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The Handy Book of Artistic Printing
A Collection of Letterpress Examples with Specimens of Type, Ornament, Corner Fills, Borders, Twisters, Wrinklers, and other Freaks of Fancy
Doug Clouse, Angela Voulangas

ISBN 9781568987057
Publication date 5/30/2009
8 x 10 inches (20.3 x 25.4 cm), Paperback
224 pages, 185 color illustrations, 12 b/w illustrations
Rights: World; Carton qty: 16; ( 1,029 .0)

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$40.00     ADD TO CART

Available for online reading at ebrary.com (subscription or short-term rental required)



During the late nineteenth century, letterpress printers, engravers, and lithographers boldly challenged the rational sobriety of traditional design by introducing intricate borders, corner embellishments, quirky typefaces, and exotic imagery. The style was known as "artistic" and was quickly taken up by letterpress printers as the design idiom of choice for advertisements, packaging, and all of the other ephemera occasioned by the rapid expansion of America's economy. For a while, this commercial style represented the best in popular taste.

But just as quickly as this exuberant style was embraced, it fell abruptly out of favor. By century's end, the ornate bits of artistic printing were tossed into the gutter, and the style itself relegated to the dustbin of history. The rise and fall of this highly embellished idiom, which culminated in its denouncement as aesthetically and morally suspect--"a freak of fancy"--are traced in this, the first comprehensive study devoted to the history of American artistic printing. Authors Douglas Clouse and Angela Voulangas explore the style's origins in the British Aesthetic Movement and analyze its distinctive features: idiosyncratic color harmonies, eclectic choice of type and ornament, compartmentalized compositional strategies. They also present a landmark portfolio of letterpress printing samples, drawn from some of the most important public and private print archives. More than 150 examples of period ephemera, printers' own tour de force promotional pieces, and specimens of type and ornament are reproduced, many for the very first time since their initial circulation more than a century ago.

The Handy Book of Artistic Printing celebrates a previously berated and today largely forgotten episode of design history--one of increasing interest in light of the recent embrace of ornament by some leading contemporary designers. This book will be of value to graphic designers, but also to fine artists, visual merchandisers, and collectors of ephemera everywhere.


Doug Clouse is a graphic designer. A graduate of the Bard Graduate Center in New York, where he studied the history of typography, he teaches graphic design and prints on nineteenth-century treadle-powered presses whenever possible.

Angela Voulangas is a freelance writer and designer. Her love of New York City history and nineteenth-century estoerica have lead her to work for institutions as the New-York Historical Society, the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, and the New York Public Library.


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Editorial Reviews


The Handy Book of Artistic Printing, upscale typography:
"Doug Clouse and Angela Voulangas book The Handy Book of Artistic Printing is one of the best publications devoted to the history of American artistic printing. This handsome book which was recently published by the Princeton Architectural Press,takes you back to the late nineteenth century where letterpress printers, engravers and lithographers boldly challenged the rational sobriety of traditional design by introducing intricate borders, corner embellishments and quirky typefaces...The book is particularly useful to graphic designers, fine artists and type designers. To read the full review on blog.parachutefronts.com click HERE."

NEW Vintage Style Save the Date Postcards, 2Birdstone:
"When I heard of this book, The Handy Book of Artistic Printing I ordered it immediately. Upon its arrival I was instantly inspired by its contents: the diverse layouts, the complex and minute details, and the color palettes. I spent days sketching and flagging pages and when I finally sat down to the computer this postcard design came to life. To read the full review on 2birdstone.blogspot.com click HERE."

Faye + Co.:
"Suddenly artistic printing is on my radar, now more than ever.... The phrase less is more was not the case with this 19th century aesthetic."

Lost Knowledge: "Artistic printing", Make Magazine:
"The book (which I, of course, had to get) is called The Handy Book of Artistic Printing, by Doug Clouse and Angela Voulangas (2009, Princeton Architectural Press) and its a wonder. It covers the history of artistic printing, shows examples of the machines used to create it, and offers dozens of gorgeous examples of the artform, along with thoughtful commentary on each example. The book itself is a lovely piece of book art (er offset lithographic book art)." — Gareth Branwyn

book: The handy book of Artistic Printing , whipup:
"A beautiful reference book of the history of artistic printing. Artistic printing was an ornate, decorate style popular in the late nineteenth century and used by printers and engravers for posters, books, etc. This book celebrates this style with more than 150 examples of ephemera from this era. Examples of beautifully ornate and decorative typefaces, posters, pamphlets, tickets, invitation and business cards a wonderful collection and amazing source of inspiration. These ephemera are accompanied by in depth essays and historical background on the history of this style, why it became so popular and then fell out of favour so thoroughly. Interesting and inspiring for those interested in design. To read the full review on whipup.net click HERE. "

Handmade Librarian:
"...what I love so much about The Handy Book is that it is not JUST vintage eye candy. Clouse and Voulangas provide historical context, explain the rise of this design aesthetic, discuss its relation to letterpress technology of the time, and bring things up to the present in considering its influence upon designers and letterpress printers today."

