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Carl Hertzog

Carl Hertzog

Though masterful, Edwin Hill had a minimal impact on Texas printing. It remained for another El Paso printer, Carl Hertzog, to establish the reputation of both that border city and Texas printing at large. He arrived in El Paso in 1923 to work for the W.S. McMath Company. Over the course of fifty years in this harsh, sunlit, spacious, and ancient land, his exacting standards revealed that printing, undertaken with care and pride, can be an art.

At the time of Hertzog’s arrival, Texas books generally showed no taste in typography, no knowledge of spacing and proportion, and were poorly printed on cheap paper. The sheets were clapped haphazardly into bindings consisting of whatever material happened to be at hand. Hertzog recognized the importance of harmony between form and content. He carefully considered a multitude of factors: type, paper tone and texture, inking (even to the degree of blackness), arrangement of the page, and binding materials. All of these elements had to combine in a natural and seemingly effortless way to establish an appropriate mood for each book. He believed, like famed designer Bruce Rogers, that “a beautiful book should first be an efficient instrument; it should be legible and easy to read. It may be at the same time a work of art, with a beauty and personality of its own.”

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