One of the most memorable things about a visit to the Te Papa Museum in Wellington has got to be the exhibition of works by typographer Joseph Churchward.
The museum has a room full of original handcrafted type by Churchward, a Samoan-born New Zealander who is still alive and continuing to produce typefaces at 75 years old!
Churchward has crafted more than 500-plus typefaces – one of few typographers who has produced so many different typefaces. Some of his works have been published by Berthold Type Foundry including Churchward Design, Brush, Tranquillity, Marianna and Tui.
Many of them are still available through foundries such as myfonts (myfonts.com) and identifont (identifont.com).
Churchward is the only New Zealander to have so many typefaces published internationally by big foundries. And one can see why at the exhibition.
Each type is carefully handcrafted using pen and boards and you can see all the white paint used to cover up his sketches, mistakes, fine-tuning and so on.
Remember that many of these faces were created BEFORE the advent of the computer. Churchward clearly understood the mechanics of the printing press, ink trap, dot gain, and other technicalities involved in printing and pre-press.
With Montezuma (second photo below) he cut the letters using a technique which we see on more modern typefaces such as Retina and Amplitude.
What a guy he is!
Here are some photos of the exhibits: