©2020 Built with love by Nick Howland.

TYPE / Letterpress Design / Final Prints & Process

TYPE / Letterpress Design / Final Prints & Process
October 10, 2012 nick howland

In typography, we are throwing it back a bit and learning about setting type for letterpress printing. This project is further exposing us to typographical terms, teaching us about spacing, and very much is an exercise in craft.

After the second crit, we (me and Tessa) realized that we needed to go back into in and alter our design some. We needed to explore the quote more as well as push the concept and overall design. We wanted to maintain the font we originally used for the first mockups, but we felt like we needed to make it more visually interesting and conceptually connected to the quote. You can see my original design here.

The fonts we used are 36 point Italicized Helvetica and 12 point Bernard Gothic.

This is what the finished design (in Illustrator) looked like:

Final Design-Letterpress-NH

We ended up focusing on the two different and distinct parts of the quote: people ignoring design and design ignoring people. The part I chose was design ignoring people. Instead of flipping the text upside down like I originally had it in my first digital mockups, I decided to break the words in half, stack them, not include any actual leading between these boxes of text, but then include some leading between the words to make them slightly more legible, but without spacing them out too much. Here is some of the process of redesigning the digital mockup:

[nggallery id=10]

Getting to the actual printing, setting up the lockup was by far the most time consuming. It took a while to get the right furniture to fit in and to pack the chase tight enough that the letters, furniture, and spacing didn’t fall out. One thing I came to realize is that if you tighten the quoins down too much, it pushes the materials downwards and can make them actually extend past the bottom of the chase. This makes it difficult to print because the chase becomes uneven when it is set down.

[nggallery id=7]

Originally, we set out to print on the Kelsey press but, after running through a few tests, we realized that, for some reason, the press was embossing the bottom part of our print but not the rest. The only thing I could think of is that something affected the pressure which caused the embossing of only the lower part of the design as well as an uneven distribution of ink We migrated to the larger press bed to the right of the Kelsey and experimented with packing to see if we could get a slight embossing. After messing around with packing and ink levels, we came to the conclusion that one sheet of larger chipboard and two sheets of copy paper created the perfect amount of pressure to get a slight and even embossing.

For my experimentation prints, I left the lockup as is, but further explored transparency and overlay of color. I used red and yellow to lay over one another, which helped give the print even more dimension. I also used Tessa’s quote in a way to further explore overlay and transparency by printing it on top of a print of my quote. I used turquoise for Tessa’s block and used white for mine. Here are our final prints, mine on the right and Tessa’s on the left:


Here are all of my prints:

[nggallery id=9]

And finally, here is a print showing the measurements:

Letterpress Print Measurements-1

For the measurements, I utilized two of the thicker leading strips (6 point thickness?) in the leading between the larger blocks of text. The leading separating the words “people” from the rest of the text is three of the thicker leading pieces (6 points each?).