Skip to content

Lovin’ Letterpress | Week 1

September 15, 2011

I’M HOOKED! Last night was my first letterpress class and I am in love. The second I walked into the Printing & Book Arts Center, affectionately known as PABA, I instantly felt comfortable and inspired. The vibe of the room was great. As you can see from the photos above there is so much to look at!

For our first class we completed two type-setting assignments. The first one was setting our name and address. I opted to set my web address rather than physical address. I used Bernard Fashion in 14pt. The second assignment was to set this clever mnemonic to help remember the layout of the California job case. I used Twentieth Century Medium in 14pt. What can I say? I love sans-serifs! We had enough time to run some proofs – I was happy to see I didn’t spell anything wrong and the type was all facing the right direction! Next week we will be making final prints and start working on new projects. I can’t wait!

A nice bonus of the evening was meeting the lovely Chris from Fly Rabbit Press. She is a renter at PABA. If you remember from a previous post, I just recently bought one of her prints. Anyways, she was nice enough to take a quick break from a project she was printing to chat with myself and another classmate for a few minutes. I was excited to hear that she started out in the same class I am now taking! So cool. By the way, that pup hanging out in the first pic above is hers. So cute.

140 Comments leave one →
  1. October 7, 2011 1:23 pm

    Beautiful — you can almost smell the ink. LOVE this!


  2. October 7, 2011 1:24 pm

    That’s incedible! That sounds like such a neat class. I took a printmaking class last year and had so much fun that I’d love to take another – I’ll have to see if there are any letterpress classes in my area.

  3. October 7, 2011 1:33 pm

    I love letterpress. Used to work in a printing company many moons ago, when typesetters set all the type. It changed when I was there, but there is something so pleasing about working with individual letters.

    • October 7, 2011 2:26 pm

      I LOVE the hands on aspect of setting type. It was such a weird experience to go from my first letterpress class back into InDesign! Ha!

  4. zenlifefrugal permalink
    October 7, 2011 1:35 pm

    Wow this looks like my kind of place!

    • October 7, 2011 2:29 pm

      It really is a great community space. I wish I could go there more than once a week!

  5. October 7, 2011 1:50 pm

    very interesting and great pictures.

  6. October 7, 2011 2:05 pm

    That is so cool! I wish I took a letterpress class when I was still in school!

    • October 7, 2011 2:22 pm

      Learning letterpress has been on my to-do list for years and I finally decided a few weeks ago to just go ahead and DO IT. It is so much fun and I highly recommend it πŸ˜‰

      • October 7, 2011 9:35 pm

        That’s so cool! What’s your major? I was an English Writing major and never saw that class before, it’s so cool!

      • October 7, 2011 10:34 pm

        I’m currently working on my MFA in Visual Studies. I primarily work in photography and artist books. I’m excited to see how this experience with letterpress affects my work!

      • October 8, 2011 10:51 am

        That’s awesome! Best of luck to you! :]

  7. October 7, 2011 2:26 pm

    That looks like a slice of heaven if a write ever saw it!!!!! Indeed your photos are so wonderful I can smell the ink!!! I am now looking for a class in Indianapolis to take this winter. Thank you for inspiring me. Congrats on FP too! AmberLena

  8. October 7, 2011 2:27 pm

    Bringing back the printing press, one WordPress at a time πŸ™‚ thanks for the share!

  9. BLaine Robert Parker permalink
    October 7, 2011 2:31 pm

    now that brings back memories !!!!!!! thee ole intertype —

  10. October 7, 2011 2:45 pm

    Awesome! I wish I could take a letterpress class.

  11. October 7, 2011 2:53 pm

    Really cool pictures and it sounds like fun! And her puppy is very cute πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing and congrats on being freshly pressed!

  12. October 7, 2011 2:58 pm

    Fascinating! I would love to try it out!

  13. October 7, 2011 3:03 pm

    So great to see that this is not going to become a lost art

  14. October 7, 2011 3:07 pm

    Great pictures, this seems like a great activity to do during fall. I have wanted to do something like this for a long time, I think after reading this I may just do it!

  15. October 7, 2011 3:09 pm

    I am fascinated by the printing process, so your post has me absolutely mesmerized. πŸ™‚ I have a few printing blocks I bought at a fleamarket and I used them for papercrafting . . . I can’t even imagine how fun it would be to put them in an actual press.

    Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

  16. October 7, 2011 3:19 pm

    I loooooove letterpress. Your pictures are great!

