Editor’s note: With the opening match of this year’s football world cup, our printer Daniel and our intern Robyn decided to print all results of the tournament as a limited edition letterpress poster (available here)—not an easy undertaking given a limited character set for many similar match results. Robyn documented this process and tells the story of challenges and constraints in her own words alongside pictures by our in-house photographer Norman:

The 2018 FIFA World Cup turned out to be a football tournament full of unexpected results: Germany dropped out much sooner than most had expected, England reached a world cup semi-final for the first time in 28 years (and actually won a penalty shootout), while Croatia made it all the way to the final for the first time in World Cup history. Before we knew any of these results, we decided to dedicate a poster to them.

The idea is simple: we printed a limited edition of 50 posters that display the results of all matches from group stage and knockout round with the final match at the center. Louis Oppenheim’s Fanfare with its flamboyant figures seemed like the perfect fit—not to mention the diamond-shaped period and colon. Before anything else, Daniel and I began setting up a modular grid system that would work for the process of typesetting over a course of four weeks.

During my internship I have become familiar with the constraints of letterpress. Equipped with a limited amount of certain figures and punctuation marks in the given typecase, planning became an essential part of the production process in a poster that exists merely of figures and colons. In our 72 point Fanfare there are just four colons and three ‘1’ available. ‘1:0’ turned out to be the most frequent result of the group stage, followed by ‘2:1’. With 64 match results in total, we ended up printing each copy over 20 times.


Some statistics of figure frequency in match results of the tournament:

33×0 39×1 34×2 14×3 5×4 2×5 1×6


2018 07 16 P98A Wm Poster Np 113852
Making sketches, calculating the grid and planning ahead means half the work and saves you trouble later on.
2018 07 16 P98A Wm Poster Np 112710
We picked Louis Oppenheim’s Fanfare typeface in 72 point with its flamboyant figures and diamond-shaped colon.
2018 07 16 P98A Wm Poster Np 112713
Working in grids means you need to get your spacing right.

During the world cup, each day at p98a started with typesetting the results from the previous day, inking, printing 50 runs and cleaning the machine again. In the afternoon we watched the next games, crossing our fingers that they would not all end at ‘1:1’, because that demanded extra print-runs. While setting the next results, Daniel and I had to keep in mind the extra white space with special attention for the final result.

2018 07 16 P98A Wm Poster Np 112847
Each day at p98a started with typesetting the results from the previous day—followed by inking, printing, and cleaning.

Printing all results from just one photopolymer plate—as p98a has done a lot lately—would have certainly been the easier solution. It does not make a lot of sense to put so much effort into a poster, but watching it take shape in the middle of the world cup fever turned this into a very ambitious one-month project. I learned a lot about letterpress. Each day I had to achieve the same printing quality as the previous day, which made me figure out the appropriate amount of ink and pressure. While the design came into being, I had to take irreversible mistakes and the constraints of letterpress into account. Lastly, a good calculation of the grid system turned out to be half the work and is once again proof that grids have been an essential part of typography long before the digital age.

2018 07 16 P98A Wm Poster Np 154049
France vs. Croatia in the final match of the 2018 World Cup.

The complete poster sums up all of the matches and celebrates every country that participated in the world cup, instead of just pointing out the winners. Looking at the final print, this abstraction of the tournament feels like an appropriate collector’s item for football fans and numbers enthusiasts.


The 2018 World Cup poster is printed on MetaPaper Rough Warm White 160 gsm in black and Pantone warm red ink, from original metal type on our Korrex Berlin Kraft, 70×50 cm. This edition is limited to 50 numbered copies. Buy the poster here.

Po 048 S

Fanfare

  • wide
  • 72 point