About this project
Help bring 'Lustig Elements' to life!
Contribute to the history of graphic design with a project that is 75+ years in the making.
This project is a celebration of Elaine Lustig Cohen and her generosity of spirit.
In the fall of 2010, AIGA Medalist Elaine Lustig Cohen (b. 1927) agreed to work with me to revive a font originally designed in the 1930s by AIGA Medalist Alvin Lustig (1915-1955).
Like many designers, I have been and continue to be inspired by the design and typography work of Alvin Lustig and Elaine Lustig Cohen. Based initially on reference material in "Born Modern; The Life and Design of Alvin Lustig" (Chronicle Books, 2010), co-written by Steve Heller and Elaine Lustig Cohen, I set out to revive a font originally called "Euclid." Elaine and I have been periodically working together for 5+ years to complete the new version of the font, now called "Lustig Elements."
THREE FUNDING GOALS:
1) Wood Type
Cut new wood type at Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum (Two Rivers, WI - woodtype.org) for use in letterpress printing.
2) Digital Fonts
Produce new Lustig Elements digital fonts with P22 Type Foundry - Lustig Elements Regular, Lustig Elements Small Caps, and Lustig Elements Inline.
3) Film (*See add'l info. below)
Produce a short, 5- to 10-minute film about Lustig Elements, featuring Elaine Lustig Cohen; under the direction of and with contributions from Ryan Heffernan and Pammi Simone.
If the Kickstarter effort is successful, the funding will be used for the following:
- Create a full set of patterns from which the wood type will be cut
- Cutting, trimming, and finishing two 5A sets of Lustig Elements 2" wood type at Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum
- Production of digital fonts with P22 Type Foundry
- Film production: photography, filming, editing, music, travel, etc.
Additionally, if the Kickstarter effort is successful, a companion web site will be launched - lustigelements.com
**All prints will be shipped in 4" diameter tubes.**
**International shipping is available - please note the additional shipping charges in each Reward's description.**
SPECIMEN SHEETS - PORTRAIT
The original uppercase letterforms printed with the 2" wood type cut at Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum. Own a piece of typographic history with a full set of printed Lustig Elements font specimens. Printed via letterpress on 11"x14" 110# Cover Fluorescent White Crane's Lettra® at a size that's ready for a standard-size mat/frame.
SPECIMEN SHEETS - PORTRAIT / Signed Limited Edition
The same specimen sheet as described above signed by Elaine Lustig Cohen. An incredibly unique opportunity. Limited to 150 rewards.
SPECIMEN SHEETS - WIDE
A full set of printed Lustig Elements font specimens. Printed via letterpress on 20"x5" 110# Cover Fluorescent White Crane's Lettra®. Please note: this will be printed via a photopolymer plate - not the wood type that will be cut at Hamilton.
NOTEBOOKS WITH LUSTIG ELEMENTS GRID*
Make your own Lustig Elements letterforms! Or, simply use for taking notes and/or sketching.
Alvin Lustig's personal interest in and commitment to printing via letterpress is key to the decision to print the notebook covers via letterpress.
The top portion of the 32 interior pages of each notebook will include the same 2.75" high geometric grid used to design Lustig Elements. The bottom portion of each page includes references to the four geometric shapes used to compose the letterforms and open space to take notes. 3.5" x 5.5" custom notebooks with covers printed via letterpress using Neenah Environment® and Neenah Astrobrights® paper stocks.
*Interior pages are planned to be printed on Neenah Environment® paper stock via offset printing and the grid layout will be printed light enough that it will not be disruptive to using the notebooks for regular note taking and/or sketching.
The colors of the notebooks are historical references to Alvin Lustig's and Allison McNay's 'Media, A Design and Production Center' promotional items from the early 1940s.
PRINTS - BIG LETTERS
Add some Lustig Elements typographic styling to your work space, apartment, or home. Big, 8" high letters printed via letterpress (using photopolymer plates) in black on 11"x14" 110# Cover Fluorescent White Crane's Lettra® at a size that's ready for a standard-size mat/frame.
Alphabet options include 'ABC' and 'XYZ' prints. 'LAX' and 'NYC' pay tribute to the Lustigs' time in each great city.
DIGITAL FONT(S) (P22 Type Foundry)
There are three Lustig Elements fonts in development:
- Lustig Elements Regular
- Lustig Elements Small Caps
- Lustig Elements Inline
An opportunity to link yourself to the film that will capture the story of Lustig Elements through the voice of Elaine Lustig Cohen. A limited number of individuals' names (10) to be included in the film credits and on the web site.
