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Slow Print™

Combining exquisite typography, design, western and oriental hand-made papers for unique and unmistakable stationery, invitations, calling cards and short-run publishing for individual, corporate and institutional clients worldwide.


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Slowprint: Letterpress, Type and Culture

August 2008
Vol I Number 1
An occasional journal of typography, fine printing, letterform and culture.


In this edition

20th Anniversary of Alphabets Fonts

 Typomania: Small Caps, Big Caps

   Review: The Elements of Typographic Style

 Exquisite Greeting Cards





Notes & news
We're famous in Dubuque! Thanks to Mike Ironside of dubuque365. com for this wonderful article!




Next Month
We answer your questions about letterpress, typography, type design, calligraphy...


really anything to do with letters!
Also, what's with that kerning?


Please write to us!


We love to get typographic questions!

We also love to print on our 10x15 "Original" Heidelberg "Windmill" press - from 100 to 50,000 impressions, one, two, three or more colors, embossing and scoring available.




Contact Peter Fraterdeus for info on typography and letterpress services!


Woodtype Monoprint

Welcome to SlowPrint!
What's this? Another newsletter? SlowPrint is our occasional journal of typography, fine printing and culture. It's also our philosophy; that careful preparation and the finest ingredients make the best tasting letterpress printing!
Welcome to new friends and old! If you're receiving this, you've either subscribed to SlowPrint, or requested info from,,, parlortricks,  or one of our other related web services.
The list is managed by, and it's really easy to unsubscribe if you don't want to see it again! (see the links at the bottom!)

Letterpress invitation on Hahnemuhle Copperplate 300gsm

Exquisite Letterpress Offers
We're really happy to announce a new partnership with Twinrocker Paper Mill, America's premier hand-made paper producer (Brookston, Indiana). Twinrocker can produce custom paper, envelopes, shapes and colors to order for a truly unique and unforgettable invitation.

  Our standard stock is Crane's special letterpress Lettra, but that's just the beginning! Please take a look at our samples online, or order the Exquisite Paper Sampler.

  Our most popular invitation stock is Copperplate Etching from Hahnemuhle of Germany. This mill has been producing fine art papers for nearly 500 years! The Bugra line of 'laid' colors makes gorgeous and distinctive stationery for either business or personal use.
  Mention this newsletter and we'll give you up to 20% off the list price for printing of your invitation or stationery order*

*(Please see offer details on our website!)














Alphabets Fonts 20th Anniversary Special!

Alphabets Fonts was one of the very first all digital font foundries. While we've been digging in other fields for a few years, we're pleased to be back with a special offer in celebration of twenty years in type!


For a limited time, get Peter Fraterdeus' Prospera and Quanta, together again, now updated in OpenType format for only $47.95 for the bundle... over 66% off the regular price for these two professional typefaces.  See details and samples at SlowPrint offers.


And with every order, we'll include the six Alphabets Wood Type Fonts as a special gift. Wood type holds a particular fascination for us, the anonymous 19th century designers producing letterforms with striking strength and power. The 'negative space' can create wonderful pattern and dynamic abstraction of form.


Watch next month* for the OpenType release of Marlowe, our revival of the 17th C Fell Types, and our version of Rudolf Koch's Antiqua.

*This release schedule presumes an event-free move of the Dubuque pressroom at the end of August. Only across the street, but, well, any time you move a roomful of letterpresses, there's nothing trivial about it

Available as OpenType for OS X and Windows.

Order via PayPal for immediate download.

Prospera, Quanta and Marlowe are trademarks of Alphabets / Semiotx Inc.

