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This limited edition monograph of mid-century design icon Jean Royère (1902-1981), published in 1991, is the most cherished piece Mrs. Collins has ever designed. It was produced totally off-line, which means each color was its own press run and the pages were taken off of the press and allowed to dry. Once the color had time to cure, forming a base for the next color, the pages were put back on the press—an extremely challenging process to achieve with technology back then. Even more daunting is the registration, keeping the colors in areas where they should be and not spreading into areas where they should not, all achieved through offset technology, which was commonly in use at the time. The type, Mergenthaler’s Helvetica Neu Ultra Lite, was set using photo-composition, a process that pre-dates digital font technology (when it was necessary to purchase typesetting services from a professional typesetting company, such as Photo-lettering, according to Steven Heller in a 2011 Atlantic magazine article “The most important typeface company of the ’60s”).

The paper is Mohawk Superfine, itself a testament to mid-century design first custom specified by AIGA Medalist Alvin Eisenman, for A Pictorial History of Yale, first published approximately 70 years ago.

Collins’s Jean Royère monograph was printed and Smythe-sewn (the real way, by hand) by Stinehour Press. The “mechanicals” (or art files as we would call them today) were created by hand, the old fashioned way, one board for each two-page spread, layers of acetate (one layer for each color to be printed on that particular spread). On each layer was glued (with rubber cement) all the elements to be printed on that page in that color, be it text or image. The mechanicals for this project were meticulously created by Ted Owen who was executive creative director of packaging, world-wide, for Clinique cosmetics.

4-5/8″ wide by 12″ tall, 59 numbered pages plus end pages and blind embossed jacket.

Inside pages of Jean Royére, limited edition monograph designed by Nancy Sharon Collins
Inside pages of Jean Royére, limited edition monograph designed by Nancy Sharon Collins.