Wood & Jones was founded in 1907 by New England pressman Bert Wood and Canadian typographer Fred Jones. A few years later, they built a large shop on Pasadena’s Mercantile Alley, then something of a printers’ row. The next two generations of the Wood family watched the Tournament of Roses Parade pass by the shop’s front door on New Year’s Day. Today the historic building still stands at 139 West Colorado Boulevard, and the original Wood & Jones signage is visible on its façade. Typecraft’s current owner, JJ Gish, got his first job at Wood & Jones as a teenager. He later came back to work at the shop—and wound up buying the business.
Typecraft got its start after World War II when Emer Bates, then the publisher of the Pasadena newspaper, staked a returning flyboy named Len Jasmin to open a print shop. About a decade later, Emer’s son-in-law, Harry Montgomery, came on board to help with the business—and he’s never left to this day. Harry’s knack for sales and deep connections in the Pasadena business community helped Typecraft thrive in the decades ahead. In 2000, Typecraft merged with Wood & Jones, and the combined company moved to Typecraft’s current location on East Walnut Street in Pasadena.
Typecraft has always led the way, identifying and adopting bellwether printing technologies that would later become industry standards. In 1997, we were the first print shop on the West Coast to use innovative computer-to-plate technologies, eliminating the costly and cumbersome steps of photographing layouts and transferring them to plate via film. Typecraft also had an alpha and beta partnership with Prinergy to test then-revolutionary production management software that computerized pre-press workflow.
The Design Community
Typecraft speaks art and design. Since the 1950s, Harry Montgomery’s love of art has inspired the company’s strong ties to the art and design communities. Typecraft has printed a wide range of catalogues and other materials for LACMA, MOCA, and the Hammer Museum. We have ongoing relationships with Otis College of Art and Design and Art Center College of Design. Typecraft also works directly with an extensive network of designers, and we were one of the first printers to join the board of AIGA LA. The AIGA, based in NYC, is the oldest and largest professional association for design in the country. Graphic designers are known for pushing the limits, and Typecraft isn’t afraid to go all the way.
Printing Goes Digital
Today Typecraft is the West Coast demo site for Hewlett-Packard’s digital Indigo presses, including the state-of-the-art Indigo 10000. What can a digital press do? What can’t it do? Digital presses offer all the flexibility and quality of offset lithography even on small print runs. Digital presses eliminate the paper waste and expense associated with offset’s set-up and make-ready. And digital presses allow for next-wave variable printing, in which both text and image can vary from sheet to sheet across the entire print run. With the Indigo 10000’s ability to print on an ever-expanding selection of papers, our digital presses can produce anything—except the smell of printer’s ink.