Small Caps usage

Typomania : The Perfectionist's Dilemma
   At Exquisite Letterpress, we often work with our client's designs, taken from digital files (PDF is great!). This column will deal with some of the issues which seem to regularly pop up. We're happy to print anything you send us, but we also offer the benefit of our twenty-plus years in typographic practice to make that type sing! Small Caps, Big Caps
   Digital typography can be better than that of any other era in history... Digital tools allow us to make subtle adjustments that are impossible in metal, and unlikely in photo-comp. But they also make it easy to produce remarkably bad results!
  Typographically, we generally recommend that small caps be used without large caps. Also use old-style figures with small-caps. Figure "A" shows how small caps were originally used, as vertical capitals with slanted italic lower-case.
  Historically, you find BIG and small caps used together occasionally on title pages, even so, they would have been from different body sizes. The desktop publishing phenomenon, however, sort of follows a practice where 19th and 20th century stationers would set two sizes of Engravers Roman (or similar) in the same line.   
   The Engravers Romans were designed specifically for this purpose, and the settings are often very elegant and effective. However, setting full and small caps together from a typical roman font is not at all the same! (fig B) Make the small-caps a point or two larger if desired, and add some additional letterspacing. (fig C)

   Our experience is that the small-caps by themselves are more elegant, as well as easier to read.


Very Quick Reviews

The Elements of Typographic Style by Robert Bringhurst 1992 (3rd Edition 2006, Hartley & Marks, ISBN 0-88179-033-8)

Page from The Elements of Typographic Style

   Robert Bringhurst has written a number of books, gathering praise and honor for both his poetry and his prose. However, amongst typographers and designers, he is known for his remarkable The Elements of Typographic Style (3rd edition 2005) which has set the bar for professional practice.

  With a poet's ear and eye for language, training in architecture and in physics, Bringhurst lays out a canon of eminently elegant and reasoned laws, principles and suggestions for the practicing typographer. I often note that anyone with a word processor is a practicing typographer, and therefore, ETS should really be bundled with every computer sold.
  While the content is rich with specialized typographic terminology, it will not be unfamiliar in the least to anyone who can find the Font menu on their computer screen. Bringhurst's clear style and numerous well-designed examples (as one would expect!) make the principles immediately clear and accessible to all.  


From The Elements of Typographic Style (Section 6.3) --

Typography, like other arts, preys on its own past. It can do so with the callousness of a grave robber, or with the piety of unquestioning ancestor worship. It can also do so in thoughtful, enlightened and deeply creative ways.
Roman type has been with us for more that five centuries. Its root components -- the roman upper and lower case, basic analphabetic symbols, and the arabic numerals -- have been with us for much longer yet. There are typographers who resolutely avoid using any typeface designed in an earlier era but even they must learn something of how the older letterforms functioned, because the ancient forms are living in the new. Typographers who willingly use the old faces, and who wish to use them intelligently, need to know all the can learn about the heritage they enjoy.
Exquisite Greeting Cards
Hieroglyphica Series I - Pegasus

   We're pleased to announce our new series of letterpress greeting cards, available at

   Find out more about our cards, current and forthcoming at Most of the cards are printed in one or two colors on Crane's Lettra, the first commercial letterpress paper to be produced in decades!

   The photo here shows Pegasus, the first in our series of images revived from the 1567 copy of Hieroglyphica. This amazing book, printed in Basel, has hundreds of fascinating original woodcuts with topics from the mythological and astrological to geometry and archeology. We built on the original black-line image, adding two spot color plates to make this limited edition card.



















Recent editions are from the Accentuate the Positive series. These designs in two and three colors on Lettra or German Copperplate (Hahnemuhle) 300gsm, highlight the idea of "negative space", the space around, between and inside the letterforms. By defining these 'complementary' shapes, the letters themselves jump forward. In fact due to the letterpress impression, the 'positive' space is effectively raised above the backgrounds!


Semiotx, Inc.
PO Box 248, Galena, IL 61036 USA
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Exquisite Expectations

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We've always said it's better to be sorry for what you did than for what you didn't!

'Exquisite' is a word which raises expectations.

HIGH expectations!

We're aiming as high as possible!

After many years in the soulless realms of cybercommerce and web development, we're returning to our roots. The roots of typography are in the beautiful, indeed EXQUISITE, printed books of the late 15th and early 16th century. We draw from the best of the centuries old tradition, combining authentic materials with the magic and precision of digital typography.

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