Letterpress Workshop

Letterpress is pretty much a dead typing method as with the arrival of the new form of digital writing. Although it is a dying method, it is still used commercially for things like high-class business cards, fancy wedding invitations, homely farmers, market jam jar labels… and there is also fine art private presses who publish limited edition books for collectors.

Letterpress print can often be time-consuming but rather fashionable, the way of applying type as it requires energy and meticulous motions when putting together large bodies of text. However, some people are still using it as it is more than just letters on paper. This letters can be felt and touch; they have a classic feel, a hint of royalty on paper.

I think it is remarkable how the letterpress printing could be very flexible as the text isn’t coming packed as words but individual letterforms of different sizes. One thing that I really like about letterpress print, and I could say it is one of my favourite effects, is the embossing effect you get by printing using nothing but the ink-less letterpress.

This is what I call an old keyboard. This is a guide that helped me find the letterforms I needed.

Below here, are some examples of my mock-up prints of my name using the letterpress print technique I learned this morning.

So here it is, the way we set out text using different size spacing in order to place the text where we want it on the page.

However, as mentioned before, this is a long process and it took me a while to get my head around it. One of the main factors for making spelling mistakes when writing big blocks of text is the method of building up the plate with text. In order to get it right, I had to place the letterforms upside down, from the bottom to the top and from the right to the left; this made my job twice as harder. Except, if I only had one line of text, then things could have been less difficult. Though, in the outcome above, I still made spelling and spacing mistakes even with one line of text.

In comparison with the nowadays technology letterpress was much harder to make adjustments. So to do that you had to loosen up the margins in order to make modifications.

Therefore, David asked us to bring a quote in for the letterpress workshop with Tom in order to use it as the content for our print outcomes. Unfortunately, I ran out of letters and failed to complete the whole quote as there was more of us using the same typeface and some of the letters were repeated many times within our quotes. Although I did manage to shorten up the quote and got this for an outcome.


However, note that the kerning and the leading are almost perfect which improves the readability and the legibility of the text despite the inverted letters within some of the words. I think the outcome still looks good and works quite well as well.

I was quite proud of my result. I think it is a good experience to have. This may be something I would want to use in the future briefs as I think this type of print can bring along exciting results to contemporary design. Who knows this may be your little old-fashioned secret technique to bring unique features to your designs.




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