Primary Tools & Materials:

Additional Tools & Materials: inkjet printer, tracing paper, scissors, light table, solar paper, glass pane, halogen lightbulbs

This "photography" letter is inspired by Herb Lubalin, who was a major contributor to the success of phototypesetting. I decided in this study to honor not only the phototypesetting method Lubalin helped advance, but the meticulous hand lettering work that it replaced: painting individual letters with black and white paint. 

I began with four digital fonts; Phosphate Inline, Bodoni 72 Bold, Rosewood, and Freakshow. I printed them out at equal size, then experimented with layering them on my light table. I was hoping that by exposing solar paper to painted letters on tracing paper, I could achieve a range of exposure on the paper - more than just two colors. I carefully painted each letter onto tracing paper with black paint. This was the third time solar paper was used in my research, but this time I attempted to expose it with my LED light table rather than outside in the sun. I found that it's possible, but it takes a long time. The first time I tried it, I exposed the paper for ten minutes - twice the time it would take in bright sunlight. The letter barely registered. Then I exposed it for thirty minutes and the letter started to emerge. The last LED exposure was for a full hour, and those results were similar to what I could get in sunlight. 

The second goal - to layer two letterforms to achieve multiple exposures - I wanted to do in the sunlight. However, the weather didn't cooperate, and after half an hour in overcast light, I finally left the prints under the halogen lights over my kitchen stove. The results do show overlap - you can only see the inline of Phosphate where Bodoni is not covering it up, but I had hoped to see a bit of Bodoni's shape, too. I think the answer may be using lighter colors than black, and letterforms completely cut out from the paper, rather than an intact sheet. 

I enjoyed experimenting with this version of phototypesetting. The layered letters were reminiscent of Lubalin's pioneering work in demonstrating the new capabilities of phototype in comparison to metal type.