Digital Letterpress? What's Next?

John Bonadies developed a virtual letterpress app for the iPad and Mac called LetterMpress (part of MpressInteractive). “The app was originally created from Kickstarter.com funds,” he says, “and we have continued development, adding more wood type and cuts that we collect from around the world.”

Indeed the LetterMpress function makes you feel like your in a printshop without the toxic fumes, messy inks and heavy metal and wood to cause hernias. And for young designers, who have never experienced hot metal or vintage printing, this virtual experience has its virtues. What’s more, its not just a steampunk etch-a-sketch, you can actually print from type and ornaments and printout your result.

“Several educators have commented to me that the app makes a nice educational tool,” Bonadies adds, “allowing students to get an understanding of the letterpress process (since few programs have access to letterpress and type). As well, the app forces a different mind-set on the process of design and visual organization (because of its physics engine) than typical design software that is used in design education.”

You can judge for yourself, but this user was very impressed. Now I can say yes to the question “have you ever printed on a real flatbed printing press? Learn more from this page of video samplers (including the one excerpted above and below on creating a Valentine’s Day card).

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  1. Pingback: letterpress app « pocketsofsunshine

  2. Paragraph 2:
    Indeed the LetterMpress makes you feel like your in a printshop…

    Please correct your to read you’re, which is of course a contraction for ‘you are.’

    Thank you.

  3. The app does support the original reversed standards (even defaults to that setting) (both upside down left-to-right as well as a reversed but right-to-left)  The video shows the app being used in ‘Child’s Play’ mode, which adults seem to enjoy as well.

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  5. > Now I can say yes to the question “have you ever printed on a real flatbed printing press?”Actually, if you haven’t struggled with inking, makeready, flaws in type, learning to tell a “p” from a “q”, etc. you probably still have to answer that question in the negative. Not sure where you’re based, but most cities have some kind of printing museum or art school with a letterpress shop; give that a spin.

  6. I studied fine art printmaking and have had the opportunity to experiment with lead type for broadside printing, too. Lead type is set in reverse (and also upside down in one’s composing stick), and the surface of the type is inked, producing a right-reading print. I note the app above presents the letters right-reading, but since I’ve never printed using wood type, I don’t know whether that’s an artifact of the app or one of the actual printing process, viz., that the type itself doesn’t receive ink, but rather the ink is transferred to the paper via pressure on the opposite surface of the paper, so that one both sets and prints right-reading. Can you illuminate?

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