Martino Mardersteig, Opero Publishing
In November 2014, Michael Davis and his wife Jyll paid a visit to Verona, Italy, to meet with me and to illustrate an important project they had in mind. Michael had studied the work of Rudolf Steiner for many years and wanted to initiate the publication of a revised and updated English edition of a selection of Dr. Steiner’s writings in a high quality, elegant, and accessible edition. The question they came to ask was if I would undertake the design and oversee the production of this project. It took only one week to consult collaborators and suppliers in order to return a positive answer about this potential engagement.
Samples with various typefaces were prepared, all with the intention of making the books easy to read while using classical fonts.
On May 31, 2015, when we first met with Christopher Bamford (and the next day with Michael and Jyll), we had to decide on the typeface, paper, and binding. We met in the offices of Opero Publishing—more precisely, with Riccardo Pinali, one of the two partners. This is where the production is based, and where it is followed step by step from the pagination to binding. We quickly agreed on all of the most important decisions, as evidently our tastes came from similar dispositions.
The typography and pagination have been designed for ease and function, such that the words may to lift off the page towards the reader.
The font we selected was Caslon 540, derived from the Linotype cut of 1902, in a special version modified by me to increase the legibility in this size and content and to get closer to the original letterpress look.
We believe that the color of the Munken Pure paper (slightly off-white creme) helps with readability and has a more pleasant surface. It will be used in three different weights, depending on the number of pages in each book, so that the spines are all of similar width.
Our extensive experience with special bindings led to the selection, for the “trade edition” in 750 books, of a leather-spine binding with cloth sides and a light slipcase, whereas, for the hand-numbered edition (100 books), the binding will be in full leather with a hand-gilt top of the pages, and a fine, stiff, cloth-covered slipcase. The leather is blue calfskin, and the title stamping on the spines is in genuine gold leaf. All of this will be carried out by hand at one of the finest binders, Ruggero Rigoldi.