Letter Press Workshop

The Letter Press workshop was something that I was really looking forward to as it was something that I wanimg_0167t to have a go at. Letter press is the oldest form of printing, designed so text could be mass produced, such as for books or newspapers. The workshop was on a much smaller scale.

The process uses raised letter incased in a chase, you have to place the letters within it to create the words. However the letters have to be placed upside down, so that when it came to printing it reads the right way, this part was rather tricky. The process of printing is fairly quick, its the typesetting which is the most time consuming, which I found out.

The workshop took place in a small room just off a larger printing room. As you walked into the room, you could see rows of wooden draws full of different types of metal letter fonimg_0174ts, which were at our disposal. As there was quite a few of us taking the workshop there was only limited amount of certain letters, so I decided that I would use a variety of different fonts. I did find though that the packing process, (which makes sure that the letters all stimg_0168ay in place ready to be used for printing), was a lot more fiddly, and it took quite some time to get right, without them all falling out at the bottom. While working on the typesetting we had to use metal blocks in-between the words to create spaces and long strips of leading which was placed underneath the words to create the vertical space between the lines. I learnt that this is actually where the typography term leading derives from.

After the typesetting, I was ready to use the printing press. We were using oil based ink, we had red and charcoal black. I used a roller to spread the ink on the the surface of the raised letters. Then placing the paper that i wanted to print onto, along with some extra padding on top, I proceeded to push a large roller over the top to make the print.

My first print as you can see in the picture below showed all the letters that I got back to front on the typesetting. Once I made correctionimg_0169s, I was able to print many prints. It was very satisfying process and the final outcome I was really please with.

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This is something that I will defiantly be doing again. Id like to play about with more type fonts and colours.

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