Do you love to do many things? Do you ever get the opportunity to do them all — at the same time?
Each March I feel like the luckiest designer alive. That’s because one of my favorite clients asks me to add one more page to a truly magnificent book — that I designed over ten years ago.
This job requires me to combine my passions: page design, hand lettering, and collaboration with extraordinary artists.
Welcome Deerfield Alumni is a ceremonial book. Each year, a class representative composes a 300 word essay reflecting upon their high school years. Names of the graduating seniors are entered below the memoir. Immediately upon receiving their diploma, graduates sign their names into this oversized book and are officially welcomed into the Deerfield Academy Alumni Association.
Designed as a single volume for the classes of 2002 — 2011, Welcome Deerfield Alumni was so treasured that a second volume was requested in 2012. All of us who began the project twelve years ago are still enjoying the annual work process.
As the designer and project coordinator it’s my responsibility to:
- typeset the copy and
- send out an electronic file from which plates are made.
- The letterpress printer receives the plates via UPS or FedEx and
- prints 5-8 sheets on handmade paper.
- Once printed, I then add a drop cap by hand and
- send off to the bookbinder to tip in the “best” sheet.
We begin the process in early March for a late May delivery. Lots of steps for one little page, but each year when the book begins its journey toward this year’s completion, I delight in seeing and feeling this oversized masterpiece that has been:
- hand calligraphed plus
- letter press printed by master printer Art Larson of Hadley, Massachusetts,
- hand bound in vegetable tanned goatskin leather by Daniel E. Kelm at The Wide Awake Garage
- and stamped with 18K gold leaf.
- Daniel also designed the paste paper endsheets shown below.
As someone who loves paper, handmade books, and collaboration, this is my dream job.