Kickstarter-Funded Biography of W.A. Dwiggins Heading to the Presses

Eagle-eyed readers may recall our story back in April about a Kickstarter-funded biography on William Addison Dwiggins, that twentieth-century book designer who coined the term “graphic design” back in the 1920s.                                                                                                                                                                   

The inaugural project for Letterform Archive ultimately received $171,574, sailing past its fundraising goal of $50,000. As of November 21, the book was in its final proofing stage and will be on the press before the year is out. Proofing the book is no small task: over 1,000 images pepper the book, but author-designer Bruce Kennett and his team are dedicated to “producing a printed image that comes as close as the real thing,” with a secondary goal of setting a new bar for subsequent Archive publications.

                                                                                                                                                                                                           

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                                                                                                                                                                                       W.A. Dwiggins: A Life in Design focuses on Dwiggins’ contributions to graphic design while also exploring his mastery of seemingly disparate art forms--in addition to designing roughly 300 book covers for publisher Alfred A. Knopf and creating Electra and Caledonia, two widely used typefaces, Dwiggins was a puppet master. His collection of marionettes--along with Dwiggins-designed books, broadsides, and furniture--were donated to the Boston Public Library in 1967 and represent his zealous attention to detail while crafting whimsical wooden playthings.


Of the 1,059 backers, a lucky few pledged enough to earn a deluxe edition of the biography, bound with a leather spine and gold foil-stamped lettering by master calligrapher Richard Lipton. Order fulfillment of the regular edition is slated for early January, which may disappoint backers who hoped to have their copy in time for the holidays, but fear not, Kennett and the Letterform Archive team are sure you will find the results worth the wait.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Image courtesy of the Letterform Archive

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