Sem Hartz & the Making of Linotype Juliana

There are few things we enjoy more than an engrossing book about Dutch type design. By the same token, there are few things more frustrating than not being able to find books published in English that deal with the work of a favourite Dutch designer. Such is the case with Sem Hartz, a gifted engraver and designer who lived—and died—under the shadow of his colleague, Jan van Krimpen. Perhaps for this reason, Hartz did not receive the critical and biographical attention one would expect of such an accomplished figure.

Frustrated by the dearth of information about Hartz in English, Inferno Press commissioned Mathieu Lommen, a curator at the Special Collections Department at the Amsterdam University Library and friend of Hartz, to write the story of the design of Linotype Juliana. Sem Hartz and the Making of Linotype Juliana is the first publication in the English language dealing exclusively with the making of this face. It is the kind of book Inferno Press was created to publish.

Lommen's text has been laser-printed on archival paper using a newly digitized version of Juliana. In fact, this is the inaugural appearance of this font, which is now commercially available from the Font Bureau. Photographic reproductions of Hartz's early drawings for Juliana are tipped in. The cover is letterpress-printed on a Nepalese Lotka paper (various colours) or on an orange Zerkall Ingres. 8 ¼ by 5 inches. 15 pages. 100 numbered copies. Stitched into soft covers. Out of print. Copies may still be available from the dealers listed at the right.

Reviewed by Dave Farey in Parenthesis 14, February 2008:

'For those interested in type design, and particularly those interested in the gestation of a typeface through to its commercial availability, this little vignette — just eight pages of text with three tip-in illustrations — in a format slightly larger than a paperback, provides a snapshot of the creative and mechanical processes of typefounding, that was literally in its dying days during the 1950s. This is essentially the story of Juliana, the only accomplished typeface designed by Sem Hartz, the trials and tribulations of bringing it to market, where the incredibly slow pace of seven and a half years was extreme, judged even by the archaic methods of type production just some fifty years ago. . . .'