8.4 / Smith’s Rules & Edgar’s Considerations 

A Brace of Compositions

James Edgar is an artist, designer, curator, teacher & entrepreneur. While we were both teaching at Camberwell School of Art we uncovered many forgotten treasures in the letterpress department.

For years the Camberwell Press had cast hundreds of fonts of types; they systematically archived them in a hidden room deep in the art school’s basement. We discovered a series of boxes of lead rules, carefully marked with the Monotype codes.

A Typology of the archive — (a set of sets) was a result of our experiments. A Brace of Compositions was the first set to be printed.


The pair of prints that resulted are ‘by way of a typology’ — a set of rules, each one a different style, each one the same in length. The rules form a 102 pica square and are separated by 6 picas. The weight of the rules increase as they progress.

The Turquoise print has a detailed title running to the same measure, set in 10pt Univers 55. For the Grey print, the ‘printing forme’ is rotated by 90 degrees, keeping the square composition. The Monotype codes are again set in 10pt Univers 55.

Both are printed letterpress in a Gun-metal Grey (a mix of Silver and Black). They are printed on GF Smith 135gsm Colourplan: Turquoise & Pale Grey, in a limited edition of 50 and signed by the Artists.