Posts Tagged ‘Jim Rimmer’

Jim Rimmer Documentary Screenings Announced

Monday, October 11th, 2010

News from Richard Kegler re his documentary of type designer & typefounder Jim Rimmer, Making Faces: the film “will be screened in early November in Two Rivers, Wisconsin; and Seattle, Washington. Both screenings will feature a Q&A session from film maker Richard Kegler.
The Hamilton Woodtype Museum in Two Rivers is presenting their second annual Wayzgoose Conference Nov 5-7 with a great array of speakers and ending with a screening of Making Faces.

The Seattle screenings are part of the Type Americana Conference and in conjunction with the Northwest Film Forum on Nov 12 and 13.”

For more information on the film, please see Richard’s blog MAKING FACES – JIM RIMMER FILM PROJECT.

— Paul Razzell

Jim Rimmer’s typefoundry finds a new home

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

This past Sunday several hundred people gathered at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver to celebrate the memory of Jim Rimmer, typographer, typefounder, printer, and graphic artist.

Since Jim’s passing in January of this year, many people in the printing, typography, and fine press communities have been worried — and with good reason — that Jim’s typefounding and casting knowledge would pass on with him.

It was an exciting moment, then, when the young and energetic Jason Dewinetz of Greenboathouse Press announced in his eulogy that much of Jim’s typefounding and printing equipment will not be moved to a museum or university archive. Instead, Jason has arranged to purchase this equipment from the Rimmer family and move it to Vernon, B.C., where it will continue to be used in the production of finely printed books. We couldn’t hope for a better home for this equipment.

Jason’s announcement was a relief to many, just as it was a relief to learn several years ago that Richard Kegler of P22 Typefoundry had purchased the rights to distribute Jim’s digital font library, thereby relieving Jim of the task of promoting his own work—something Jim seemed constitutionally unable to do.

It is great to see Jim’s legacy passed on in such a tangible way.

Two documentaries about Jim Rimmer in the works:

Many of you already know that Richard Kegler is finishing work on a documentary film about Jim Rimmer called Making Faces: A Documentary on Cutting Metal Type. See

There is another Rimmer documentary in the works: Ryan Mah, who apprenticed with Jim, filmed Jim at work every Sunday for three years. This footage is now being edited and From Lead to Gold: A Portrait of Jim Rimmer will appear this fall. You can watch the trailer here:

Rimmer from Ryan Mah on Vimeo.

We’ll report on both of these films when they are released.

— Paul Razzell

You are invited to a reception & tribute ceremony in honour of the late Jim Rimmer

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

— Paul Razzell

Filmmaker seeks donations to complete documentary of Jim Rimmer

Friday, March 19th, 2010

I’m posting this on behalf of Richard Kegler, the filmmaker whose Making Faces: Metal Type in the 21st Century — a documentary of type designer and type founder Jim Rimmer — stands in need of funding if it is to move forward. Kegler’s obituary of Jim Rimmer, who passed away this winter, will appear in the fall 2010 issue of Parenthesis. Read Richard Kegler’s appeal for donations below. Click here to donate.

About this project

Two years ago I shot footage (in HD video) for a documentary on possibly the only person who designed and fabricated fonts in both digital and metal formats. This person, Jim Rimmer, has died this year and this delayed project is in need of finishing. My commitments to starting a book arts center and making it work in one of the poorest cities in America has taken more of my time and resources than ever imagined.

With additional funds I can secure finishing assistance and be able to produce the film and schedule screenings as well as produce a DVD that will be made available via documentary and educational channels.

The trailer for the film was made with an optimistic target release of Spring 2009. The trailer can be seen on youtube here:…

This project has a dual goal of documenting the almost-lost skill of creating metal fonts and of capturing the personality and work process specifically of practitioner the late Canadian graphic artist Jim Rimmer (1931-2010). P22 type foundry commissioned Mr. Rimmer to create a new type design (Stern) that became the first-ever simultaneous release of a digital font and, hand-set metal font in 2008. The skills needed to create a metal font are known by very few people and Mr. Rimmer was generous to a fault when it came to sharing his knowledge. Considering that Jim Rimmer was possibly the only individual who designed and cast typefaces in metal as well as in digital format, this opportunity to document the processes of the historic with the contemporary would not present itself again.

This documentary was begun with a minimal budget but with expectations of a final edited film in Hi-Def digital video that would be accessible and useful for typography professionals and graphic arts schools and to a more general audience interested in motivation and obsession of a fascinating, esoteric and culturally omnipresent field of work. The final film on DVD is planned to be screened at festivals, graphic arts conferences and made available to schools, other interested organizations, individuals and broadcast outlets.

The home stretch in finishing this film is primarily making the time and securing additional assistance in tightening up some detail. Then it will be ready for the world. The lack of firm obligations to backers or release dates made this a hazy obligation. Every kickstarter backer for this project will now be my motivation to have the obligation to get this project finished. Many levels of pledge rewards will provide a pre order opportunity.

Thank you
Richard Kegler

Remembering Jim Rimmer

Monday, January 11th, 2010

Printer and typographer Jim Rimmer, who passed away last Friday, touched the lives of hundreds of artists, illustrators, printers, typographers, musicians, and friends over the years, and no doubt there will be many tributes to Jim in the coming weeks and months. One early tribute is the Facebook page Remembering Jim Rimmer, which you can see — and contribute to — here.

