A Word About Letterpress

It is a shame that I do not own my own letterpress. If I did, not only would you see really cool things in my etsy shop all the time, I would also be a much happier person. Alas, my tiny apartment and my tiny budget would never allow it. Nonetheless, I am still hopelessly obsessed with the loveliness that is letterpress.

I would say, in general, I am a textural person. Texture means a lot to me. Whether it’s food, or paper, or an image – if the texture isn’t right, I’m not going to like it. I think this is probably true for a lot of people. We thrive on texture because we like to gather that kind of tactile information from the things around us.

This is why letterpress is so cool. It gives you an extra dimension. It gives you form, color, line, spacing, content, AND texture. Maybe you want to know a little history about letterpress (or maybe you don’t, in which case you can skip right on down to the eye candy.)

From wikipedia: Letterpress printing is relief printing of text and image using a press with a “type-high bed” printing press and movable type, in which a reversed, raised surface is inked and then pressed into a sheet of paper to obtain a positive right-reading image.

So, you’ve got your letter forms (or fonts, which are the metal stamp like pieces that are backwards – not to be confused with typefaces which are the actual letter form designs themselves) and any graphic elements that you have a press piece for, and you lay them all out how you want them. Then you ink all the metal pieces and lay your paper on top. Then the press literally presses the letter into the paper. On most things it doesn’t press it in too deeply, which is why in books and things that used to be made on letter presses there wasn’t a very deep indentation, however the coolest stuff is pressed deep and leaves an awesome level difference from ink to paper.

These days letterpress is mostly used for things like invitations, business cards, and art. There’s definitely been a resurgence in its popularity, but it is very expensive because it is much more labor intensive. However, if you have the means I highly recommend it – it is so choice.

As your daily dose of eye candy here are some awesome letterpress pieces and some links:

And some links:

Vertallee Press

The Hungry Workshop

Paper Mill Designs

Some of my favorite Etsy finds: