Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Who's De-boss!

This is a video about Studio on Fire a design/letterpress studio in Minneapolis. Ben does a good explanation of how a polymer plate is made - they have an all in one plate maker!!!... it vacuums! it exposes! it washes! it dries! it does everything except print!!  I want one!!!  to bad I can't afford one and I don't know how to use photoshop or adobe image maker to create a positive! The last time I made a polymer plate I had to go over to a department called REPROGRAPHY to turn my negative into a positive by actually shooting and exposing another sheet! Guess how young I'm not!

Near the end of the video Ben makes three good points about the abilities of letterpress printing as opposed to modern printing methods. Yep. Letterpress is from a different time when things were done much more slowly and thoughtfully and one had to work within the processes limitations. That's what I like about it!! I know that I can't set and print two hundred pieces in two colours in a couple of  hours! Letterpress takes time, patience, and focus - some things I feel we are starting to lose (some have already lost it!!) in our modern society.

Something to note... what's with all the DE-BOSSING?!? I know that this is what everyone has come to think of when they think "Letterpress", but what happened to having the paper "kiss" the ink for a good print!?! Twenty years ago in school we were taught that the surface of the type/cut was supposed to "kiss" the paper to create the print. The deep de-boss was not practical as you would squash the heck out of the surface of your font or image eventually making them lower than type high and in some cases obliterating detail! As well, too much pressure isn't good for reading if you are printing double sided for a book or newspaper. Wood and metal type are big investments and you wouldn't want to wreck them by putting too much pressure on them. Polymer plates that are widely used now are relatively inexpensive, disposable and removes the need to use wood or metal type. So , I guess you aren't damaging your investment if you are crushing the heck out of your one job polymer plate.

"...Without dispute, Studio On Fire are masters of the design and letterpress world..."

As much as I love their work, I'm not sure I would call Ben a master of the letterpress world, design... perhaps. There are many more letterpress printers out there who are much more deserving but are not in the graphic design world, much more low key and out of the spotlight. Just my opinion, though.

Studio On Fire/ Gestalten TV

1 comment:

t a n y a said...

I'm with you all the way on this one, Akemi. Though I still get star struck whenever I see Studio on Fire's work, I can't help but wonder who else is out there doing exceptional letterpress work that we just don't know about.