Daily Heller Newsletter — Imprint-The Online Community for Graphic Designers

9.29.16 / Wood is Good


Dafi Kühne is a graphic designer/letterpress printmaker from Zürich and Glarus, Switzerland. Since 2009 he has been working full time in his studio babyinktwice, designing and printing posters, invitation cards, brochures and magazines for music, art, architecture, theater and film projects. Since 2011 he has also been teaching everything from short workshops to full semesters in various universities in Europe and the United States. He combines contemporary graphic design with old techniques—a computer, four letterpress proof and production presses from the ’60s, old lead and wood type, new lasercut wood, plexiglas or lino blocks, photopolymer plates, hand-cut lino or cardboard and so on.


Now there is a book, True Print, on his work. But before getting this volume, watch this inspiring film.

And read this excerpt by contributor David Shields:

“As a counterpoint to the contemporary work driven by visual nostalgia, there is an expanding group of designers and artists producing work experimenting with new techniques and divergent approaches to traditional modes of production. Dafi’s work belongs firmly in this more exploratory group of practitioners, and it clearly ‘stands out in its decidedly theoretical approach to the idea of wood type in a modern context.’ Dafi’s work can be framed by a series of dichotomies that provide a productive tension in regard to form, content and production. The work is firmly grounded in two approaches: that of the pragmatic commercial printer and that of the experimental designer. The pragmatics of the printer is dependent in the economic need to produce work for a client as quickly and efficiently as possible. The experimental approach grapples with the meaning of the form and works at challenging the visual elasticity of the compositional space, all the while engaging the materials of production with questions that challenge the limits and working parameters of what the materials can produce. By combining these seemingly antithetical approaches, Dafi uniquely carves out a hybrid space for both experiment and production. This binary informs his choice and use of tools and materials. Interesting juxtapositions result: new and old, high and low, fast and slow, precious and ephemeral, course and refined.”



Put Your Type to the Test.

All too often, typography gets overlooked in larger design competitions—which is why we developed one that gives the artforms their full due and recognizes the best designers in each category. Whether you design your own typefaces, design type-centric pieces or create gorgeous handlettered projects, we want to see your work—and share it with our readers.

Enter today for a chance to be featured in Print magazine, receive a prize pack from MyDesignShop.com, and more. Early bird rates for the competition—which features both pro and student categories—end Oct. 14!


• Subscribe today and get one year for only $40 — save 57% off the newsstand price

• Are You a Design VIP? Join today and get Print and HOW for one low price!

• In an age of retina and high definition displays, accurate and effective use of color is paramount. Grow in your understanding of how color works, and how you can make it work for your design work with Color: The Professional's Guide by Karen Triedman. With comprehensive information on color design and over 300 color images, discover a wide range of examples, techniques, inspiration, and solutions to fit your needs, whatever your discipline.


• Typography 101: Letterform Design I—Workshop: This class will help you to learn the details of typographic perception through basic letterform design. You will learn typographic nomenclature, basic letterform design, positive/negative space balance, and more.

• Register today


• HOW International Design Awards. Deadline is August 12th, 2016. Details at http://www.howdesign.com/design-competitions/international-design-awards/


• HOW Design Live - Join us in Chicago in MAy 2017! www.howdesignlive.com


September 28

Femme Power

September 27

Today’s American Dream

September 26

Friedman’s Comics Artist Pantheon

Previously on heller goes here


• 22 of the Big Apple's Best Designs

• Color Matching Systems: Choosing & Using Color

• 10 Tools for Building the Perfect Color Palettes



is the co-founder and the co-chair of the MFA Designer as Author program at the School of Visual Arts. He writes the Visuals column for the New York Times Book Review and the Graphic Content blog for T-Style. He is the author, coauthor, and/or editor of more than 120 books on design and popular culture, including the recent book Born Modern: The Life and Design of Alvin Lustig (Chronicle).