“Pencil to Pixel”: Exploring the Physical History of Typography


UPDATE: While the exhibit only ran during the first week of May 2013, you can still enjoy scenes from the show. The amazing installation has been preserved in photographs by Esto, an architectural photography firm. You can access the pristine images of the Pencil to Pixel exhibit in their searchable, purchasable stock-image library, which includes over 100,000 photos in their archive.

UPDATE 2: Check out this blog post from printmag.com with some photographs showing close-ups of several of the exhibition’s artifacts and participants.


Entering the world of print and graphics in the mid-90s, type for me has always been a digital experience. I often forget how typefaces, then and now, begin on someone’s sketchpad. The rich history and craftsmanship behind well-known typefaces of today is on exhibit in New York right now thanks to the British firm Monotype‘s “Pencil to Pixel” exhibition. This show features the tools, artifacts and artworks of typographic innovation. The website explains that the exhibit “…brings together the past, present and future of a unique typographic institution. Spanning over a hundred years, the expertise and craftsmanship of Monotype has shaped the way in which we see and read the everyday world around us.”

It looks like an intriguingly rich show for anyone who enjoys the craftsmanship and design of great typography. My personal favorite: Eric Gill’s 1928 pen and ink drawings for Gill Sans Italic. (photo source: Wallpaper.com)

Gill Sans Italic, original pencil and ink drawings

The exhibit runs May 3 – 9, 2013, after it’s original installment in London during November of 2012.



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