Linotype: The Film
It's time for another Typography film. It seems like every 1 to 1.5 years after "Helvetica" there's another one, albeit on a smaller scale and, sadly, never reaching the same level of popularity and notoriety. Well, here's to hoping that this latest one, "Linotype," will come as close to educating the world about a piece of important technology now going extinct as "Helvetica" has educated the world about the most ubiquitous of fonts.
A film by Douglas Wilson, a graphic designer with a passion for typography and letterpress printing, "Linotype" outlines the history of the machine and current attempts to keep it alive. Instead of making the printer set each letter one at a time in rows, the linotype machine revolutionized printmaking when it arrived on the scene in 1886 by allowing the printer to simply type as fast as he or she could on a keyboard, and the complex machine would set the type for them. Printing was, in theory, almost as fast as typing in a word processor program and printing out copies on your laser printer would be today. New technology came along in the 1960's, and so the linotype machines were left unloved or destroyed. Watch the video above to help whet your appetite on the subject.
At first, the film's creators needed help. A few weeks ago they set up a site and were asking for donations, and the good news is they have exceeded their goal for donations. "Linotype" is scheduled to be completed in Fall 2011. Godspeed, and save the linotype machines.