The Magic of Old Meeting New in Printing


The printing press is one of those incredible inventions that changed the world forever. In fact, it is touted as one of the three inventions in the world that had the biggest impact on the way society functions, alongside gunpowder and the nautical compass. At Asset Print, we realise that we’re standing on the shoulders of giants every time we press ‘print’ on our digital presses, which is why we also keep a close eye on the evolution and reintroduction of old-school printing methods around the globe.

Most recently, German typographer, designer and writer Erik Spiekermann, who also happens to be an honorary professor at the University of the Arts Bremen and ArtCenter College of Design, astounded the printing community when he took it upon himself to devise a new method of modern letterpress printing.

After launching a Kickstarter campaign to fund the project alongside a small team of colleagues and experts in Berlin in August 2017, he printed a run of 2500 448-page novels for author Louis Rossetto in November of the same year. It was no small feat. The project was a challenge, to put it mildly. Even with the use of a very well-maintained Heidelberg cylinder press, it required all hands on deck. However, Spiekermann maintains that it was definitely worth it.

You may be asking yourself why anyone would be going through all the trouble to dust off an old letterpress printing press at a time when we have access to all the ease and convenience of modern-day offset printing. The answer is something that true print connoisseurs will understand: a printing press imparts a distinct ‘impression’ (also called a ‘kiss’) on each page, the ink is that much blacker and each book is completely and utterly unique. In short, it makes printing into an art form.

Spiekermann, who is known as the typographical genius that brought us such fonts as ITC Officina Sans and Officina Serif, recently turned 70 but that has not slowed him down one bit. In fact, he is currently leading the vanguard on a project that seeks to reboot letterpress printing with the use of modern technology to bring us something he is calling ‘the digital letterpress’. You can read more about this exciting project here.

Fascinating, right? Keep an eye on the blog in the coming weeks and months for more interesting info on printing history, marketing trends and more. In the meantime, we invite you to get in touch with an Asset Print representative to learn more about our processes and services.

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