Fake it to make it: umlaut edition

One of my favorite parts of letterpress printing is the limitations that the medium presents and how those limitations fuel my creativity when forced to work within them. A couple weeks ago I accepted a commission to print some custom letterpress stationery for a certain typewriter-collecting customer of mine. It was a simple order except for the inclusion of a necessary umlaut. This customer is Swiss and so brings with him a whole new alphabet of letter-attached punctuation that my type cases are not prepared to accommodate. But I was not deterred!

I mulled over the various ways I could manage to print an umlaut over the "u" in "Zurich," while still using my unyielding lead type. The first thing that became clear was that I would have to use a capital letter "U" rather than a lowercase because there would be an immoveable segment of lead between the top of the lowercase "u" and any line of type above it, which would be the nearest I could get any makeshift umlaut. So out of this necessity, I made a stylistic choice to capitalize that entire line of type. And it still looked elegant.


My first idea for faking the umlaut was to turn a colon on its side on top of the uppercase "U." But this ended up being a bit problematic: it was difficult to get the colon centered over the "U." And then filling the line around it with the correct length and width of leads? That was a headache. So then, the obvious occurred to me: two periods side-by-side. Then the spacing is absolutely simple, just more quads, and em and en spaces of the same font size fit there perfectly. And a few carefully placed copper spaces helped me to position my engineered-umlaut exactly centered over the "U." It turned out pretty well, I think.


But what about you? What do you think?

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

There are birds here

"Imago" on Hannibal season finale

Fall is for poets (but so is winter)