In my last pretty heavy thought post last week I mentioned that I had a lot going on lately and really wasn’t sure what I was doing with my life. Well, I’ve been in that rut for a while and thought, why not add something? Perhaps not the most logical idea but when the opportunity to get into a letterpress apprenticeship program arose, I jumped at it no questions asked. Now, you may be wondering what letterpress is. Letterpress is an old fashioned printing method. Think type-setting. Think meticulous spacing, the smell of old equipment, and the feeling of a connection to times past that is intoxicating and wonderful. Can you tell I love it already?
I don’t have images of the studio to share with you, that may come later, but I do have an image of a first small assignment that I think turned out decently well. We were asked to bring a short text to set and print, and I immediately thought of Imogen Heaps Neglected Space. I knew the lyrics would be a perfect fit to be set in type and printed using an old method. Thus I chose the phrase ‘I’m a story in mourning, and you’re the author / so pour out your masterpiece.’ I love how the small project turned out and am eager to try another (my sketchbook is overflowing with ideas but I will have to learn more to carry them out). But for now, I must say that I am excited to learn such a detail oriented and historical craft. I am learning in an up-and-coming studio and can’t wait until I am able to roam free and print my own projects.
One thing I can certainly say is this, graphic design has so much more meaning now. Settings that were normally very abstract in programs on the computer are now very, very real. Changing the leading of type literally means adding another piece of metal, often lead. Most of the intangible ideas of graphic design on the computer are now tangible and mean so much more. If you are in graphic design, and get the chance to work in a letterpress studio, even for a one day workshop, do it. It is worth every second. Who knows where this will take me.