AIGA Detroit hosted an early premiere of the film Linotype: In Search of the Eighth Wonder of the World. The venue was Signal-Return, a letterpress studio that recently opened in Eastern Market. I was curious about both the film and Signal-Return. For one, I’ve heard about a linotype, but didn’t know all that much about it except that it made a line of type. Two, as a designer I wanted to check out Signal-Return’s space. Neither disappointed. The film was great. It was well edited and upbeat. It went through the history of the linotype, why it came about, who designed it, who used it, the mistakes and the fortunes, where they are in today’s society, and where they might be in the future. This is truly a great experience for any printer, designer, historian, or curious individual looking for new information about an old piece of history.
Going there I didn't know what to expect. I've been to a few AIGA events and the turnout always seems to be different. Some are sold out while others have just a handful of people. This event filled the entire Signal-Return space. The mixture of the audience was fantastic. There were design students, design professionals, friends, family, a coffee guy, and some old timers that had experience with the linotype itself. The person who sat next to me drove four hours on a Wednesday night to relive his glory days as a linotype operator in businesses all across southeast Michigan, including the Detroit News.
Thomas Hill is Q’s current graphic design intern. A recent graduate of Eastern Michigan’s design program, Thomas splits his time between Q and Planet Rock Climbing in Pontiac.
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