I Love Typography, Definatalie:
"I bought some books from Book Depository the other week and two of them were typography related, Mike Perrys Hand Job and The Handy Book of Artistic Printing. I really relish these books because I dont often by them for myself, and Id been eying them for a while! To read the full review on definatalie.com click HERE."

Ornament is Not a Sin, The Daily Heller:
"Adolf Loos, the architect, condemned ornament as a sin. Yet there are much worse design crimes (and I'm sure you can share many in the comments section). Even if you subscribe to Loos's proto-modernist dictum, you may still enjoy the sinful pleasure of ornament. If so, I recommend a veritable Whitman's Sampler of ornamental confections from the Victorian age of "artistic" printing: The Handy Book of Artistic Printing: A Collection of Letterpress Examples with Specimens of Type, Ornament, Corner Fills, Borders, Twisters, Wrinklers, and Other Freaks of Fancy. Now that's a mouthful, but the title is no less ornate than the printers' flourishes that you'll find in this handsome volume by Doug Clouse and Angela Voulangas."

The Handy Book of Artistic Printing, Drawn! Illustration & Cartoon Art:
"Im a firm believer in Keep It Simple, Stupid, but some design solutions just call for a little more flourish and ornamentation. The Handy Book of Artistic Printing is a lovely celebration of 19th Century letterpress printing specimens and typography. Its a the perfect resource for the design/type nerd whos looking to make their work a little more flowery. To read the full review on drawn.ca click HERE. " — John Martz

Selectism:
"The Handy Book of Artistic Printing covers an oft forgotten period of design history. In the 19th-Century engravers, printers, and the like struck out against the traditional design and presented intricate boarders, corner embellishments, and quirky typefaces. Advertisers jumped at the new style, which became known as Artistic. As quickly as the style was adopted, it just as abruptly fell out of favor. The authors of The Handy Book of Artistic Printing assess the origins of the look in the British Aesthetic Movement and provide firm analysis of key features."

Handy Book Challenges the Rational Sobriety of Design, Printeresting:
"For the Letterpress enthusiast with a thing for those long ago freaky days of fancy, I give you: The Handy Book of Artistic Printing: Collection of Letterpress Examples with Specimens of Type, Ornament, Corner Fills, Borders, Twisters, Wrinklers, and other Freaks of Fancy by Doug Clouse and Angela Voulangas. To read the full review on printeresting.org click HERE. "

Fanciful Friday, defnatalie:
"You know I love typography and fanciness, and The Handy Book of Artistic Printing combines the two to create the perfect present for me. "

The Midwest Book Review:
"During the late 19th century printers, engravers and lithographers challenged traditional design by introducing exotic images and quirky typefaces known as artistic style. Letterpress printers grabbed it and packaging, ads and more were changes by the new commercial styles. Then it suddenly became unpopular. The rise and fall of this style is traced in a largely neglected survey of this era of design history and makes for a powerful selection for any arts collection." — Diane Donovan

Ellen Lupton:
"These luscious typographic bon bons will astonish your eye, stun your mind, and rekindle your darkest cravings." — Ellen Lupton

EatDrinkChic.com:
"After flipping through the pages I was left feeling incredibly inspired! The book shows examples of a highly decorative style of letterpress from the late 1800's- Rich, ornamental typography and graphics utilising gorgeous colour schemes and referencing motifs from different eras and cultures. " — Amy Moss

The Wall Street Journal:
"The Handy Book of Artistic Printing beautifully reproduces more than 150 examples of this lost and disparaged work, along with essays that contextualize the movement in the history of American printing. . likely to inspire a nostalgia in art lovers. The book is a reminder that debates about aesthetics were once undertaken with a deadly seriousness, and that experimentation in the commercial realm was once the norm."

Victorian Printing, Nothing Elegant:
"If good, old-fashioned prettiness, then you will be smitten by the new Handy Book of Artistic Printing. The book celebrates the excess and ornamentation of 19th century engraving and printing.**Since I'm not one to have entirely embraced modern design's simplicity, this is right up my alley... you're a fan of Victorian print culture, typography, or just love "



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