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Category Archives: letter press

This summer at CSM(Central Saint Martins), in the Holborn campus i’ve ran across several different studios like the huge wood athelier, the metal studio and personally most amazingly the letterpress studio where students can make their own letterpressing via using different print colors and metal types of many different font families.

The metal letters were placed in tiny boxes -the letter L in a rectangular box, the number 9 in another horizontal one, “,” in another box etc- and there was a little guide map to make life easier by showing the mapping of the letters in boxes. We could easily find where each letter bundle was placed in the big drawer and place them as tight as possible on a row which is stable by a ruler-like metal block -to arrange all the kerning and spacing- and also stabled at the bottom of each row by various-width thin metal blocks for leading purposes. For spacing, we had 5 different thicknesses of plain metal blocks, which required a little more precision and profession to complete the row, and hold it, once again as tight as possible so that nothing would move throughout the pressing on paper process.

First i went for Univers 65 -i’m a bit obsessive with the Univers family- yet we weren’t allowed to use the letters in the bottom drawers so as a second choice, i went for Franklin Gothic. I’ve written a random sentence, like the whole class did, and my tag below. Everyone used different fonts and result press was a bunch of different types on one canvas. The workshop leader color a huge wheel in two different colors; she mixed pink and yellow and turned the wheel for a while so that the colors were blended in the middle and still sharp and flat towards the edges. We had 3 colors on the wheel, which meant that we would have 3 different colors on the paper. Then the metal letters were placed below the colored wheel and each relief letter -at same height- were colored by the wheel until no metal texture -which meant “white/ blank” on paper- was visible.

The A3 paper was placed in its right place, between two thin wheel-like pieces of the mechanism, you locked the paper there by stepping on another mechanism at foot-level and then released when you were ready to turn the arm-wheel and press the sentences on the paper. The results were amazing in means of hand-made pressing, rather than using a digital printer which could fail you many times in a life-time.

Last year, in my graphic design course, one of my biggest worries was never achieving the right colors, meaning the colors i see on my lcd screen. Well, here, the whole coloring is in your control. You don’t need to see the color on your screen anymore since you have in flesh and blood. You smell the color, you smell the paper, you experience, you print your own material. I didn’t run across to anything more amazing than this in digital printing yet.

Here is the whole process with found images of the stages i’ve been talking about:








And here are the last two images, my own images, the two prints i’ve done at CSM workshop and took with me as a memoir: