I was in San Francisco in early June, and the Grabhorn Institute invited me to give a short talk in their gallery about type history and the Tiny Type Museum & Time Capsule. The institute preserves the practical history of type casting and fine-art printing by perpetuating it, fulfilling orders from letterpress printers and producing new books, while running an apprenticeship program, regular tours, and inviting speakers (like me!).
The Tiny Type Museum & Time Capsule crowdfunding campaign funded magnificently—thank you to everyone who backed the campaign and the larger number of people who provided moral support and design suggestions!
I’m now taking direct pre-orders for elements of the project. Most museum are now spoken for (about two-thirds of the edition of 100 I’m making), but you still have time to order one, as well as pre-ordering separately the book I’m writing for it, Six Centuries of Type & Printing, which will be typeset in Monotype hot metal and printed by letterpress. The museum and book are in preparation for delivery in January 2020.
Here’s where you can order the various components:
The museum, paid as 10 installments: a number of people asked about paying over time, so I was able to add this pre-order option
The letterpress edition of the book (included with museum)
The ebook edition of the book (included with museum)
A Linotype slug with your custom text (included with museum)
Update: The project was wildly successful, and I’ll be making elements of it available for separate order soon at tinytypemuseum.com.
My latest typographic project is now live: I’m raising funds to build up to 100 tiny type museums and time capsules! These little museums will comprise actual historical and modern type artifacts, replicas, and printing samples—like a real museum—and the case and its components will be designed to last for centuries—or longer—like a real time capsule.
The cost isn’t low, but I tried to balance the authenticity and lifespan of the project, to give it substance and longevity, with the budget. I hope you’ll take a look at the main reward of the museum, and other campaign items, which include a book and a Linotype “slug” of type.
Trying to understand Slack? Or want to step up your mastery to be more efficient and get more out of it? I have a new book just for you! Take Control of Slack is the start-to-finish guide for Slack users you wish you had when you first fired the app up. The book covers macOS, Windows, iOS, Android, and the Web app.
I wrote this for three groups of people:
The new user: If you’re interested in or tempted by Slack but have never used it, this book will help you get up to speed quickly.
The experienced user: If you use Slack already and want to get more out of it, this book will guide you to more efficient and more sophisticated use and control.
The reluctant user: If Slack is a requirement for your workplace, nonprofit group, or other organization, this book will help you overcome frustration and confusion.
You can read more about the book and download an excerpt at the Take Control Books site.
My appearances on actual radio (as opposed to podcasts) goes in spates. After my Smithsonian magazine article appeared about the entry of 1923 in the U.S. into the public domain, I was asked to be on several shows.
NPR’s All Things Considered emailed me for a story, but I missed the email! They riffed off my article and spoke with Jennifer Jenkins, the director of the Center for the Study of the Public Domain at Duke Law School, my stalwart source for all things public domain, and produced a very nice brief take. (A few days later NPR’s Weekend Edition did a longer and fun interview with Jenkins and her husband, James Boyle, also a copyright and public domain expert.)
WNYC interviewed me for a brief segment on the public domain that ran on January 4.
Wisconsin Public Radio had me on for a live interview on January 7 in which I was able to get a little more deeply into issues. (An issue raised in that interview: Recorded music remains under a separate copyright regime; 1922 and earlier recorded music expires from protection Jan. 1, 2022; 1923 expires Jan. 1, 2024; and then annual regular expirations happen more or less thereafter, just as with published work of all kinds. I left a comment to explain that for listeners baffled by my aside about “Yes! We Have No Bananas.”)
On Jan. 9, I recorded a long interview with WGN in Chicago for a segment aired Jan. 13 on the same topic.
Finally, I spoke recently with my friend Anze at Slovenia’s national radio network—but not about the public domain! We talked about Facebook’s devaluation of the birthday. I’ll be dubbed into Slovenian! (Updated: Here’s the link.)