  17. October 7, 2011 3:22 pm

    Wow this is awesome! I used to do some ink pressing in my mixed media class in high school. Thanks for sharing! And congrats on being freshly pressed! πŸ™‚

  18. October 7, 2011 3:23 pm

    What an amazing class to be able to take. Keep the pictures coming!

  19. October 7, 2011 3:42 pm

    I love the photos. That place looks amazing. Is the equipmnt old? A friend of mine used to work at a print shop and the best presses were old German machines. They still worked well. I’d love to try that sometime.

  20. October 7, 2011 3:59 pm

    That is so cool! You mean you get to take a class on how to use a printing press? (or at least something close to it lol) I’m jealous lol!

  21. October 7, 2011 4:01 pm

    THANK YOU to everyone for leaving a comment! I will try to catch up with replies later tonight πŸ˜‰

  22. October 7, 2011 4:12 pm

    Oh, this looks so fun! I’m inspired! And typing this with a keyboard is making me feel incredibly lazy after seeing all of the things that go on when letterpressing…

  23. October 7, 2011 4:32 pm

    Beautiful! It’s amazing how much we take writing for granted these days and what it took to actually print the written word not so long ago. Great photos!

  24. October 7, 2011 5:02 pm

    the amount of jealousy roiling within me right now is unfathomable.

    I. Want. One.

    • October 8, 2011 2:48 pm

      I agree a thousand times over. Incredibly jealous. Not being near a press right now is just painful.

  25. jamesjay permalink
    October 7, 2011 5:25 pm

    OHHH beautiful Letterpress!

    YAY for being Freshly Pressed!

    – james

  26. October 7, 2011 5:50 pm

    My dad had a full size press in the garage at our house. He worked for a printing company in his twenties (which would have been in the 1930’s). I loved the whole process. He had a little hand press, too, that we used to print bulletins for church one-by-one. Looking at your photos was like a trip down memory lane.

    • October 7, 2011 10:42 pm

      That’s so great! I have actually started looking at the little hand presses. I would love to have one in my apartment! Wish-listed for sure!

  27. Jo Grant permalink
    October 7, 2011 5:55 pm

    where is this wonderful land? I want to go!

  28. October 7, 2011 6:21 pm

    Oh wow fabulous! I love it, thank you for sharing these photos, there is something so beautiful about a real letterpress… I love that they still write the notes out on paper and not in a computer… wonderful. I don’t think we have anything like that over here.

  29. October 7, 2011 6:38 pm

    I didn’t know one could take classes like that! How cool. I imagine the sounds of the press, the smell of the ink, the feel of the raised letters. I would love it.

    • October 7, 2011 10:38 pm

      The whole process is so physical, I think that’s one of my favorite parts! It’s not at all like sitting in front of a computer – it’s refreshing πŸ˜‰

  30. ancientfoods permalink
    October 7, 2011 6:51 pm

    Fantastic photos-

  31. onecanvasonesoul permalink
    October 7, 2011 7:36 pm

    this is cool. the only letterpress I’ve ever seen was at Greenfield Village and visitors could make a print. I’m intrigued by this. I have stickers of letterpress letters but of course it’s not the same. LOL!

  32. October 7, 2011 7:46 pm

    Good to see typography is alive and well!

  33. October 7, 2011 9:16 pm

    Fascinating. Nice photos

  34. October 7, 2011 9:35 pm

    These photos are great! I would love to take a class like this… There’s a great letterpress shop/design company near me (Yee Haw Industries), but I don’t think they offer classes.

    • October 7, 2011 10:40 pm

      I feel very lucky to have access to such a great community resource. Hopefully you’ll have luck finding something in your area. It’s so much FUN!

  35. October 7, 2011 10:07 pm

    thanks so much for the mention! I love seeing new students so excited about letterpress… it really is a magical process. I can’t wait to see your projects over the next few weeks! (btw, Daisy says “hi”)

    • October 7, 2011 10:29 pm

      It’s funny you mention it being magical b/c I was just thinking about the first time I went into the darkroom (I have a photo background) and how that magical feeling is the same as when I first stepped into the print studio! Magic! (Hi Daisy!)

  36. October 7, 2011 10:20 pm

    I am currently reading a book on Gutenberg and it has been making me want to try letterpress.
    Photos are great.
    And this all makes me want to find a place around me that does all this. Glad to see that it isn’t a completely dead art.

  37. Amanda permalink
    October 7, 2011 10:21 pm

    What a great hobby!

