LEAD, TIN & ANTIMONY
Greenboathouse Press, 2017
Designed and printed by Jason Dewinetz at Greenboathouse Press.
Published in an edition of 45 standard copies and 10 deluxe copies.
I absolutely love this book!
From way back when he sent me some images of trial page designs, I knew that this latest publication from Jason Dewinetz – a specimen of types held at his press – was going to be a standout edition. Now that the book is finally published and on my shelves I can safely say that it is, as Lead, Tin & Antimony is stunning (it has quite rightly just won an Alcuin Society Award for Excellence in Book Design in Canada – the twelfth such award given to Greenboathouse Press)!
Going back to earlier pre-publication glimpses of the book, I had seen a pdf of initial designs for some of the pages, the handsome prospectus, a selection of photographs of the printed work in progress, and even a couple of sample reject pages that I was sent in the post. You would think that I would have a pretty full grasp of the book, and I thought I had, but when it turned up it was a thing apart. It is a curious thing to think you know what something will be, only to have the roof of your expectations blown away with the finished item in hand. Dewinetz’s creativity and execution in the design of the book are very difficult to fault, as is his presswork, which improves with every publication. All the signature marks of Greenboathouse Press productions are evident here, with Dewinetz’s fresh and modern take on classical typography, his bespoke muted colour palette (a favourite element of mine), the use of the finest materials (the handmade text paper is gorgeous), and the handsome-yet-understated binding. Leafing through the pages, many of which are printed in three or more colours, is a joy that will have me returning to the volume time and again.
There are a great many presses that have printed type specimens; from simple leaflets with just a basic showing of types in their alphabet forms to more lavish productions that use individually designed pages of settings to showcase each fount using sample texts of the designer’s choosing. Lead, Tin & Antimony very much falls into this ‘more lavish’ category. Now, although not a negative issue, such books can quite often be, or at least seem to be, a random collection of typographic displays with no particular running theme. After all, if the book is interesting, engaging and attractive in its design and execution then it is a success, regardless of how possibly unconnected the contents may be. However, Lead, Tin & Antimony has a particular cohesiveness about it that makes it that much more impressive, successful and ‘whole’. Initially, the book appears to be a stunning collection of highly considered and crafted pages held together (very well) by the familial look and feel that comes from the earlier mentioned signature styles of the Press. This alone would successfully hold together even the most disparate selection of pieces. But, on properly reading through the different displays it becomes quite clear that there is a running theme: the book is pretty much a series of meditations, whether typographical, philosophical, light-hearted or other. Not only is Lead, Tin & Antimony visually cohesive, but thematically so, also. Far from being random, Dewinetz has brought together an excellent selection of texts with an impressive overall unity. With his inimitable personality clearly reflected across the pages through choice of texts and their treatment, Dewinetz has made the creation of a specimen book a fine art.
Anyone wishing to see why Jason Dewinetz’s publications earn so much praise (and multiple awards) need only to spend a short while looking through the pages of this volume to do so. And then you’ll want a copy!
Click here to see more of the edition on the Greenboathouse Press website.
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