The lead in the lede

Type faces and printing arcana from l'Imprimerie Nationale in Paris

The Royal A

As a writer, I love the printed word. I’m fascinated by movie titles and fonts in ads. I don’t read books so much as I deconstruct the choices in typefaces, paper stock and, of course, the cover image. But I always come back to the words on the page. How they look and feel. The meaning behind the appearance. Now at The Grolier Club in New York is an exhibit of type, letter molds and other printing arcana from the Archives de l’Imprimerie Nationale (formerly Royale) in Paris. Covering the mechanical and fine arts of lettering, the show is a valuable reminder of the craft of bookmaking, at a time when books themselves are considered commodities to be printed on demand or displayed without adornment on e-readers or smartphones. For a tour of the type, click here.

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