San Francisco's letterform archive (who recently acquired through donation the Emigre archive) have just announced their latest piece of very exciting news - they are poised to publish a Groundbreaking Monograph on type design luminary William Addison Dwiggins.

I briefly mentioned Dwiggins as being one of my inspirations in typographJournal volume 03 - his work has been pivotal in my understanding of how best to balance humanist gesture with modularity in typographic form. I first became fascinated by his approach and methodology after discovering a facsimile copy of WAD to RR: A Letter about Designing Type

William Addison Dwiggins (1880-1956) was a prolific and innovative artist and designer. Energetic, literate, and witty, this polymath’s work ranged across fields, from the design of printing types and books to calligraphy, illustration, puppetry, and theatrical set design. All that he did he did with a spirit of fun: he believed that the most powerful way to create change was through humour and satire, rather than lecturing or scolding.

Through his unique ornaments, his bold use of colour, and his creative "maker" approach, Dwiggins provides scores of useful examples and serves as a potent inspiration for anyone working in the field of visual design.


About the Book

  • First ever illustrated biography of Dwiggins’s life and work
  • 480 pages
  • Introduction by Steven Heller
  • Set in a custom cut of Dwiggins’ Electra type by Jim Parkinson
  • 1200 high-res illustrations, all shot under raking light for pop-off-the-page realism
  • 18 pages of Dwiggins’s own writings (fiction, commentary, essays) set in hot metal on a Linotype in Dwiggins’s own typefaces
  • Also available in a limited, deluxe edition with leather spine and letterpress portfolio

About the Team

Author Bruce Kennett has 44 years of collecting, research, writing, and lectures on Dwiggins under his belt. Publisher (and founder of Letterform Archive) Rob Saunders brings a dozen years of experience in publishing, as well as the keen collector’s eye that’s behind the Archive’s deep holdings of original Dwiggins material, assembled over more than 40 years.

Thoroughly researched, well written, and beautifully made, this book will be a comprehensive resource for anyone interested in Dwiggins and in American design. 

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