Oh, but I am envious of Dwiggins! The work he did! The fun he had!

The serious reader will forgive the exclamation points, I hope. Of all the designers of printed matter whom I admire—and they are legion—William Addison Dwiggins outstrips them all for sheer inventiveness and joie de vivre. Not for W.A.D. the pious formality of Daniel Berkeley Updike or the delicate historicism of Bruce Rogers, nor the icy perfection of the Swiss modernists. For “Dwig” the page was a playground where he made type, illustration, color, even the paper itself his very serious toys.

If the word “creative” has, in recent decades, picked up a disagreeable tang—an odor of artiness, temperamentalism, and unreliability—Dwiggins’s career embodies...


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