I have an article in the January 2019 issue of Smithsonian magazine about the potential cultural impact of the expiration of copyright on nearly everything published in the U.S. in 1923. With few exceptions, everything that had proper initial notice and filed for copyright renewal from that year in 1951 (renewal was once required) will enter the public domain on January 1. It’s exciting, as it starts a 54-year cycle of annual releases of each year from 95 years prior into the public domain.
“Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” is a prominent bit of literature from 1923. Robert Frost’s poems have had zealous copyright enforcement. It even featured in a landmark Supreme Court case, Eldred v. Ashcroft, in which the Supreme Court decided that the “limited terms” of exclusive ownership defined in the Constitution meant any duration that Congress picked.
In honor of “Stopping by Woods” upcoming entry into the public domain, I wrote this bit of doggerel. (A fancy typeset version appears below.)
STOPPING BY WORDS ON A NEW YEAR’S EVENING
Whose words these are it’s clear to see,
He wrote them back in ’twenty-three.
His reps have never stopped the fight
To limit use by copyright.
James Madison would think it queer
That rights this long could stay so dear,
But courts have let extensions be
Despite the case of Eldred v.
The house of publication shakes
Off questions that renewal breaks
In ’fifty-one, a form not sent—
No one tried to show dissent.*
The words are lovely, free and clear,
With oceans more that will appear.
And years to go before release,
And years to go before release.
*In an example of the kind of complexities that surround copyright, the poem first appeared in The New Republic, and may have not had proper renewal in 1951. It’s possible it’s been properly in the public domain for 67 years.
I somehow managed to fail to post here that the first episode in the new series of The New Disruptors podcast came out! Last month! I am very good at self-promotion!
That was episode #100 (I jumped up a few to reset). Episode #101 is coming soon plus a mini-episode. I’ll be creating 12 new full episodes between August 2018 and July 2019, but I also plan some shorter ones in which I ask a creator about their latest project.
You can help support the creation of more episodes and keeping the show running past July 2019 by becoming a monthly or one-time sponsor. Benefits include a private discussion forum, nifty enamel pins, and thanks on the air!
My dear friend Lucy Bellwood passed through town last weekend, and stayed with my family as the start of her book tour for 100 Demon Dialogues, a set of cartoons in which she engages with her inner critic, who appears in the form of a smack-talking demon. She’s a talented illustrator and writer, and the book is full of tension and embrace: she doesn’t cast her demon out, but helps him understand her better. You can order a copy of the book via her site or ask your local bookstore to carry it. (You can also order a plush version of the demon, as I did.)
She asked me to have a conversation about creativity and our latest projects in front of a live audience at Brick & Mortar Books in Redmond. (Which, by the way, I highly recommend: the store opened last year, has great selections, and a terrific proprietor and staff.) I recorded our non-demonic dialogue, and produced a special episode of The New Disruptors podcast, which I retired in 2014. (You can subscribe via a podcast app to the feed.)
I started a crowdfunding campaign to bring back The New Disruptors for a new season of at least 12 episodes, and I’m halfway through the fundraising period—and over 55% of the way to the goal. If you’d like to hear more new episodes, please back the campaign. At $25 and above, you get insider rewards; at $100, your name will be read on the air and you’ll get an exclusive enamel pin!
I’ve sold out of the first printing of London Kerning, and I’m accepting pre-orders for a reprint edition…
March 21 update: I hit the target! The second printing will be shipping around April 10. Place an order for your copy right now!
You can also purchase and immediately download the ebook edition.
If you recall that last November, I went to London for a week and researched the heck out of 19th and 20th century printing history, visited archives and museums, and met with a bunch of people to write a book? The ebook version of London Kerning: Typographic Perambulations around a City That Remembers is now out! You can purchase a copy for $5. It’s 76 pages long and heavily illustrated with photographs I took along the way.
The print edition started shipping in early March, and almost immediately sold out, but you can order copies from a second printing that ships in early April 2018. Order the print book here.
And see two sample page spreads from the book below.