assembled in a composing stick by a compositor. Perhaps oddly, the primitiveness of handling type in this way is what most appeals to a younger generation overdosed on the digital and planographic. And, of course, composition is perfect for learning and understanding the rules and conventions of typography.

Course details - topics covered:
The parts of type - fonts - the lay of the case- composing sticks - composing rule - galleys - the point system - spacing material - ems and picas - quads and spaces - leading.
Making up a stick - setting type - spacing the line - justifying - emptying the stick - tying up a job - locking up - pulling a proof.
Rules - cutting leads - mitring - kerning. Optical centring, letter spacing etc.

This course is ideal for beginners who want to learn how to handset type from the beginning. Students will then have the opportunity to practise typesetting for the Wairau Catastrophe project and other projects.

Brendan O’Brien has been printing on hand presses since 1990; he established Fernbank Studios 16 years ago in Wellington. He has hand-printed and illustrated numerous books and was the Printer in Residence at the University of Otago in 2015.

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