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I am working on a piece where typography is the main design element. However, I can't seem to get the inspiration I need in order to come up with something I like. It would be helpful to me if I had a place that I could go (online) to see examples of good design and typography that match the kind of work that I am trying to do.

Specifically, I'm trying to imitate old letterpress and woodblock type prints. I'm not really involved in the graphic design community, so I may not be aware of online resources that exist already. Do you have any sites that you could recommend?

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2 Answers

The wood type era had some great typography, though the modern 'revival' tends to lean a bit more towards the 'folk artish' side of things.

The mecca for wood type printing would be Hatch Show Print in Nashville:

http://countrymusichalloffame.org/our-work/

They're always up for giving tours if you stop in.

As Alan mentions, Hamilton Wood Type Museum in WI is also a great place to visit:

http://woodtype.org/

For general inspiration, there's massive amounts of stuff up on Flickr...namely plenty of old type specimen books. Some of the groups worth perusing:

http://www.flickr.com/groups/woodtype/

http://www.flickr.com/groups/hamiltonwoodtypemuseum/

http://www.flickr.com/groups/type_specimen/

http://www.flickr.com/groups/atf/

http://www.flickr.com/groups/typographicposters/

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The various type foundries have type specimens online that are often a great source when you're banging your printhead against the firewall. Emigre, Veer and Hoefler & Frere-Jones are all well worth checking out.

On the Adobe website you can browse fonts by intended use, handy for filtering your choices, and any foundry or font supplier allows selection by style.

For woodblock type inspiration, you absolutely must include the Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum in your browsing. This has to be the most awesome collection of woodblock type in existence, and they're still in business, actively producing and selling.

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I'd definitely second Hamilton. It's definitely worth a trip if you ever find your self on the 'east coast' of Wisconsin! –  DA01 Sep 19 '11 at 4:22
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