Freshly Laundered 023 / Matt Braun


Senior Designer Matt Braun lives and works just down the street from us here in Pittsburgh. As part of the team at Bearded he designs award winning websites for clients near and far. Here we’ve interviewed him about his love of Type and his work in relation to that.

CB: Here at CB we’ve been supporters of Wood Type Revival since the very beginning. Tell us, how did you come to fall in love with Type?

MB: Aw, thanks guys. I don’t think I was fully able to appreciate the intricacies of type until I got hooked on letterpress. Most of my early career was web work, and at that time the type choices were fairly limited. I started letterpress so I could work with type and design on something that wasn’t a computer. As I started collecting type and interacting with it in the physical form, I came to admire all the fine details that make a face unique. For example: French Octagon, one of my favorite faces from the project. It’s such a unique take on the traditional Mansard style. The thickness of the horizontal strokes gives it that commanding presence, and helped the face stand out in those 19th century newspapers. I haven’t seen anything like it before or since. And we unearthed it right here in the South Side of Pittsburgh!


CB: Where do you usually find new fonts for your letterpress? Is that the sort of thing you can snag on Craigslist/eBay? Come across one in an unusual place

MB: Are you asking me to reveal my secrets? Well ok, it’s on the internet so I guess it can be easily deleted if I regret it, right? I’ve found most of my type on Craigslist. I search regularly and try to go check out any leads that might have letterpress related items. I’ve bought a lot of type and equipment from the old shops around town that were closing down like Magnetic press, Admore press, Olah press and the late hobby printer Dan Tarr.

I’ve also just walked into print shops and asked them if they have anything to sell. Matt Griffin and I walked into a shop in Buffalo, NY once and asked if they had any letterpress items to which they responded by laughing at us. I first thought they were just going to tell us to go away but turns out they had one of the largest collections of metal type I’ve ever seen. We’re talking rooms of wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling, cabinets of type. Twenty or thirty years ago that would of been common, but not now.

Occasionally, I will find something rare on eBay that I can’t pass up but that usually comes at a high price tag. I wouldn’t say I’ve found any in an unusual place but the quality of stuff I’ve found in common places has been pretty amazing.


CB: Do you have a favorite typeface? Do you look for different things in a typeface you’d use for web design versus one you’d use for a letterpress project?

MB: I wouldn’t say I have a favorite typeface although I’m definitely partial to mansards, shaded faces, and extended gothics. We also have two wood type scripts in the Bearded collection that I always find myself trying to include in projects.

The process of choosing a typeface has a lot to do with tone, rhythm, and contrast (among other concerns). In letterpress, you often have to resort to using what’s in your cabinets and making it work. Because I’m mostly designing posters, decisions are largely aesthetically based, and depending on the project might not have to be legible. Many times I will try to achieve a certain rhythm for the layout and subject matter. For the web, there are a lot of practical concerns for the medium. Readability, how it renders at smaller sizes or different browsers or devices, number of weights, and performance often play into the decision after tone has been established.


CB: Do you have any new personal projects coming up that you’re excited about?

MB: No, nothing specific at the moment. We have a lot of exciting things happening at Bearded right now and with a baby, I have my hands full. I did recently start selling prints under the name of Outdated Press with my friend Dan Maldonado. So I’ve been trying to get into the shop a bit more to print. There might be a series of prints based on the wood type collection coming up but nothing definite yet.


CB: Speaking of kids, do you hope to pass on your love of type to your son? Do you think you’ll have him in the workshop with you in a few years?

MB: Currently, he is the heir to a small fortune in type and over a ton in cast iron presses, I hope he loves it! If not, thats ok, I hope he sells and uses the money for something that he enjoys.

It will be a little while before I get him into the shop, letterpress is not the safest of hobbies to have. But when he’s ready, I will make him sit through hour long monotone lectures about the craft. Kids love that, right?

CB: They definitely do! Thanks for chatting with us Matt.

To see what Matt is up to, you can find him on twitter, instagram, dribbble, or his personal site. You can also check out projects he is involved with: Wood Type Revival, Outdated Press, What Comes Next Is The Future.