The Magic That Is Letterpress
Some of you digital age kids ;) may not recognize what the images in our introductory post are, so maybe there’s some ’splaining to do. The top image are wood type letters; the bottom one shows metal type. They are used in letterpress, a dwindling printing technique that nevertheless still counts many fervent admirers.
But what better way to demonstrate what exactly letterpress is than by simply showing the printing presses and the people operating them in action? Because, as John Kristensen, proprietor of Firefly Press from Somerville, Massachusetts, testifies, “Ultimately it is the process. What the the printer loves is the doing of it.” Below is a wonderful short film by Chuck Kraemer, who filmed John Kristensen and his apprentice at work.
The video is a touching testimony to a vanishing art. But as John Kristensen expresses, “It will die – eventually – because people will no longer remember how to do it. It’s OK. I’m only responsible for my watch. I’m thankful every day that I get to do this.” Moving stuff.
And for the font spotters among you, the video features cameos by Garamont/Garamond No. 3, Cochin, Bodoni, Bembo, Michelangelo, Bulmer, and Perpetua, amongst others, and assorted borders and ornaments.
The FontFeed is a daily dispatch of recommended fonts, typography techniques, and inspirational examples of digital type at work in the real world. Eat up.
- On Friday 7 November 2008, St Bride Library organizes a one-day conference called Letterpress: A Celebration. According to their press…Read more
- Graphic and motion designer Naomi Ross produced a gorgeous instructional video showing the process of printing letterpress with wood type.…Read more
- I needed extra visual material for “From Metal Scripts to Digital Writing”, my presentation at TYPO Berlin 2012 “Sustain”.…Read more
- Video detailing the creation process and production of the cover insert for the latest Gillian Welch album.…Read more
- The last weekend of May the Hamilton Wood Type & Museum in Two Rivers, Wisconsin hosts a weekend-long celebration of…Read more