Great Balls of Fire: Two Great Stories on the Longevity of Print

Civil Defense brochure found in Dictionary

Print has a way of sticking around.

And while it can often be neglected in the excitement surrounding digital and cutting-edge communications today, print continues to thrive and surprise. It’s very physical, tactile nature is the reason for the powerful impact and longevity of print. Two great illustrations of that popped up on the same day.

Here at the print shop sat an old dictionary from the mid 1950s, purchased at Good Will, and gathering dust. Yesterday our bindery manager discovered, tucked back inside the pages, a Civil Defense brochure from 1959 outlining the emergency drill in case of a direct nuclear attack on Asheville or Buncombe County. Seems our proximity here to the Oak Ridge facility in Tennessee put us in harm’s way. Interesting reading – a great insight into the mindset of the Cold War days. The brochure, printed in patriotic red and blue, had hardly ages at all, well preserved between the dictionary pages.

Great Balls of Fire Brochure

And the same day we stumbled across the story online of a rediscovered typeface – Doves Type – that had spent almost 100 years at the bottom of the Thames River in London. Designer Robert Green led the search for the type which had been thrown off a bridge into the Thames in 1917 in an attempt to settle a dispute over it’s usage. Green’s team retrieved about 150 metal type  pieces, rediscovering what was once a lost typeface. (Watch a short BBC film about the story below.) And to bring the story totally up to date, you can now follow Doves Type on Twitter @thedovestype.

So you never know where you might find a lost piece of print history – tucked in the musty pages of a forgotten book or at the bottom of a river. Either way, print can surprise you, proving itself to be influential long past your wildest expectations.

Doves Typeface on Twitter


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Call us at 828.684.4512. ImageSmith is a full-service print and marketing provider located in Arden, North Carolina. Contact us at ImageSmith for quotes on all your print and marketing projects, and more useful tips on how to create custom, effective, high impact marketing solutions.