The bed of a press, that is. In letterpress printing, the bed of a cylinder press is the flat horizontal surface on which the type is laid. After the type has been set, it is leveled and locked firmly in place on the bed. The rollers are inked, the impression is adjusted, and printing can begin.
Anyone who has worked on a big project, especially one with a deadline, is eager to put it to bed. The expression comes from the production process in printing and publishing. Of course, when the work of the writers, editors, graphic designers, typesetters, and layout artists is done, and both they and the print job are cozily tucked into bed, the printer’s work is only just beginning.
I can’t let the letter B go by without a nod to three serif typefaces:
Baskerville, (a transitional typeface—in-between classical and modern—designed in 1757)
Bembo (a twentieth-century Monotype revival of a fifteenth-century typeface)
Bodoni (a series of modern typefaces designed in the late eighteenth century and “embodying the rational thinking of the Enlightenment”). When I worked at the Godine Press and later with our own Whetstone Press, we lived for typography and fine printing; I’ve fallen out of touch with it these many years, but it all comes back as I thrill to the style and balance of these letters.
And now my deadline looms and it’s time to put this project to bed.