A Personal Memorial Day Remembrance

POSTED ON May 29, 2017

Joel Friedlander

Written by Joel Friedlander

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Today in the United States we are celebrating Memorial Day, a federal holiday to remember people who died while serving in the armed forces. There are parades, visits to military cemeteries, and enough people grilling in their backyards to create smog inversions nationwide.

Also, it’s the official start of the summer season here.

While respecting the debt we owe to those who serve to protect the rest of us, I’ve been thinking of my own remembrances today, and the many people who are gone now, but who provided me with powerful help, who educated and helped sustain me throughout my own journey in book publishing.

So this is who I’m giving thanks for today.

Roy Friedlander—Of course, it starts with my dad, who was also a veteran of World War II combat in Europe. Roy taught me a lot of what I know about letterpress printing, about organizing your work area, about taking the care that high quality work demands. And how to be a human being while doing it.

Felix Morrow—My publishing mentor, who showed me how to think on a much larger scale than I had ever experienced before, who taught me about book clubs, and who became for me a model of active aging by staying vital and engaged into his 80s.

Michael Hoffman—Publisher of photography books and periodicals at Aperture, Michael hired me as his Director of Production and handed me $1 million worth of books to produce. He taught me how traditional publishing works, and showed through his intelligence and good will how to deal with even the most high-maintenance artists.

Ernie Lindner—An avid collector of printing equipment, Ernie took me on an epic trip to Britain to buy antique hand printing presses. Ernie’s knowledge, enthusiasm, and dedication to the history of printing technology showed me how much we owe to the past.

Nicholas Jenson—Okay, Jenson lived in the 16th century, so he wasn’t really a mentor of mine, but I fell in love with his graceful yet powerful Roman typeface and, when it came time to design our own font, my friend Alan Sanders and I picked his design as our ideal model.

Dan Poynter—Dan passed away in 2015, but he left behind tens of thousands of published authors—including me—who owe a lot of the credit for publishing our own books to the rational, step-by-step process that Dan pioneered in his classic Self-Publishing Manual. When I finally started meeting Dan at industry events, I found him to be as informed, amusing, and generous as he was in print.

Hermann Zapf—Zapf also passed away in 2015, but leaves behind many of the most-used typeface designs of all time. Beyond that, Zapf had a real appreciation for the artistic possibilities of typography, and when I use Optima, Palatino, Melior, or one of his other faces, I appreciate the incredible care and artistry that went into these designs.

Well, there are some of my remembrances from my own professional journey. Click the links to find out more about any of these folks.

Feel free to share with us who or what you’re remembering today.

Or, just head back to the barbecue and I’ll see you on Wednesday.

Joel Friedlander

Written by
Joel Friedlander

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