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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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UnderConsideration is a graphic design firm generating its own projects, initiatives, and content while taking on limited client work. Run by Bryony Gomez-Palacio and Armin Vit in Bloomington, IN. More…

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