This rather stirring and impressive sign was created in 1932 by a rather stirring and impressive woman, Beatrice Warde. Somewhat incredibly considering the age she was living in, Ward was the face and voice of the Monotype Corporation during the 1920’s and 1930’s, and according to Simon Garfield in Just My Type: ‘Just about every printer in the country had a copy of [this] broadside on display’ (p65). You can buy the brilliant Just My Type here.
As a publisher, it’s easy to see why Warde’s sign inspired such a following and why it continues to have such resonance. In an age such as ours where debates over freedom of speech can cause the world’s biggest website to ‘blackout’ in protest, and powerful media moguls can be brought to trial on charges of phone-hacking, it’s encouraging to think that publishing, whether electronic or old-fashioned ink-on paper still has the capacity to be ‘A Refuge of All The Arts’ and an ‘Armoury of Fearless Truth’.
At the very least, we at Hot Key Books certainly like to see ourselves standing ‘On Sacred Ground’!
Something for you to mull over on the weekend. A less preachy and pompous blog post to follow on Monday… probably involving cake.
PS fact-fans, three copies of Just My Type can be found on the desks of three Hot Key employees – but can you guess which ones…?