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Fish Eaters

10th November 2015 by Matt Grocutt

The Fish Eaters project has been a delightful project to work on since it was conceptualised by Tim Guy and the final words penned by Caroline Carver. Though the production has taken over two years with much careful deliberation and thought it has never been a chore to work upon. To see it slowly take shape working with such a talented writer, illustrators and photographers has been a pleasure.

It has also been a source of professional satisfaction to work once again with the wonderful typeface Emilida. Emilida is very special as not only is it a unique font which was commissioned by Tim Guy, to first be applied to crafted literature for EMI, it is based upon the cut letter forms of Lida Cardozo Kindersley the world-renowned stone cutter. Lida joined the David Kindersley workshop in 1976, later they were to marry and she has continued the workshop since 1995 following David’s passing. The forms she creates are beyond compare and even in such a digitally sanitised form, in comparison to the living artworks she and her workshop fellows cut from stone, it is one of the most beautiful faces I have had the pleasure of working with. As you can probably now see it is named after its first application and the artist responsible for its conception – EMI-Lida. Though EMI was only granted to make use of the face for this one application on this singular occasion the name remains to reflect this part of its heritage.

Though the face itself is a delight to work with there were problems of a technical nature associated with using it for this project – design geeks read on! The face was originally commissioned in 1995 and was produced in a digital form using the technology of the time. Due to the sensitive nature of the origins of the font Lida has only allowed its use for this special project and to grace the walls of the associated Plymouth Marine Building since its first application. In order to bring the face back to life for use in the modern technological era – compared to the mid-nineties, a technological ‘rescue’ had to take place. The original master files existed in the archive on a floppy disk in original Mac System 7 format. So the first job was to find a Mac with a Floppy Disk Drive! Having dug a period Mac out of the loft I was able to access the files. These were then imported into an early version of Fontographer (circa 1997), here I was able to change some of the character codes to match-up with a modern PC/Mac character code. This was then saved out as a Postscript font which could be run through FontConvertor (another pre-OSX App) and finally converted to a modern PC OpenType font which I could then use on a modern PC running InDesign!

What makes me most proud of this project is that all of those who have contributed to the book, Caroline, the illustrators, photographers and Lida, have all commented that they feel that there work has been treated with sensitivity, respect and brought together to work seamlessly with each represented to there strengths.

I am also grateful to the other members of the Toucan team who stepped into the breach to bring the final artwork of the book to conclusion in time for print when I was unable to be present for those final difficult stages.

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