Letterpress printing changed the world, but as the world becomes increasingly digital is there still a place for it?
Through a series of interviews with northern-based practitioners, printers and designers, matched with academic desk research, the cultural relevance of the letterpress will be explored, along with how modern technology can be used to breathe new life into the 500-year-old printing method and engage new audiences.
The traditional wood and metal type will be squared against found objects, laser cut blocks, polymer plates, and 3D printed font in a series of comparisons between artists and suggestions on how to make the letterpress relevant in the 21st century.
Looking at changing aesthetics in print questions preservation verses conservation of the craft. This in turn questions the levels of craftsmanship in this new generation and their opportunities to move from an interest to a career, this verses the apprenticeship-trained last generation of analogue printers, with whom the skills may die.
Further exploration of the modern context of letterpress printing aims to explain the resurgence in interest, most notably amongst creatives and graphic designers. The allure of the handmade and the rise in popularity of the artisan maker as a counter balance to modern life is a key argument.
The findings of the research indicate a continual role for the letterpress printer, one that does need to adapt in both the printing method and the output.
> Visiting practitioners
> Documentary film (sample from the work so far below)