Price: $310.00

    Code: 2371

    Directed by Justine Nagan
    2010, 60 minutes
    Purchase: $310 | Classroom Rental: $125

    In rural Wisconsin, a lone employee waits in a cavernous old museum for visitors to come. A few individuals straggle in every few days and then, come Friday, the museum fills with life. Machines hum, presses print, artists buzz about. One weekend each month, the quiet of Two Rivers is interrupted as carloads of artisans drive in from across the Midwest. The place comes alive as printmaking workshops led by, and filled with, some of the nation's top design talent descend on the sleepy enclave.

    In a time when people can carry computers in their pockets and watch TV while walking down the street, Typeface explores the twilight of an analog craft that is freshly inspiring artists in a digital age. The Hamilton Wood Type Museum in Two Rivers, WI personifies cultural preservation, rural re-birth and the lineage of American graphic design. At Hamilton, international artisans meet retired craftsmen and together navigate the convergence of modern design and traditional technique. But the Museum's days are numbered. What is the responsibility of artists and historians to preserve a dying craft? How can rural towns survive in a shifting industrial marketplace where big-box retailers are king?

    Typeface brings this fascinating junction of historical and contemporary, as well as rural and urban America together for enjoyment and contemplation. This film is of strong interest to art and graphic design enthusiasts, to teachers as an educational resource, and to anyone looking for a film about perseverance and preservation in the heart of America.

    Subjects & Collections


    "This film is important for young designers as well as typophiles of all ages. It teaches all of us the inherent beauty of typographic form, the unmatched quality of letterpress printing, the historical relevance of wood typography and the importance of the tactile in developing one's design process. By understanding the history of wood type and the thoughtful process that went (goes) into the design and printing of these beautiful artifacts, a design student can see that there is more to visual communication than a computer screen. I would find it hard to believe that anyone interested in this discipline could not find value in this film. See it!" - Joseph DiGioia, Professor of Graphic Design, Savannah College of Art and Design

    "Typeface is not only a valuable document on the history of visual communication, it is also a poignant commentary on the privatization of that history and how supply and demand can alter the cultural production and perception of knowledge itself. As an instructor of design history and visual studies, I would highly recommend Typeface as valuable pedagogical tool." - John Jennings, Associate Professor of Visual Studies at SUNY Buffalo

    “In this lovely documentary, both elegiac and hopeful, understated yet moving, filmmaker Nagan unobtrusively presents the story of this museum, with a narration shifting among the voices of those involved, from the lone museum employee to the former Hamilton workers who return as volunteers to keep alive aspects of wood display-type creation… Highly recommended for those already appreciating this part of Americana and those ready to be enchanted by it.” - Library Journal