Monday, 25 May 2009

ADVENTURES IN LETTERPRESS - Part 1

Yesterday I became the proud owner of a letterpress printing press! (well, it's been ordered - hopefully will arrive in a week or so.)

Now, I firstly need to admit that I know next to nothing about the process in practical terms but as a self confessed Stationery Geek I love the idea of at least giving it a go. So, I hope to share photos of my trials and tribulations with my new "toy" er, sorry, I mean "equipment" with you over the next few months.

As a bit of background . . . when I studied in the late 80s, our year's intake were among the first to use Apple Macs for graphics and typography for degree work so I was an "inbetweener" of two generations of design practitioners. Remember, this was just before the revolution in home computing so I hadn't grown up with one in the house or even really touched one even at school as computer studies back then consisted of drawing flow diagrams with "Goto" labels etc. But I also learnt old school type mark-up, manual artworking with a bromide and scalpel and preparing pristine mock ups for clients tracing from type sheets with a 0.25 Rotring pen. I believe all these disciplines have actually given me really sound handskills for the work I do now.

These days I need to be surgically removed from my laptop and suffer withdrawal symptoms when the internet connection occasionally goes down as it did earlier this weekend. Such is technological evolution! Which brings me back to Letterpress . . . 

So, after 20 years of working on Macs and PCs I've decided to explore the wonderfully archaic and tactile qualities of a little vintage printing press. It was a "bargain" but of course I'm now committed to buying all the stuff I need to get started. It may all end it tears but like every hopeful of X-Factor - I'm now on a journey. 

2 comments:

Stuart Fickling said...

I remember those days, different tech pens 0.25pt, 0.5pt. Doing all your work with pencil, ink, typo sheets that were far too expensive! Then graphic design went tech...but the basics you learn, you never forget and are the building blocks for what we do now. Glad I was as you say an "inbetweener"

Suzanne Osborne - Prettywild Design said...

Hi Stuart and fellow Inbetweener!
Thank you for your comment. I can't believe that we had to trace type sheets and work out line lengths and things for type setters - and if you made a mistake you'd have to literally go back to the drawing board! I couldn't bear going back to all that again but it really did teach you discipline and neatness.