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Written & designed by Bruce Kennett. The first comprehensive biography of one of the most innovative designers of the 20th century.
Written & designed by Bruce Kennett. The first comprehensive biography of one of the most innovative designers of the 20th century.
Written & designed by Bruce Kennett. The first comprehensive biography of one of the most innovative designers of the 20th century.
1,059 backers pledged $171,574 to help bring this project to life.

Stretch Goal: Help Us Digitize Dwiggins

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W. A. Dwiggins has a posse. We launched our Kickstarter campaign on March 27, 2017 with the hope of reaching some of his many fans around the world. Here we are, twenty-six days later, and the community has responded in force, manifesting a genuine and widespread interest in the man and his work. While our original fundraising goal of $50,000 represented only a fraction of the actual costs needed to develop and produce this book at a level that does justice to Bruce Kennett’s remarkable biography, we now have received the resources needed to cover our expenses.

As a nonprofit organization, we are committed to using all proceeds to further our mission. Therefore, in response to the phenomenal outpouring of support, we feel compelled to do more. As we head into the last week of the campaign, we’re introducing a stretch goal of $175,000. The additional funds would allow us to digitize the rarest Dwiggins objects in our collection and share them in a public, online gallery of zoomable, downloadable images. While A Life in Design includes over 1200 illustrations, this represents only a segment of Letterform Archive’s holdings, which include process work, original sketches, typeface proofs, and other unique material rarely seen outside our doors. A rich web gallery will introduce Dwiggins to designers and makers around the globe. Click here for an example of what is possible.

Our capture station at work. We developed our photography standards in consultation with E.M. Ginger of 42-Line, a leader in the digital imaging of rare books and artwork.
Our capture station at work. We developed our photography standards in consultation with E.M. Ginger of 42-Line, a leader in the digital imaging of rare books and artwork.

High-fidelity digitization is core to Letterform Archive’s mission. While there is no substitute for holding a rare book or designer’s sketch in your own hands, we want to offer the Letterform Archive experience to those who can’t visit in person. With raking light, sensitive staging, premium camera equipment, and very high resolution files, we can produce imagery that is as lifelike as possible. Our goal is to capture every paper texture, artist correction, and metal type impression, so each item is documented in its essential form – not as a flat image, but as an object with a story.

One of several process sketches in gouache and ink for a mailing label, including handwrittten notes from Dwiggins and client, late 1930s.
One of several process sketches in gouache and ink for a mailing label, including handwrittten notes from Dwiggins and client, late 1930s.

 

Letterform Archive photography captures depth, texture, brush strokes, and pencil marks.
Letterform Archive photography captures depth, texture, brush strokes, and pencil marks.

This stretch goal is not intended to improve the standard of the book itself, nor make the deluxe edition more “deluxe”. (We are already producing these books at the highest quality possible.) Rather, it’s all about supporting the Archive’s curatorial and educational role to preserve the work of history’s most important designers. If you feel Dwiggins deserves an even bigger posse — and that posse deserves access to the highest quality digital images possible — please join us in the effort to reach our new goal. Share the Kickstarter page with your friends. Upgrade your pledge to a deluxe edition or the two-book special. Help us digitize Dwiggins.

Dino Santos, Michael B. Day, and 12 more people like this update.

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    1. Missing avatar

      Quinn Keaveney on

      I hope you guys make the goal.. the digitized versions would be an amazing resource.