January 23 | Intro to Letterpress (4 Weeks)

This course is the perfect introduction to letterpress printing. From its creation by Johannes Gutenberg in the mid-15th century until the 19th century, letterpress printing was the norm for printing text. Its use persisted in books and various applications until the late 20th century.

Letterpress printing evolved from simple platen presses, where paper was pressed onto an inked form, producing beautifully imprinted text and images. Over time, the flat platen was replaced by a roller in the flat-bed cylinder press, streamlining the process.

In this 4-week course, students will develop foundational skills including hand setting metal and wood type, basic mechanics and proper use of presses, overview of materials (ink and paper), design capabilities of a two layer broad side, and community studio etiquette.

Students will learn how to set type with a composing stick, including adjusting letter and word spacing, building up type, and printing type with consistent impression. They will learn to print on our platen presses, including locking up in a chase, basic make ready to improve impression consistency, registration of multiple layers, and cleaning the press.

This class is appropriate for letterpress printers unfamiliar with platen presses, as well as graphic designers, writers, and anyone interested in exploring language as a visual mediums.