  38. Solid Designs permalink
    October 8, 2011 1:42 am

    Very cool pictures, as a present day designer I have mad respect for the old ways of doing things. If not for this sort of stuff, I would not be doing what I love πŸ™‚

  39. October 8, 2011 3:40 am

    Wow, so charmy! That’s our history, a cool experience..

  40. October 8, 2011 4:51 am

    Wow, that looks so cool! Just by looking at your photos I can sense the kind of atmosphere in the place – I love it! Sounds like a fun and interesting class you’ve signed up for and it makes me wish that I could do the same here! Hmm… Maybe I can find one somewhere… Hehe thanks for sharing such awesome with us πŸ™‚

  41. October 8, 2011 4:55 am

    Wow that looks so amazing, I’ve only used a very small in comparison (to the press in your photos), Adana press, and wanted to try more. It’s great that letterpress seems to be gaining popularity again πŸ™‚

  42. October 8, 2011 7:11 am

    mabrook, excellent job! Unschooler here who cannot wait to show this to my kids! We don’t have TV we are readers, not that ppl who have TV are NOT readers :p

    Anyhow, I loved Mr. Roger’s neighborhood when i was little and all the factories or other places he would visit and they showed HOW things are done or made, it was fascinating! As consumers, we get so much stuff we don’t even know where it comes from most of the time, how it’s made or even how it works! In the age of technology and infomation sharing, we are still in the dark!
    So, thanks for this bc you just can’t see stuff like this on TV or much online nowadays. Do you have a flickr account? It is a really amazing community and it you don’t know about it, i suggest checking it out. You can see photos there you can’t see in any magazine or art book in the world.

  43. October 8, 2011 7:19 am

    Great photos, vintage stuff, I fell in love with them πŸ™‚

  44. Design Style Daily permalink
    October 8, 2011 7:49 am

    I could spend all day there!

  45. Carlie Chew permalink
    October 8, 2011 8:10 am

    Really neat, thanks for sharing. I like the photograph of the linoleum prints (not sure if they are linoleum, couldn’t tell from a far), but it makes me want to get back into printing, such a fun art.

  46. October 8, 2011 8:11 am

    Im going to miss all this when we go 100% digital. There is nothing like something actually printed on real paper!

  47. Mahfooz permalink
    October 8, 2011 8:20 am

    Nothing like good old ink and parchment, I still use them sometimes..

  48. Michael permalink
    October 8, 2011 8:33 am

    This is an instant favorite.

  49. October 8, 2011 8:43 am

    I loved your blog post! I would absolutely go crazy in a place like this – how awesome! It’s like a kid in a candy store feeling!

  50. October 8, 2011 10:17 am

    What an impressive (get it) print shop! Thanks for those photos. I design for Yay for Letterpress! – Alice Flynn, My Letterpress

  51. Alan King permalink
    October 8, 2011 10:56 am

    You’ve definitely captured the comfortable and inspiring vibe in your photos. With each photo, I got a warm, excited feeling that I usually get when I enter mom and pop books stores, ready to find hidden gems.

    Great post!

  52. October 8, 2011 12:09 pm

    In a world of laptops and iPads, it is awesome to see this process. What artistry!

  53. October 8, 2011 12:11 pm

    Thank you for these beautiful pictures. My father (who passed away six years ago) had a full letterpress shop out in the garage. He grew up setting type for his father at their small-town newspaper in North Dakota and then had his own small print shop for many years before shops like that became obsolete. Then he ran a few small town newspapers. When he retired, he went back to his first love. We all kept many pieces of his print shop, but there was so much… Holding the auction after his death was one of the most difficult, yet cathartic events of my life. It was invigorating to know that all those pieces of type and the press itself would be loved and used. Again – thanks. Fantastic pictures. I can almost see my dad standing there.

  54. October 8, 2011 12:16 pm

    We love your work, IΒ΄m argentine proffesor and editor. Congratulations!

  55. October 8, 2011 1:08 pm

    Wow you have make me really wanna try it. I like type so much and including these.letterpress. sadly it is so rare here in Indonesia. I cant seem to find it. I’m sure will try to use letterpress someday…:-) can’t wait for it. Thanks for share…

  56. October 8, 2011 2:25 pm

    I need to see what classes are available in the San Francisco area. This looks so fun!

  57. October 8, 2011 3:14 pm

    This looks fun. My folks have an empty printer’s drawer hanging on their living room wall which makes it a familiar sight. It is good to be reminded of the true context of this item.

  58. October 8, 2011 3:48 pm

    Amazing press, no fancy computers running that baby.

