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Lead Image

Evoking the whitespace and figure-ground relationships of Toscano’s art, this exhibition announcement created entirely with lead type makes me anxious enough to want to attend the opening.  



Mary Toscano

Quantity Produced


Production Cost

$3 per piece

Production Time

48 non-consecutive hours

Dimensions (Width × Height × Depth)

8.5 in × 5.5 in

Page Count

Paper Stock

Rives BFK Cream, 250gsm

Number of Colors





10 and 24 point Cloister Light Face, cast by The Dale Guild Type Foundry
14 and 18 point Franklin Gothic


Worry Lines Art Exhibit Announcement
Worry Lines Art Exhibit Announcement ---

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Project Description

Mary Toscano's largely figurative work is simultaneously mysterious and accessible, with negative space playing a prominent role in lending the underlying narratives a sense of ambiguity that invites interpretation. The line work is both anxious and assured, reminiscent of Egon Shiele.

I attempted to convey some of the same qualities by pairing a refined Roman typeface with a rugged American Gothic sans serif and using wavy rules to create depth, allude to the gallery environment, and suggest nervous motion. To further strengthen the connection between this purely typographic composition and the artist’s work, I specified the same paper – Rives BFK Cream – Toscano drew and painted on, and used a similar color palette.

Production Lesson(s)

It would have been much easier to print everything from photopolymer plates, but I prefer to work with handset foundry type when possible. I also decided to print the angled wavy lines from vintage, brass type-high rule. This presents a challenge because letterpress printing is an inherently perpendicular medium. By placing a translucent sheet of paper over a laser-printed mock-up and tracing the angled wavy rules, I gave myself a template that I placed on the press bed. Then I positioned the brass type-high rule directly onto the pencil drawn guides and used strong magnets to hold them in place.”

Post Author

Author Picture

Jessica Mullen

Writer for UnderConsideration LLC.

More: Online / On Twitter


Date Published

April 23, 2012


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About UnderConsideration

UnderConsideration is a graphic design enterprise that runs a network of blogs, publishes books, organizes live events and judged competitions, and designs for clients.


Brand New / Displaying opinions and focusing solely on corporate and brand identity work.

Art of the Menu / Cataloguing the underrated creativity of menus from around the world.

Quipsologies / Chronicling the most curious, creative, and notable projects, stories, and events of the graphic design industry on a daily basis.

Speak Up (2002 – 2009) / Discussing, and looking for, what is relevant in, and the relevance of, graphic design. Archives Only.

Word It (2003 – 2010) / Encouraging creative diversity in the community through monthly, one-word challenges. Archives Only.

Brand New Classroom (2010 – 2011) / Providing a space for critique and opinions on student identity workArchives Only.

graphic design

Department of Design / Designing corporate and brand identities and full development of printed and digital matter for clients.


The 2010 FPO Awards / 2011, self-published.

The 2010 Brand New Awards / 2011, self-published.

Flaunt: Designing effective, compelling and memorable portfolios of creative work / 2010, self-published.

Events & Judged Competitions

Brand New Conference / A one-day event on the development of corporate and brand identity projects by some of today’s most active and influential practitioners from around the world.

Brand New Awards / Celebrating the best identity work produced around the world.

FPO Awards / Celebrating the best print work from around the world.


Graphic Design, Referenced: A Visual Guide to the Language, Applications, and History of Graphic Design / 2009, Rockport.

Women of Design: Influence and Inspiration from the Original Trailblazers to the New Groundbreakers / 2008, HOW Books.

The Word It Book: Speak Up Presents a Gallery of Interpreted Words / 2007, HOW Books.

The End