UST and Minnesota Center for Book Arts present 'Face the Nation' typography exhibition July 12-Sept. 21

UST and Minnesota Center for Book Arts present 'Face the Nation' typography exhibition July 12-Sept. 21

Minnesota Center for Book Arts and the University of St. Thomas will present an exhibition, "Face the Nation: How National Identity Shaped Modern Typeface Design, 1900-1960," July 12-Sept. 21 at Open Book, 1011 Washington Ave. S., first floor, Minneapolis.

Dr. Craig Eliason

The free exhibition, curated by Dr. Craig Eliason of the St. Thomas Art History Department, investigates how the need to reinforce, redefine or transcend national identities shaped modern typography design.

The first part of the 20th century, marked by two world wars, also was distinguished by new typographic designs, demanded in part by new printing technologies such as Monotype and Linotype casting machines. The exhibit includes original printed works and objects from the printing trade.

Two coordinating exhibitions feature the work of contemporary designers Romano Hänni, a renowned master printer educated at the Basel School of Design in Switzerland, and Erik Brandt, who began his career as a cartoonist in Japan, taught typography and visual communication in Qatar and currently teaches design at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.

Join designers, historians, artists and book and printing arts enthusiasts for an opening reception from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, July 12, at Minnesota Center for Book Arts. View the exhibitions, enjoy refreshments and print a commemorative letterpress broadside to take home with you. The event is free and open to the public.

Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesdays; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays; and noon to 4 p.m. Sundays.

Public programs (all free except where noted) to be held in conjunction with the "Face the Nation" exhibit include the following events at MCBA:

  • "The Place of Letters," at 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 15. Curator Eliason leads a conversation about how type designs acquire associations with national identities.
  • "Design Your Own Font," from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, July 19. For families with children ages 6 and up, this workshop introduces the printmaking process. Participants will design the letters of their names and print them on the Vandercook press. Pre-registration is required. Fee is $36 ($33 members) per adult/child pair and $18 per each additional participant and $2 per person supply fee. To register, visit or call (612) 215-2520.
  • " Geotÿpøgrafika Nuovo: Global Issues in Graphic Design and Typography," 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 29. Designer Brandt leads this discussion about contemporary design issues.
  • "Film: 'Helvetica,'" 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 14. Director Gary Hustwit's 2007 feature-length documentary about typography, graphic design and global visual culture, examines the proliferation of the typeface Helvetica, which was designed more than 50 years ago.
  • "About Face: Deeper Into Design and National Identity," at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 16. A discussion about interesting intersections of national identity and type design features four panelists who are students in St. Thomas' Master of Arts in Art History program: Natalie Stanton, Caroline Baum, Lisa Melander and Traci Olinger.

For more details on "Face the Nation" events, photographs from the exhibit and downloadable audio for a guided tour, visit

For a map and directions to MCBA, visit