Columbia College Chicago

2010 Programs


Edition Binding in the Digital Age: Craft, Collaboration, and New Technology

This presentation will describe a collaborative, hybrid approach to edition binding that focuses on hand work but does not shun new tools and technology. John will discuss and demonstrate his recent forays into the use of laser cutters, digital mat cutting and digital printing on fabric and leather, and how they are implemented alongside more traditional “trade” practices.

John DeMerritt - Bio
A much-in-demand edition binder, John DeMerritt operates a studio in Emeryville, CA., where since 1995 he has produced small editions of books, boxes and portfolios for a wide variety of clientele, focusing on projects for artists, galleries, fine art publishers and printers. Recent clients include publishers Steidl-Mack, Granary Books and Crown Point Press; photographers Richard Misrach, Larry Sultan and Jim Goldberg; Fraenkel Gallery, Peter Koch Printers, The Lapis Press, UC Berkeley Press and the San Francisco Ballet. For the past ten years he has taught a popular class on book making for photographers at the San Francisco Art Institute.


Typography Graphic

William E. Loy's Nineteenth-Century American Type Designers
Alastair Johnston
Wednesday, June 1, 6:30pm
The title of this lecture is also that of a book by Johnston and Steven O. Saxe, published last year by Oak Knoll Press, which presents the work of William E. Loy, to whom we owe a great deal for his documentation of the important type designers of his era. From the prolific Herman Ihlenburg, who worked for MacKellar Smiths & Jordan, to William Page, the wood type manufacturer who skated on the milled planks in his stocking feet at night, Johnston will explain how these men worked and relate fascinating anecdotes about their lives.

The Living History of Type
Thursday, June 2, 6:30 pm
Bill Moran
, Artistic Director, Hamilton Wood Type Museum, Two Rivers Wisconsin
Alastair Johnston
, type historian, Poltroon Press, Berkeley, CA
Clifton Meador
, Book and Paper MFA Director, Columbia College Chicago
Paul Gehl
, Custodian, John M. Wing Foundation on the History of Printing, Newberry Library

Panelists discuss how history informs type design: the printing collection as a well-connected resource, project-specific design including history, the uses and mis-uses of historic sources in type design, and more.


Improvised Design in the Colonial Era
Instructor: Alastair Johnston
Friday-Saturday, June 3-4, 9:30am-5pm
$180, materials included
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Using type and material in the shop we discover in a hands-on fashion how early American printers achieved striking and distinctive effects in their bookwork with limited resources. We will recreate pages from 18th century American books using type and ornament in the studio and learn how expedients, such as decorative material made out of punctuation, came to the aid of the early typographers in the American colonies. We will also explore how these strictures created a distinctly American aesthetic, manifest later in the work of Updike, Rollins and Dwiggins, three of the most noted American designers of the first half of the twentieth century.

Instructor Bio
Alastair Johnston has lectured and written extensively on issues of typographic history and design. He is the author of Alphabets to Order: the Literature of Nineteenth-Century Typefounders' Specimens (Oak Knoll Press & The British Library, 2000), and is currently writing a biography of Richard Austin, the English type cutter, and his son the wood-engraver. As a printer and co-founder of Poltroon Press in Berkeley, CA, Johnston has published more than 30 volumes of poetry.

Gallery Hours

Due to building renovations, the Center for Book and Paper Arts gallery, studio and facilities are closed. We will reopen in August 2014 for Fall semester classes, exhibitions and public programs.



Due to building renovations, the Center for Book and Paper Arts gallery, studio and facilities are closed. We will reopen in August 2014 for Fall semester classes, exhibitions and public programs.

View Spring 2014 
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