The Print Bay Chronicles: A Face Lift, a New Font, and a Lasting Legacy

Vintage… Retro… A curated, collaborative experience… No matter how you describe it, there’s one thing abundantly clear about the Honors College Print Bay — this space is popular. Each month, excited new faces pour into the Honors College Print Bay eager to step away from the digital world and get some ink on their hands. While the space is already pulling in students of all majors, Print Bay Director and Honors College Professor J. Peter Moore admits it’s not quite complete.

Students select type in the Honors Print Bay.

“This still feels a bit like classroom overflow,” Moore explained. “It’s a makeshift place. We want to establish a culture, a set of practices around the press, and to make it a more visually inviting place.”

In fact, a face lift is on the way. Moore recently secured grant funding that will allow significant Print Bay upgrades, including new shelving options, cabinetry, and a table-top paper guillotine. More importantly, it will help the Honors College to pay tribute to world renowned typographer and Purdue alum Bruce Rogers.

Considered one of the greatest book designers of the twentieth century, Rogers created Centaur font in 1914. Classically elegant and slender in design, the serif typeface was inspired by Renaissance-period printing. By adding Centaur, the Honors College hopes to become a research destination for historians and students looking to interact with Rogers’ legacy first-hand. 

“I am somewhat of a romantic when it comes to neglected practices like printing,” Moore said. “I’m encouraging scholars to relish in the sociality of the act. Printing is extremely demanding of a single person, but incredibly fulfilling when done in a collaborative group.”

Centaur Font
Courtesy: Purdue Press

Thanks to grant funding, the Print Bay will order a complete run of Centaur font. This will not only allow students to compose small or large jobs featuring the typeface quickly, but will also pave the way for Moore to build courses, panels, and print-based workshops using Rogers as a central research topic. 

“It’s exciting to see the Print Bay cut across various disciplines so effectively,” Moore added. “It is bringing students who are interested in mechanical engineering, polytech into conversation with students who have more aesthetic/fine art backgrounds. The machine needs to be managed and there are things that need to be printed, so you have two imperatives there that draw upon different disciplines.”  

That unique juxtaposition is already sparking powerful conversations. Moore says he can’t wait to see where the new and improved Print Bay takes those discussions next. 

“Talks about a poem from the 1960s can spark a discussion about what’s going on the contemporary political landscape,” Moore said. “A poem about love can lead into a confessional conversations between two partners working on a project. It is limitless.”