Ahoy! Brian Singer’s jolly printing party!

[Alyson Kuhn] I love the book about Brian Singer’s 1000 Journals Project. And one of my very favorite spreads (from Journal 354, written by Captain Long John Silver) begins: “My crew and I were headed down the Mississippi River on a pirate ship that we cleverly disguised as a river barge, on our way out to sea.” The photo above does not show a pair of pirates cutting capers in the ship’s hold. It shows Brian Singer, Captain of the 1000 Journals Project (left), and First Matey Tom Ingalls getting ready to crank out a yeoman invitation at Peter Koch Printers in Berkeley, Calif.

Erin Fong of Peter Koch Printers mixes the dark gray ink.

Ingalls, vice president of the Colophon Club (a thriving society — even sans website — of printers and other book lovers), had invited Singer to speak on a topic of Singer’s choice at the club’s April 2011 dinner meeting. Singer accepted, designed an invitation — featuring truncated type, a randomly chosen tip-on and red stitching — and showed up to help print it at the letterpress shop of Peter Koch, the club’s former president and current printer of record.

Peter Koch relinquished a rare ream of fine vintage Strathmore Writing Cover to the cause.

Singer’s design easily cleared the process-intensive bar he’d set for himself a couple of years ago when he created an announcement for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art exhibition honoring the 1000 Journals Project. Those invitations (shown below) were offset printed on the back, blind debossed, tipped onto, screen printed on the front, stitched, and hand-checked on the back to credit the artist of the tip-on. The print run was much larger, too. It had been 6000 pieces; the Colophon Club invitation was a suitably limited edition.

The Colophon Club invitation is below. Shall we subject ourselves to speculation as to whether Singer had yet to decide on the topic of his talk when he designed the invitation? Was he toying with the audience? Encouraging a write-in campaign?

Each invitation is unique: All of the tip-ons, randomly cut from old magazines, are different.

Eagle-eyed Koch needs no loupe or spyglass to make sure the first pass is ship-shape.

Ingalls, a serious golfer, tees off and aces the large solid with a sure hand.

Robin Ann McIntosh, grad student at CCA and book arts enthusiast, deftly wields her gluestick and hoists a handsome tip-on.

Klaus Rötzscher at Pettingell Book Bindery stitched up a storm.

Singer titled his presentation to the Colophon Club “Engage Through Inspiration,” also the motto of his design studio, Altitude. This is, not surprisingly, exactly what his invitation accomplished. I attended the evening, and I stoop (or maybe bow) to alliteration: Singer was eloquently engaging and intrigingly inspiring. I hope many audiences will have the opportunity to see this prize-worthy presentation.

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Comments (1)

  1. Posted by kim on 04.27.11 at 11:39 am

    I had to google “cutting capers” because I had visions of Tom and Brian picking those little green things off bushes to make a gourmet pirate dinner. So, no, that photo does not depict two pirates devising a diabolical plot, or merrily frolicing about, but it sure does appear that Brian is busting a sick rhyme and Tom is ready to throw in some serious beat box action. Word.

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