Not everyone is a screen-based designer, believe it or not. There are still letterpress printers, who are designers that work with giant, heavy machines to print out metal or wood type. Their work is inked and pressed against paper with relief printing, which is different from offset printing. For the designers who are keeping this old art alive, they take us back in time to a completely different era with their work. Here are some of the best letterpress design studios from Missouri to Iceland.
10 Letterpress Studios Around the World
Sweet Letterpress & Design Studio in Boulder, Colorado was co-founded by Elizabeth and Matthew in 2007. Ever since, they’ve been crafting letterpress design work with ecofriendly materials, from wedding invites to note cards and personalized gifts.
Reykjavik Letterpress in Reykjavik, Iceland is a letterpress design studio run by two graphic designers Hildur Sigurdardottir and Olof Birna Gardarsdottir. Since 2010, the duo has been working in a building that was built in the 1940s and its vintage charm has remained. Aside from the usual letterpress products, which range from coasters to notebooks, they have their own line of products, too.
Keegan Meegan Co., a letterpress design studio in Portland, Oregon, was founded back in 2007 by Keegan Onefoot-Wenkman, who specializes in handmade, illustrated letterpress. What attracted Keegan to the medium, he says, is its “reliability, sustainability, simplicity, and tactile feel,” adding that “printing is a throw-back to time when quality and beauty were a necessity in everyday life.”
Studio on Fire, based in Saint Paul, Minnesota, started out as a home basement project, which has grown to a full service letterpress studio over the past 10 years. With over a dozen vintage presses from the 1950s and 1960s, they say “nobody is making new letterpress equipment nowadays but our machines represent the height of letterpress printing technology. Maintaining these presses and using them with modern letterpress techniques keeps our work looking crisp and vibrant.”
Parrot Design Studio is based in Sebago Meine, designing cards and paper works in a farmhouse. Founded by printer and graphic designer Sarah Parrott in 2007, the studio is home to a 1898 Golding Jobber printer with the goal of “creating goods that we love, want to give, and brings a little more happy to the world.”
Hammerpress letterpress design studio is based in Kansas City, Missouri and they also have a retail store at their location, selling everything from brass scissors to Mexican barware. It all started when artist and designer Brady Vest started the studios in 1994 after graduating from the Kansas City Art Institute, making music posters and record covers for bands. Today, they’re widely recognized for their typography.
Read more about Hammerpress at HOWdesign.com.
7. French Press
Founded in 2006 by graphic designer Shelly Kuzniarek, this studio in Rochester, New York specializes in wedding invitations and letterpress stationery, she also runs workshops from her studio on wood type and linoleum block cutting.
Founded in 2012 by designer Jamie Jordan, this multi-disciplinary space is devoted to hand-cutting and pressed plate design with letterpress, as well as book binding.
Moglea is a charming letterpress design studio in Audubon, Iowa that opened in 2012 by Chad and Meg Gleason. With works that range from stationery to paper goods, their trademark is the paintbrush mark and the splatter, which makes every piece of theirs feel like a unique work of art.
The Kikisoso letterpress studio in Cologne, Germany, was founded in 2012. With an 1886 Golding Jobber printer as well as an Adana 8×5, the husband and wife team print on 100% cotton and recycled papers to often use simple black and white compositions, as well as their own unique illustration work.
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