  59. nancy cameron permalink
    October 8, 2011 4:37 pm

    Nice that you are still doing something via hand. That’s unique these days. Thanks for keep the light on for the hand!

  60. October 8, 2011 7:52 pm

    wow,that is amazing

  61. October 8, 2011 8:04 pm

    Very cool. I love the old-fashioned type feeling especially. I remember visiting the Cooperstown Farmer’s Museum, where they had an old-fashioned printing press and thinking of how much of a privilege it would be to work with it.

  62. October 8, 2011 10:08 pm

    WHOA. Amazing. I devoured all these photos, taking in every detail. I’m envious of this amazing experience you’re having!

  63. gelaikuting permalink
    October 8, 2011 10:59 pm

    awesome! i love it! so cool πŸ™‚

  64. October 9, 2011 1:43 am

    I like this post of yours mainly because I’m one of those rare specimens of editors (now ex) who also got trained in letterpress typesetting and also went on to phototypesetting on the Linotron 202N.

    You might already notice that, hang about, editors don’t get to do typesetting. You’re right, they don’t. But I was on really good terms with the typesetters, and they taught me on the quiet without the trade unions knowing.

    Oh yes, the pictures bring back lots of happy memories with the people down on the stone.

  65. bintesaeed permalink
    October 9, 2011 3:02 am

    Amazing photography! i just love the smell of the ink πŸ˜€

  66. October 9, 2011 4:39 am

    What a great place!!You know it’s so interesting just 2 days back I heard Steve Jobs’ Stanford Commencement address speech and he talked about attending a typography course, the knowledge he gained from which he utilized to implement the beautiful fonts for the early MAC gui interface software…Fonts are truly beautiful.What an art.

  67. October 9, 2011 4:52 am

    timeless classic. surely the experience must have been beautiful.

  68. October 9, 2011 5:31 am

    I have heidelberg clyinder

  69. October 9, 2011 6:03 am

    That’s really cool. Everything is becoming very digitised in Australia so letterpress is a lost art. Are you planning to work in printing?

  70. October 9, 2011 7:55 am

    Wow, a lot of really nice pictures. The pictures convey a sense of real nostalgia. I can still remember when all printing was done that way. I guess in a few years, photo shops with film, dark rooms, and development chemicals will also have this kind of appeal.

  71. October 9, 2011 7:56 am

    That’s really beautiful!

  72. Ralph permalink
    October 9, 2011 8:47 am

    Great photos Megan – There is something special about the tactile and immediate aspects of working with letterpress. I think that all designers should take the opportunity to experience it. Best of luck on your studies.

  73. October 9, 2011 8:53 am

    Wow this looks amazing!! It had never crossed my mind before but now I would really like to take a letterpress class! Looking forward to more updates about your progress! πŸ™‚

  74. October 9, 2011 9:04 am

    hmm great its lovely…….

  75. October 9, 2011 9:19 am

    this post is awesome! thanks for sharing this! I would love to visit the place and have an adventure there LOL!

    Congrats for being Freshly Pressed! πŸ™‚

  76. October 9, 2011 9:42 am

    Mmm lovely. I’m a massive fan of typography and stamps. Great to stamp little patterns on walls

  77. October 9, 2011 10:05 am

    That sounds like such a fun class!! Ooh…I have to find a class like that in my city! πŸ™‚

    Fantastic post!

  78. October 9, 2011 10:58 am

    Enjoyed your post. If you don’t already know about it, you might like checking out the Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum. I think they’d be right up your alley. Their website is at

  79. October 9, 2011 11:21 am

    Mouth-watering images. I don’t know what it is about letterpress but I’ve always been fascinated by it. Must have been that ‘John Bull’ printing set my parents bought me when I was six – but I just want to reach out into your images and move around the place. Many thanks for sharing this.

  80. October 9, 2011 11:51 am

    This is funny… I kind of randomly found your page and started browsing through the photos, as I like typography myself. In the forth photo from the top, there is a matrix of the cover of a polish magazine for kids “pΕ‚omyk”. I wonder how it ended up there… All the best with your passion.

  81. October 9, 2011 12:11 pm

    This is beyond lovely.

  82. October 9, 2011 12:26 pm

    Awesome! I had a printmaking class once. It’s harder than it looks πŸ˜€

  83. October 9, 2011 1:10 pm

    Even looking at these pics make me inspired!

  84. October 9, 2011 1:28 pm

    Ooh! Your photos made me feel all tingly. So awesome!

  85. October 9, 2011 3:03 pm

    Very Interesting!

