Letterpress to me is where words, a drawing and design come together. It gives me so much freedom to have everything from idea to end-product under one roof.
What is Letterpress?
Letterpress is a technique where you use a machine to press type (letters) deep into paper. Machines where made from the 1400′s through about the mid 1900′s. They’re big cast iron machines and moved out of production because new machinery (process printing) took over.
Why? Because those machines can do 5-10 times the work within the same time frame.
Worth it? Errr, sometimes and for mass print, yes. If you want something special, quality, texture, and authenticity, letterpress is for you.
I own two proof presses of which one is a Korrex (build in 1960). It’s called a Lady’s press because of her size (not her weight as she weighs about 240 kg) and I therefore named her ‘the Lady’.
Letterpress is an entirely hands-on process that requires lots of time to print exactly the way you want it. Letterpress originally began with type that had to be set into the press to achieve the layout and design that you want. I still use wood and lead type (see pics below) because I believe it’s just gorgeous! Designs however are not unlimited because if you don’t have a specific shape, font, etc. in your inventory, then you can’t letterpress the design.
Firstly: I don’t mind being limited as from limitation comes creativity.
Secondly: YES, I like to create and draw and I therefore use a combination of new techniques and old design.
New techniques and the old lady Korrex
I combine digital technology with the old way of letterpress printing. I can turn vector files (illustrator AI & EPS files) into photopolymer plates. These plates have relief, which means you can ink and stamp them on the old lady! With the letterpress printing process, you can print anything that can be made digitally. Wow.
Are you not limited? A little, as you can print one colour per plate. So, the more colours, the more work etc etc.
This is an example of a card I made. Yes, it reveals my age.
Letterpress above anything is craftsmanship and every single piece is unique. Letterpress is perfect for Birthday invitations, business cards, wedding invitations, birth announcements and funeral cards. The opportunities are endless. Just come by and we’ll discuss it over a coffee. Or tea.