The film is sincerely a passion project - there are no firm plans in place at this point for how/where the film may be distributed. However, everyone who supports this Kickstarter project will be among the first to be informed of the film's progress and how/when/where it may be viewed once it's completed.
VERY RARE OPPORTUNITY to own a piece of typographic history - only 10 pieces available. It's a premium reward given its rarity. We'll cut ten Lustig Elements ampersands and offer them as rewards in combination with a signed specimen sheet.
A full, behind-the-scenes view of what was involved in the design and making of Lustig Elements. From the first visit to Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum (which has since been razed) to the research and design processes employed, a full overview will be shared with your AIGA group, college program, or creative team.
I'll also bring a set of Lustig Elements wood type so that we can put ink to paper and make original prints with the finished font.
Background - Lustig Elements
AIGA Medalist Alvin Lustig led a very productive yet very brief life (1915-1955). As his health declined, his wife, Elaine Lustig (Cohen), began taking the lead on design projects in Alvin's studio. After Alvin's passing, Elaine continued forward and established a well-respected and well-deserved reputation as one of the country's top designers - ultimately receiving the 2011 AIGA Medal.
What is now known as 'Lustig Elements' had originally been referred to as "Euclid. A New Type" - referenced on page 35 of the "Born Modern" book about Alvin Lustig's work (Chronicle Books, 2010).
My early conversations with Elaine revealed that 'Euclid. A New Type' was the only remaining reference to the font designed in the 1930s. From the 12 unique letterforms designed by Alvin Lustig in that short phrasing, the full Lustig Elements font was revived with the direction of Elaine Lustig Cohen. Since the initial letterforms were completed, I have worked to design more than 250 glyphs for the font's digital offerings.
According to Elaine, Alvin's inspiration for geometric letterforms was Oliver Byrne's seminal book on Euclidean Geometry published in 1847, "The First Six Books of The Elements of Euclid."
The font name 'Lustig Elements' is a reference to Alvin, Elaine, and the 'Elements of Euclid' book by Byrne.
The letterforms are composed of combinations of four basic shapes - a typographic design exercise regularly employed by Alvin Lustig.
The digital version of Lustig Elements Regular will include more than 250 glyphs when completed.
Background - Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum
Located in Two Rivers, Wisconsin on the shore of Lake Michigan, Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum is a national treasure.
The museum includes functioning machinery and pantograph routers that date back more than 100 years. From the late 19th Century to the early- to mid-20th Century Hamilton was the world's premier producer of wood type used for letterpress printing, primarily crafting headline type for the newspaper industry.
The wood used to cut Lustig Elements was originally sourced and dried in the 1970s. It has sat dormant for decades waiting to be used for a project as unique as Lustig Elements.
Today the museum works with select designers to cut new wood type as part of its new Legacy Wood Type Collection, featuring fonts designed by the likes of Nick Sherman, Matthew Carter, Erik Spiekerman, and Louise Fili.
The photography and filming for the project have been shot by accomplished image makers and friends Ryan Heffernan and Pammi Simone. They have each traveled to NYC to shoot the work on the font taking place with Elaine Lustig Cohen and to Two Rivers, WI to capture the activities at Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum.
The first shoot took place in January 2013 in the original Hamilton Wood Type factory buildings that have since been razed.
One more trip to NYC is needed to complete the filming and photography.
Letterpress printing is to be produced by printer and good friend George Graves who brings top-tier letterpress production skills from his experiences at noted print shops in Salt Lake City and Boston.
Thanks to Elaine Lustig Cohen, Hamilton Wood Type (Bill Moran, Jim Moran, Stephanie Carpenter, Georgie Brylski, Mardell Doubek, and AJ Lorrigan), P22 (Rich Kegler), Steve Heller, Jim Sherraden (Hatch Show Print), Nicholas Stover (design), Lindsay Schmittle (design), Jordan Grove (production), Zach Fogleman (production), Brian Ulrich (research), and Scott McFadden (research) for helping to make this project such a sincere joy. Thanks as well to my colleagues and students at Penn State Harrisburg for providing me with time away from the classroom to focus on completing this project.
Sincere thanks to Kit Hinrichs for including Lustig Elements in the 2016 '365' calendar; featured for the month of April.
Thanks also to Steven Brower for the history of graphic design course that revealed the design of Alvin Lustig and Elaine Lustig Cohen.
Lastly, my most humble gratitude to my good friend Richard Zeid for introducing me to Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum.
Risks and challenges
Unforeseen production challenges may occur. However, everyone involved in the project has the experience necessary to see that the production goes smoothly and that fulfillment of rewards takes place in a timely manner.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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