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Letterpress

A very brief history about... making impressions.

Letterpress, one of the earliest forms of printing text on paper, is a form of relief printing where the image surface is raised and the resulting image is pressed into the paper. Johann Gutenberg was the father of letterpress printing with his invention of mechanical moveable type in Europe, but the Chinese had developed similar types of relief printing as early as the 2nd century A.D. Most of these early texts were printed from type carved from blocks of wood.

When the art of papermaking was introduced to western civilization in the 12th century it allowed printed texts to flourish. By the 15th century A.D., paper was abundantly available throughout Europe. This abundance, along with inventions such as moveable type (characters cast as individual letterforms) and mechanical presses allowed the number of printers and printed materials to soar. Much of this increase was fueled by a rising literate middle class and movements including the Reformation and religious wars.

Today, much remains the same with letterpress printing. Text and image is still printed from a raised surface pressed into the paper. Movable type is still in use. While the computer revolution has opened many new doors, the distinguishable characteristics of letterpress remain unchanged. Text and graphic elements can be created digitally on computers and transferred to paper using photopolymer plates and metal engravings. Even with the current renaissance in letterpress printing, one thing hasn’t changed... each impression is printed by hand, one color at a time.


About

newleafletterpress is a design studio and letterpress print shop located in Minneapolis, Minnesota. We got our start in 1996 when artisan/owner, Steven Filler, made his first impression on a Vandercook Proofing Press and he's been hooked ever since. The rest is history but we're still making impressions in our workshop on a 1907 Chandler & Price platen press affectionately named Mrs. Gordon Boyle. [more...]

Why Letterpress?

Letterpress, the oldest form of printing ink on paper, is a form of relief printing dating back to China as early as the 2nd century. Letterpress was popularized during the renaissance when Gutenburg invented mechanical moveable type. He also printed printed a bible. The unique qualities of letterpress are unlike any other form of printing, and letterpress does make an impression. Let us make an impression for you. [more...]

Current Projects

We're in the studio working on new projects including our 2014 holiday card and stationery collection. More details coming soon.

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