The great letterpress, once a great art form and in the world of digital media like Kindle and E-book, has not been forgotten... what a second coming of this once great art form… it never truly left design studios… just timelines a life got in the way and still to the day Nonfacture loves it and truly believes in a media steeped in past within this modern day clicks likes world.

With the increased use of digital media, like Kindle and E-book, the popularity of traditional printing media such as litho print, magazines and even simple things such as printed tickets, brochures and greeting cards has diminished. Children nowadays prefer to use their phones to read books, rather than holding actual hard copies in their hands. They prefer to read or watch the news from their gadgets instead of getting a newspaper or magazine. They are growing up without knowing how to do things the old way... The traditional way!

What’s more fascinating is also the fact that the success of a media nowadays is not determined by its supposed circulation, its followers or the number of likes they received in each post they made online, but the world of COVID one thing we known is that ‘Likes’ don’t create sales, nor keep staff employed.

Things have also changed in the key defining items which are personal, Business card, or invite worlds. Back in the day, many grooms and brides to be would have invites printed for their wedding, these days however people are mostly using digital media to do the same thing. With a simple click of a button, they can send a pre-made invitation in an email rather than going through the painstaking process of designing it and printing out physical copies… but nothing still rivals or compares with that hands-on personal approach… click-click its easy life.

Another reason why people think that printed media is slowly dying is because of the environmental issue. Why print and use paper and that marketing manager anchor point .. 'that budget', when we can send it to each other through the internet? By reducing the use of paper they think will be saving trees.

But there are still many who believe that good old letterpress is here to stay and nonfacture one on those, because it's an art form in itself. Letterpress fans feel that there's just something special about the process of printing on paper, with ink.

And for them, they're right. There IS something special about letterpress printing; it just seems to be hard to pinpoint exactly what that quality is. Is it the hand-crafted feel? The old-fashioned look and feel? The balance and contrast of foils to paper stocks like Keaykolour and Colourplan.  What is it that makes letterpress so special and worth all the fuss, when in fact it's just an art form with a long history?

But what is letterpress?

It is an art form where one uses movable metal types to create various printings. This technique was used for centuries before modern printers were even invented! There is something very simple and beautiful about letterpress printing. When you look at the prints made by this technique, it's like looking at a piece of art. Letterpress is not about how many colours you use or the amount of text on the page. It's just about creating one good quality print that displays the words beautifully with their corresponding typeface.

Letterpress printing is done by taking pieces of metal type and lead lines that are then inked and pressed onto the paper. The pressure used in letterpress printing gives the print a unique quality that cannot be replicated by modern-day printers.

Letterpress has been around for centuries and has evolved to fit into modern times. With the introduction of digital media, we've lost all those beautiful qualities that make letterpress printing unique, such as the tactile feel and simplicity.

So... Is Letterpress Dead?

Many people believe that letterpress is dead but others say it's not. So who's right and who's wrong? Well.. both. Those who believe that letterpress is dead are kinda right but there's more to it than what meets the eye. The digital revolution did hit traditional printing, hard. Almost all printing businesses had to adapt and change their business model or else they'd face financial ruin. And businesses that couldn't adapt or refused to do so, well... they could've been the cause of why people think letterpress is dead. But it's not dead, it's just evolved into something else.

Businesses had to embrace technology and instead of letting go of letterpress completely, many businesses had to combine traditional printing with modern-day printing techniques like digital printing to survive. This is how the term 'hybrid printing' has become so popular. It's taking letterpress and combining it with digital media so that businesses have more ways to reach their target audience.

So what you're seeing today isn't letterpress being dead but instead, being alive in a different form. The reason why letterpress hasn't died and will never die is that there are just some things that body text and digital media cannot replace. There's just something about letterpress printing that you won't ever get from modern-day printers.

The Relationship between Letterpress and Design

Letterpress printing harkens back to our ancestors and how they used it as an art form. Today, letterpress is associated more with design than anything else. It's become a mainstay in design workshops everywhere since it has so many applications where modern-day printing cannot compete.

But those who know the true value of letterpress still believe in its beauty and the way it makes the print look so impressive. Letterpress printing is a multi-dimensional experience that cannot be replaced or replicated by digital media or body text. It is an art form that those without an eye for design simply cannot appreciate as much as those who have been trained to see letterpress as another form of art

Letterpress will never die because it offers beauty and quality that you just can't achieve with digital printing or modern-day printers. So is letterpress dead? No way! Letterpress has evolved into something else but is forever here to stay. If you're interested in learning more about how letterpress can bring out the best in

 

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nonfacture: interdisciplinary creative brand design studio. digbeth. birmingham.
221 Zellig. Custard Factory. Birmingham. West Midlands. B9 4AA
non@nonfacture.co.uk
nonfacture.co.uk