  86. October 9, 2011 4:02 pm

    I have a ton of these because Years ago I worked for a paper that had them stored in a back room and the owner didn’t know what to do with them. They sold the presses for scrap but gave me however many blocks I wanted. I decorate with them, have all my family member’s names etc. And I have some of the trays that my husband made a table out of for me. Brings back memories, great shots.

  87. Marco permalink
    October 9, 2011 4:46 pm

    I did it myself somewhere 20 years ago. On a hand-drive mini letterpress. Nothing like your Heidelberg degel.
    Much success
    Marco – Netherlands

  88. powertothepencil permalink
    October 9, 2011 6:41 pm

    Wow… the pictures are great! Wish I could take the class too. I love your upbeat voice!

  89. October 9, 2011 8:40 pm

    Wow, that letter press is beautiful. I have seen one at a museum, and searching for the letters seems like back breaking work especially in a dim light. I cannot believe I took word per page for granted.

  90. October 9, 2011 9:04 pm

    lovely! my mom has collected press letters for a while now, and i’m obsessed! they’re fantastic. thanks so much for sharing and love the pictures.

  91. nikparks permalink
    October 9, 2011 11:20 pm

    A letterpress class? I’m insanely jealous. After I graduated from my college, I learned that they had future plans to implement a letterpress class. Yep, not fair. Haha.

  92. October 10, 2011 12:08 am

    very interesting

  93. October 10, 2011 12:40 am

    I’m studying to become a librarian at the moment… any type of literature – especially published so artistically – is amazing to me! thank you for sharing πŸ™‚

  94. October 10, 2011 12:54 am

    nice pic and great article.

  95. October 10, 2011 1:42 am

    Wonderful stuff !
    I’d love to try that one day

  96. October 10, 2011 3:11 am

    I wish I knew how to do this

  97. October 10, 2011 7:01 am

    Do you have The Little Book of Letterpress?you would like it.

  98. October 10, 2011 7:54 am

    Interesting hobby!

  99. October 10, 2011 8:52 am

    I hope I can have such class too!!!

  100. October 10, 2011 9:36 am

    Whenever I see a letterpress I automatically have a flashback to the musical “The Newsies” πŸ˜€ Amazing pictures!

  101. October 10, 2011 10:27 am

    Wow, I’d love a letterpress class! Will have to see if any are available, here in Barcelona!

  102. October 10, 2011 10:54 am

    I adore letterpress. My mom’s best friend does letterpress as her occupation and she makes the sweetest and most beautiful wedding invitations and menus etc. The look is so wonderfully vintage and delicate. I love it!

  103. October 10, 2011 11:16 am

    These pictures are fab! I once got to play with an old sign printing machine and equipment for a stint and I felt similar excitement!
    If you are anything like me you were probably wondering whether you might be able to squeeze one into your kitchen and spend the rest of your days printing from it?! Hehehe.

  104. October 10, 2011 12:02 pm

    That looks so cool… I don’t think I’ve ever seen pictures of that stuff. Wow…

  105. October 11, 2011 3:21 am

    Cute. Very classic πŸ™‚

  106. October 11, 2011 2:47 pm

    I’m obsessed. Just obsessed.

  107. October 11, 2011 3:10 pm

    Beautiful! I was running my ‘windmill’ last night!

  108. myndmlt permalink
    October 11, 2011 3:33 pm

    What fun! πŸ™‚ Guess I just added another must-explore hobby to my ever-growing list!

  109. October 23, 2011 10:47 am

    this must have been such a wonderful experience! I would love to have a hand at it too … been reading all about type press and all when I was reading about history of science & technology. Seeing this is just so cool, I’ll love to try it some day!

  110. January 27, 2012 9:39 am

    very goodddd


  1. Lovin’ Letterpress | Week 2 « Megan Charland | blog
  2. Lovin’ Letterpress | Week 3 & 4 « Megan Charland | blog
  3. Freshly Pressed « Megan Charland | blog
  4. Upcoming shows, recent projects « carrots for dinner
  5. The Write Teacher LOVES the Lovin’ Letterpress « the write teacher
  6. Lovin’ Letterpress | Week 5 & 6 « Megan Charland | blog
  7. Lovin’ Letterpress | Week 7 « Megan Charland | blog
  8. Lovin’ Letterpress | Week 8 « Megan Charland | blog
  9. Lovin’ Letterpress | Week 9 « Megan Charland | blog
  10. Lovin’ Letterpress | Week 10 « Megan Charland | blog
  11. Lovin’ Letterpress | RECAP « Megan Charland | blog

Join the conversation! Leave a reply.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: