To me, Pressing On: The Letterpress Film had a very melancholy feeling about the future of the letterpress. It wanted to be hopeful, but had a strong push of ideas of dying out and forgotten tools. And admittedly, when it comes to bigger book selling stores that require enormous quantities of each printing, letterpress will ultimately be beaten by faster modern technologies. But, I do not think the letterpress’s use is gone forever.
Modern people will still use the press for their own smaller stories and creations because it is so unique. Each pressed piece is connected to its creation and its creator. Beyond just the basic individual styles that letterpress has, each printed piece is its own original thing. Even when it may look like others, it could perhaps have ink missing in a letter or a spilled dot somewhere else on the page. Letterpress naturally has a handcrafted feeling to it that at least a small grouping of people will appreciate.
Plus since letterpress allows creators to create whatever they would like, pieces can be much more experimental. They do not have to fill any forms the big store company books may. Letterpress work can be of any topic, style, etc. that the creator wants without the conformity. This allows many stories not normally mentioned to be able to be posted and shown.
I know personally I am learning about graphic design and more digital arts, but when it comes down to it, I tend to work traditionally. I love learning different types of materials and seeing what can be made out of their processes. And I’m sure I am not the only one. People will still love and appreciate the process that goes into making it. They will love to visually see that an artist they like has worked on something and support that. Letterpress will in the end be pushed by it’s personal aspects and artistic styles.
Pressing On: The Letterpress Film, 2017, https://www.letterpressfilm.com/. Accessed 12 October 2021.
4 thoughts on “Lett-Er Run, Press”
Of course you’re not the only one! Great post – I appreciate how you chimed in from a designer’s perspective. I think that you’ll be inspired to visit Meshwork this afternoon and see how the tangible experience of design afforded by letterpress brings more “process” into the mix, i.e., with product. Process becomes a very real part of the product in letterpress–in fact, the ways type can age or get nicked, etc., have become valued parts of the aesthetic.
I know for me when it comes to art, although i love seeing all sorts of graphic design and digital art, nothing will ever beat traditional styles of art! There’s so much technique that must be learned to create art like that, and they’re skills that can take years to fully develop; you’re so right in that letter pressing is no different! There’s just something so special about working on a letterpress, and definitely with it fading away a bit, it leaves so much room for new artists to get creative about whatever design and form they wish.
I really like how you express your initial feelings and observations about The Letterpress Film. I also agree that the letterpress’s use is not gone forever. You are definitely not the only one that likes to visualize how projects are made in a more traditional way. I also prefer to work with my hands and try new materials and techniques to see what can be made out of their processes.
I agree that the continuation of the letterpress will be left to those who find value in the intimacy of it, and I also relate to your feelings about working traditionally with art. It always feels more satisfying to finish a traditional piece than a digital piece, for part of me has certainly become intertwined into the traditional one. This sentiment will drive letterpress, as you mention.