To answer this question, it’s when the thing that you love most is picked up by one of the most major and influential brands in the world: Target. I was perusing Twitter, trying to see if the Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum tweeted. While I don’t believe they do, someone had posted a video about wood type and Target. Now I thought perhaps it was just that Target was using a few pieces type in their commercials like the Dodge Ram commercial (see below), but no! It’s so much better than that!
One of my favorite professors, Paul Brown, would always talk about going up to the Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum and would actually take a field trip with students there each year. Sadly, I never had enough time to go, but always thought of a trip in the future with wistfulness. He would bring that wonderful prints and he even made a specimen book of decorative borders. It was truly staggering to see so many variations and the sheer artistry that I know each took to create. The Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum, located in Two Rivers, Wisconsin, was originally the Hamilton Type Foundry, once the largest wood type maker in the country, which was founded in 1880.
This video is so great! It speaks of letterpress and the museum itself representing authenticity, being a leader of their craft, and being something fresh, even though it’s been around for a very long time. In many ways Taking an extra step, by describing the museum, Target is really describing their own brand. What a great way of informing your audience but working on a nice conceptual level. Talk about strategy!
While part of me is selfish and doesn’t want to share my love with anyone else that might not understand it, I’m glad that Hamilton is getting the attention it deserves. It should be considered a national heirloom. It represents a large part of America’s visual past, which is not something that should be lost. Perhaps now, thanks to Target, the funds will continue to roll into the museum and it can stay open for future generations, and at least stay open until I can actually make it up there!
Target and Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum
Dodge Ram Letterpress Commercial