Modular Wood Type: Splits

In collaboration with Tricia Treacy, We are investigating the design, fabrication (via a CNC router), and letterpress printing of modular typographic letterforms. As a research project, I am interested in designing new and original letterforms that are inspired by historical typographic sources. The result of this investigation manifests as artistic production.

This system is titled Splits and is inspired by a visit to Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum in Two Rivers, Wisconsin. While at Hamilton, we became fascinated with letterforms that were cut on two separate pieces of wood, (see below), because single pieces of wood were not readily available for very large letters. As a chromatic, modular typeface, each letter is constructed with two colors, each consisting of 4 squares, like so:

Here is a sample of the printed letterforms:

The system is composed of the following modules:

Here is the design of the alphabet:

To fabricate these blocks, we commission the production of 2.75″ x 2.75″ x 0.918″ (type high) blocks from side/long grain ash. Thanks to Dennis Beach for the amazingly accurate milling. These blocks were cut on a Tormach CNC router at the Digital Craft Research Lab at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Thanks to Frankie Flood for his assistance.

These are the “splits” we found at Hamilton that inspired this modular typeface, thanks to Jim Moran for showing us the deep archive of that amazing place.

This is an ongoing project, be sure to check out the other Modular Wood Type systems on this site.



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