The term type colour refers to the overall balance of type to white space, regardless of the shade of the text. It is related to the inherent blackness of a letter, which is affected by factors such as the width of strokes relative to its width and the orientation of strokes when present.
This blackness may vary across different letter-shapes of the same weight of a typeface as much as across different typefaces. For this reason it defines the letter itself.
This principle is very well abridge in this famous quote by Adrian Frutiger:
“Type is either black or white”.
At the same time the blackness of a letter influences the flow of a page since it has a huge impact on the visual tone of a mass of text on a page. The blacker the letters of a typeface are, the stronger is its type colour and its predominance in comparison with other typefaces. Taking a modular typeface (in this case the one designed by Wim Crouwel for the Stedelijk Museum in 1968) we can say that the blackness of a letter depends on how many black units are used to construct it.
Following this principle I turned the letters and the typeface into a mass of black blocks for which I decided to print two specimen posters in the letterpress workshop. The connection with ink, metal lead and letterpress was ineluctable. Since the number of square dingbats was not sufficient I had to set and print one line of text at the time and redesign the grid I was using twice in order to adapt it to the needs of both posters.
Due to time limitations, I could not print this booklet in letterpress too as planned. The very same Wim Crouwel once said:
“You cannot do better design with a computer, but you can speed up your work enormously”.