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Re-print of historic text lands award for Okanagan College professor
Okanagan College Media Release

Greenboathouse PressA new printing of a classic essay on typography has resulted in a prestigious book design award for an Okanagan College English professor.

Jason Dewinetz, who specializes in typography and teaches letterpress printing in “The Bunker” at the Vernon campus, received second place in the Limited Edition category in this year’s Alcuin Society Awards for Excellence in Book Design in Canada.

Dewinetz’s book was among 41 titles that were acknowledged in this year’s awards, selected from 236 entries submitted by 112 publishers – all Canadian.

Dewinetz chose to reprint Stanley Morison’s essay First Principles of Typography. The British typographer, who created the Times New Roman font and died in 1967, is considered to be the most influential typographic scholar of the 20th Century.

“Morison's essay is one of the most important introductions to typography, and has been published in dozens of editions, yet there have not been many fine-press productions of the work,” Dewinetz said. “And, frankly, I wanted a nice copy of the essay for myself, which is usually the driving force for most of the books I make.”

With that in mind, Dewinetz produced a limited edition of 50 copies of the book, each one selling for $200.

“This modest little book is delicately handled with meticulous craftsmanship,” wrote the judges in granting the award.

The judges also appreciated Dewinetz’s decision to marry both old and new techniques, starting with his selection of type – a modified version of Romanée, a very rare early 20th-century metal type designed by Jan van Krimpen – a Dutch contemporary of Morison. Dewinetz then revived the type by converting it into a digital format, which was used to produce polymer printing plates.

“The bigger type size makes a dry text more approachable,” the judges wrote.

This marks the tenth Alcuin Society award for Dewinetz, who publishes his limited edition books through his company Greenboathouse Press, based in Vernon. Dewinetz also acted as judge for the 2007 Alcuin Society Awards.

This latest award means Dewinetz’s book can now take part in a number of exhibitions including one at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, and as one of the books representing Canada at the Best Book Design from All Over the World competition held each year in Leipzig, Germany.

Dewinetz shares his expertise with the next generation in Okanagan College’s Writing and Publishing program where students learn how to set type and pull proofs by hand. Projects have included the creation of chapbooks under the Kalamalka Press imprint, including the winning manuscript of the inaugural John Lent Poetry/Prose Award.