Linotype: The Movie

 In Disfluent by Design, Featured, Observed, The Printed Word

With the success of Helvetica: The Movie, and the forthcoming Herbert Matter movie, it would seem natural that someone would create a film about the rise and fall of Linotype. For those who don’t know, Linotype revolutionized the typesetting industry in the 19th century allowing vast amounts of text to be set quickly by a single operator by pushing buttons on a…wait for it…keyboard. Prior to this, printing type was “composed” by picking up individual characters and setting them, one by one, into a letterpress printing press.

By contrast, the Linotype machines with their Rube-Goldberg-like functionality, allowed publications—primarily newspapers—to greatly speed the dissemination of information in much the same way that the web and email have changed the way we get news today. Not only was Linotype responsible for the machines, they were responsible for developing the typefaces as well and many of the faces we use today still bear their trademark.

But, sadly, by the 1960s, newer technology—first phototypesetting and later digital typesetting—effectively ended the reign of the hot-metal type machines.

There is a Kickstarter campaign to help raise $8000 to get the film funded. Learn more about the film at

The Making of a Promotional Poster from Linotype: The Film on Vimeo.

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