Photo copyright Ryan Mah.

— Paul Razzell

Jim Rimmer dies

Saturday, January 9th, 2010

Rollin Millroy reports: “I’m sad to report that Jim Rimmer passed away yesterday. We’ll all miss not just his expertise, but his spirit & generosity.”
I had the honor to interview him in March of 2008. Here is my report:

Jim Rimmer is a Vancouver typographer, printer, and designer. He is also one of the pieces of glue that holds the world of Vancouver fine printers together; countless times, I heard people say things like, “I had a problem, and Jim was able to fix it,” or, “I had no idea how I was going to get accents for the font, but Jim cut some for me.”
Rimmer was apprenticed to a Vancouver typographer, J. W. Boyd, in 1950. After his 6 years as an apprentice, he worked at composing another 6 years, but by then he could see the handwriting on the wall; there was no future in typography. So he went to night school to become a graphic designer, after which he worked at newspapers and design firms. He hung out his own shingle as a free-lancer in 1971, and never worked in someone else’s studio thereafter. But metal type and letterpress printing interested him all along, and he started to accumulate equipment in his basement and work/play with it in his spare time. “In 1964 I started collecting like crazy. So many people were getting rid of type and letterpress equipment. Some of it needed to be saved,” he said.
He has several presses, including the very large Colt’s Armory. He also has a complete Monotype setup, which lets him cast individual letters for handsetting and complete pages of text when driven by punched paper tapes. But the most unusual thing he has is a pair of pantograph machines, which allow him to engrave matrices for making new type faces. (I’ve seen working Monotype setups half a dozen times in my life, but the only pantographs I remember eeing were in books.) In fact, he even has a third pantograph in storage, a Ludlow Weibking pantograph he got from the late Paul Hayden Duensing who had, a couple of decades earlier, acquired it from the Caxton Club’s own Robert Hunter Middleton, who was allowed by the Ludlow company to place them with deserving individuals. But unlike the ones Rimmer uses, the Ludlow one has no markings for setup, so it is much harder to use.
In the graphic design world, Rimmer was always good with a brush or pen, and he frequently hand-lettered logotypes or drew insignias. (“They called me a ‘wrist,’” he joked.) So it was not a big step for him to design typefaces. He tried a few in the era when the Photo Typositor was the king of setting headlines (the 1960s and early 1970s), but was disappointed that they did not sell particularly well because they were not the kinds of styles then in vogue. But in the digital era he has a huge number of typefaces to his credit. P22 type house, of Buffalo, sells more than 200 of his faces, distributed through 18 type families. Many of these are revivals of classic faces (some done first for Lanston or Giampa) while others are entirely original. I have half a dozen of his adaptations in my font library, but didn’t realize he had done them until I spoke with him in Vancouver.
Here again, Rimmer goes one better than type designers I have known. He has not done just digital type, but metal versions of some of his faces. When he’s going to make a metal face, he first draws it by hand, then transfers it to the Ikarus program on the computer. That allows him to play with spacing and do trial settings to be sure it looks right in small sizes. He prints out outlines from the computer, and these are used to hand-cut cardboard ones. The cardboard outlines are used with the pantograph to create smaller lead matrices. A final pantograph step creates actual-size matrices in brass for use on the casters.
His most recent face, called Stern (in honor of friend and fellow typographer Chris Stern, who died unexpectedly in his 50s), is to be simultaneously released to the public in digital and metal by P22. The foundry has even made a video of Rimmer at work in his basement casting the metal. “They had a lot of fun shooting it,” he said. “My workshop is close quarters, and they had to be careful not to bump their heads or get into something hot.”
The big project front and center in his shop right now is his edition of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Right now all the pages of metal type are in cabinets around the room. “This one I’m having proofread four times. In the end, eleven typos were discovered in my last big book, which I consider an embarrassment. So this time I’m being as careful as I can be.” The Tom Sawyer includes his own drawings and uses his own typeface, Hannibal Oldstyle. The type is standing and he’s gotten the paper in (a cream-colored paper from Arches), so now all he’s waiting for is the completion of the proofreading.
This is actually the fourth big book from his Pie Tree press. He did an edition of Dickens’ Christmas Carol in 1998, Shadow River: The Selected and Illustrated Poems of Pauline Johnson in 1999, and Leaves from the Pie Tree (the story of his life in typography) in 2006. And in between, there have been dozens of pamphlets and broadsides for just about every book-related event in British Columbia over a span of many years.

–Bob McCamant

Guest Post Number 1: Lunch with the Typophiles by Jason Dewinetz

Friday, June 26th, 2009


Jason Dewinetz of Greenboathouse Press was recently paid the honour of being invited by the Typophiles to give a presentation at their spring luncheon in New York City.

Jason is a fine designer and printer and it is no wonder his work caught the eye of the Typophiles. The subject of his presentation was contemporary fine printing in western Canada, which means he talked about the works of the big three of Canada’s west: Barbarian Press, Jim Rimmer’s Pie Tree Press, and Heavenly Monkey.

I’m very pleased that Jason agreed to contribute an account of his visit to New York to the this blog. The following article is the first in a series of occasional Guest Posts to be featured on the FPBA blog. If you have an idea for a Guest Post, we’d love to hear about it. Please address it to Paul Razzell at NAEditor [at] FPBA [dot] com.

Read ‘Lunch with the Typophiles.’

— Paul Razzell