Letter-press and type setting in El Salvador 4


Sadly google translate doesn’t work on video yet but I used it to get the following approximation of the description of this film.  If any Spanish speakers can add anything to this after watching then please write in  the comments or get in touch.

This is a short documentary, a byproduct of a study that was driven by the interest and because designers envision that office as the incipient steps of part of the design profession in our country. The first phase consisted of research to answer the research question: “How was the craft of typography?”.

Target was raised to make it through interviews with professionals who were in the office of typography between taking the investigation period (1950-1990).

With this material we reconstruct the past of the Salvadoran typography through the representation of information and typographical paraphernalia.

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  • Gracias!

  • My husband trained in letterpress as an apprentice.

  • There are some classes running at the St Bride Library next month: http://printworkshop.stbridefoundation.org/#summer_school

  • Some notes on this video kindly typed up by Sebastien Ardouin of the Painted Signs & Mosaics blog:

    I’ve just watched the video. It’s a bit long to translate everything and I don’t have much time right now, but it starts with the arrival of the first printing press in El Salvador in 1824 and the apparition of a new trade and skills: that of the typographer.

    Part is then about the position of typographers in society, above most workers thanks to their good general knowledge, their eye for details and catchy designs, but not at the top either. The job required perfect control of both types and printing.The first step was to compose the text, not always an easy task according to one of the interviewees. Then once the colour had been chosen, the text could be printed using imported technology, either from Germany or the US, with the Chandler printing press being the most popular one.

    From the moment the kid arrives, there’s a whole part about apprenticeship. The apprentice was usually the son, the son of relatives or friends. Until design classes appeared in El Salvador, typographers usually sticked to designs that had already appeared either in El Salvador or some imported magazines. The union and bosses did not encourage creativity, in case the public did not like any novelty. Thus while wedding annoucements were always printed using a more fanciful typeface, the Bodoni typeface was used for the vast majority of books and other documents. In any case many workshops couldn’t afford more than four or five sets of letters and had only limited equipment.

    Once the person was properly trained, either he stayed, or brought his trade to another part of the country where he could open a new printing press. Some also joined the big presses (mainly for newspapers), where more recent imported technology was available. Ultimately the latter brought the end of the typographer, even if some tried to survive.

    Thanks Sebastien (http://paintedsignsandmosaics.blogspot.com/)