Analog, digital, virtual: @Home with Hamilton Wood Type

Where can you find whizzing antique pantographs, colossal clowns from antique advertising, and three-foot-tall wood type? Is there a place you can go to experience the heritage of American letterpress printing with your own hands?

Adobe Fonts has long partnered with organizations within the type community that celebrates typographic history, education, and technology. In July, we virtually connected attendees of the Typographics design festival to the Hamilton Wood Type Museum in Two Rivers, Wisconsin. Museum staff, with the help of hosts Gen Ramírez and Zrinka Buljubašić, brought us on a whirlwind tour of the characters that make their collection a must-see for font and design lovers of all kinds.

Housing 1.5 million pieces of wood type, Hamilton’s collection is one of the premier wood type collections in the world. You can marvel at exquisite wood type, original advertising cuts from the 1930s-70s, and rare type specimen catalogs, as well as witness the original tools of the trade in action.

Jim and Bill Moran demonstrate proofing the key block from a four-color fair poster in the Museum’s Enquirer Collection as part of the tour.

As part of a commitment to preservation through use, the museum collaborates with designers to produce original faces inspired by the collection. We had the unique opportunity to view Antique Tuscan wood type, which provided source material for the chromatic font HWT American — available in the Adobe Fonts library.

Antique Tuscan font from William Page, circa 1858. Image source: Jim Moran.

After the tour we challenged attendees to draw the commercial @ symbol missing from HWT American, invented long after this 19th-century type. Our hosts, type designers themselves, were on hand to provide guidance and feedback through a drawing workshop. Check out some of the resulting characters below!

From sketch to final design — Marco Trujillo.

Source: Anastasiya Kosheleva.

Source: Manuel López Rocha.

Source: (left to right) Nitzchia Díaz, Rachael Miller, Obrayamn Sanchez.

Browse more participant work using #HWTcommercialat and #HWTarroba on Instagram, and use your Creative Cloud subscription to activate HWT American on Adobe Fonts.

If you’re curious about what The Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum has to offer, we invite you to attend its 12th annual Wayzgoose conference: AWAYZgoose – November 5-8, 2020.

Supporting virtual events like Wayzgoose and Typographics bring our community closer and open up new possibilities for accessibility as we go forward. Keep your eye on our Twitter page to get the latest on where you’ll find the Adobe Fonts team next!