Arranging borders

I acquired a large collection of lead type,cuts and designs and am now getting around to looking at the borders closely (photos below).

I have several border sets still in their packages and wondering if there is a standard way to arrange them as set type? I have looked at the images on the “frames and borders” section and only one looks somewhat similar to what I have. (This one here, I might have? http://www.briarpress.org/4068)

Do I just play around and hope for the best or is there a method? Any vintage guides or how-tos out there that would help me out?

Thanks,
Emily

image: border1.JPG

border1.JPG

image: border2.JPG

border2.JPG

image: border3.JPG

border3.JPG

image: border4.JPG

border4.JPG

Log in to reply   16 replies so far

I keep my cuts and borders on galleys tucked in a rack, I’ve seen them in type cases also.

I had a full-size double-cap case that was full of piece borders like these, stood on end in the boxes so they were easily visible, and the case would have fit into a standard open frame type stand, or better yet sit on the slanting top. With about 55 compartments on each side of the central divider, there was lots of room for borders of many different designs. The only trouble was that when full the case weighed a LOT! But if you can find such a case it’s a very handy solution.

Bob

Thanks Dick and Bob, but I’m looking more for how to use the designs, not how to store them. If that makes sense? I may be just missing the obvious here…

Thanks!
Emily

Borders, accents, flourishes. Anything like that. You can set them solid to produce background patterns. You can set them running to produce borders or dividers. You can use them individually as accent marks or printers’ dingbats. The whole point of founts like these is that they allow you to be creative. Play with them and see what patterns you can create. And if you decide you don’t want ‘em, I’ll be happy to take all of them off your hands! :-)

Michael Hurley
Titivilus Press
Memphis, TN

You might also try to find information about the experiments Bruce Rogers did creating designs using standard ornaments and piece border elements. For example, interesting design can be made by combining corner pieces from either your border 4 or your border 2 packets, or mixing pieces from different sets to create pleasing designs. Play around with them just looking at the patterns, or proofing combinations if you have a way to do that. I forget the name Rogers had for his operation, something like the Sore Thumb Press, because he would ink up his thumb and use it to ink a piece of border to stamp it on paper in patterns. Have some fun with it!

Bob

Look at this link, starting at page 646:

https://archive.org/details/monotypespecimen00lansrich

The story of Bruce Rogers and his layout method is while working at William Rudge he kept a small case of borders with which he would arrange and experiment, inking the type face with his finger, and impressing it with his thumb as directions to the compositors. At one point (maybe more) he signed the proof and added ‘at The Sign of the Sore Thumb’ accompanied by a drawing of a printer’s fist with a bandage. Anyone who has tried to print this way will readily understand and sympathize with his pain. Here is a link that shows some of his designs:

http://www.hammercreek.org/johns-bruce-rogers-scrapbook/

Have fun experimenting, there are so many borders and so many combinations. For many printers it’s an endless source of entertainment (next to aged whiskey). As for storage, I use small jewelry boxes to store borders and ornaments in open cases, but you could store them on shelves this way as well. See attached photo:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/3446093959

Paul

Join the Flickr ‘Letterpress forme’ group, you will see a number of examples.

Thank you so much for the information! I am really excited about playing with these borders now!!

Emily

If you type “Monotype arabesques” into Google images you’ll see images of both the individual single unit borders, as well as some examples of the diversity of patterns that can be assembled from them, both frame borders, and blocks of decoration.

These may provide some inspiration for patterns to try out.

If you type “Monotype arabesques” into Google images you’ll see images of both the individual single unit borders, as well as some examples of the diversity of patterns that can be assembled from them, both frame borders, and blocks of decoration.

These may provide some inspiration for patterns to try out.

Taking an idea from The Free Presse and typing in Monotype borders into Google images brings up opthers including multicolor designs.

Not great video quality, but try full-screen:

http://vimeo.com/70893933

Bob Trogman scanned When a Printer Plays and made a CD of the entire book, paginated such that it can be printed as a sort of facsimile. I don’t know if the CD is still available.

Barbara

I have a copy of Richard Hoffman’s When a Printer Plays and it truly is WONDERFUL. I was not at all into buying expensive books 30+ years ago, but once I saw it I knew I just HAD to have it. I never regretted buying that book.

Rick

Unfortunately on the page that is titled Bruce Rogers there is only one Bruce rogers ornament. The rest were designed by Will Bradley.

Paul

And Emily, this is how they did it in the 18th century (here’s a detail).

Barbara

Usually the specimen book of the foundry that cast the ornaments has pages showing examples of how they can be used. This is true for Monotype as well as foundry type. If you know the source of your ornaments, do a Google search for online specimen books published by that source.
-Steve