The Daily Heller: Send Your Palate to Heaven

Posted inThe Daily Heller

Graphic designers, like most other humans, cannot live on type and letterforms alone (at least according to my primary care physician). But that’s not what I believed at the time that plans were made with Rob Saunders, founder of the Letterform Archive, which continually serves typographic feasts for gourmets and gourmands, for a forthcoming visit to my apartment last week. Letterform Archive had just published its stunning, long awaited monograph Only on Saturday: The Wood Type Prints of Jack Stauffacher edited by Chuck Byrne, and was on track for the scheduled July release of an exquisite facsimile of the revue Die Fläche: Design and Lettering of the Vienna Secession, 1902-1911. So, I assumed he would bring along treats for my hungry eyes.

In advance of Rob, Letterform’s editorial director Stephen Coles and his illustrator and letterer wife Laura Serra arrived.

“Do you like meringues?” Coles asked before sitting down. “Of course I do,” thinking nostalgically of the lemon meringue pies from my youth. “Well, these are not just any meringues; you’ve never tasted one like this before,” then immediately took two elegant packages from the classy shopping bag. Indeed, I had never seen anything like these little mounds of deliciousness. I stared longingly in anticipation.

“Will Rob arrive soon?” I wondered and hoped.

Then came the knock at the door. Rob! At last! I was anticipating the delicacy that awaited my over anxious palate, when Rob pulled out a set of freshly printed folded and gathered proofs of Die Fläche, which set off a delight sensor in my brain. I didn’t know what to do…

The meringues—in a variety of flavors with a hard shell, specked with shavings of coconut, chocolate and toasted almonds—had a soft creamy, flavorful filling destined to spill onto anything in my hands or lap if I didn’t swallow it down whole. Die Fläche, printed in ravishing color on cream paper, was waiting to be caressed and fawned over. My decision seemed Solomonic: Paper or pastry?

I chose… a coffee meringue. Ohhhhhhhhhmygod!!!

It was like nothing my taste buds had ever experienced. I savored it for seconds that seemed like hours. With the meringue safely consumed and the trace memory of the flavor intact, I turned to the other treat, the gold and black cover and full color pages of Die Fläche, the revue that introduced the world to Austria’s Jugenstil/Art Nouveau design avant garde. To say anything more than WOW would result in verbose excess. You’ll have to experience it.

To say that the marriage of meringues and Die Fläche was heaven on earth is an understatement.

This will forever be my Proustian moment, eternally remembered. Nonetheless, I almost forgot, to say that the pastry comes from Aux Merveilleux de Fred in midtown New York, with locations elsewhere too. Be sure to watch all the videos on Fred’s website for the vicarious pleasure. And for finest publishing of type and typography books visit Letterform Archive. Satisfaction guaranteed.

Posted inThe Daily Heller