A few of you who know me beyond school realize that I am a “hands on” person. Some might say “old school.” Well, you are right and I actually take that as a compliment. Yes, it’s true that I have been around . . . before dirt, dirt was still rocks when I first started in the design industry, it was even pebbles when I first started teaching. I love a lot of the new technology but nothing beats a great pencil rough, where the headlines are rendered in a recognizable font or a great color maker comp that you can actually still smell the alcohol from the markers. As you might guess I love print but I also love printing and print making. Those of you who have been in my Pre-press class know how excited I get when we take our tours and how much I love talking with all my old friends at the print shops. Well, I am super excited to announce that we are working on a class in Letterpress technology. Letterpress has been enjoying a revival of popularity in the Design industry. Just a few years ago it was practically dead, or at least dying, having been all but replaced by the faster offset lithography. Great things rarely die, they are just reborn or re-invented. Letterpress is unique. It has a quality and visual appearance that is unlike any other printing method. Letterpress actually belongs to the relief category of printing techniques. This primary group holds ink above the plate surface and imprints with a stamping technique. It was first used in fine art printing by Chinese artist using wood cut techniques, later used by Gutenburg in combination with movable type and his invention of the first printing press.
We are working hard to create a partnership with Fine Arts Engraving, one of the finest commercial letterpress shops in the country, to offer a hands on class in letterpress techniques. It looks like we might be able to offer a 1 hour intro course next year that will meet two consecutive weekends at Fine Arts facilities. We will be using their equipment, presses and type to experiment with actual letterpress printing. Because this first intro class will be a short block class we will probably only complete one simple project. We will work with hand set moveable type and type high images to create an actual printed ink on paper piece.
So, get ready to get some ink under your fingernails and. . .
Here is a fun link for an app that simulates Letterpress on your iPad or iPhone.