India Wilkins

Plymouth College of Art
Feasibility study into the history of wood type manufacture in the UK, and the use of digital fabrication technology to manufacture wood type
Wooden letter forms or ‘wood type’ were developed to enable large scale letter forms to be printed alongside the smaller metal letter forms which have been used to print text since 1234. Due to advances in digital printing in the 20th Century the use of manual typesetting processes began to decline, and the last trading wood type manufacturer closed its doors in the 1980’s. Over the last decade however there has been a resurgence in manual typesetting with craftspeople setting up their own businesses in this area, and as a result it has become apparent that there is very little documentation of the history of the wood type manufacturing industry, and very few working facilities in the UK for the manufacture of new wood type. The presentation at Making Futures will discuss the initial outcomes of the feasibility study into whether there is sufficient documentation of wood type, its manufacture and commercial use, to conduct a more in-depth study of the history of wood type manufacture, and whether manufacturing for wood type could be set up using digital fabrication technology at Plymouth College of Art.