Um, what? 
Yes, it seems the enthusiasm for letterpress printing continues and evolves in unexpected (to me) directions. When someone sent me the link to this kickstarter project I was bowled over by the amount of work and planning that has gone into it. LetterMpress, the actual app title, will be:
a virtual letterpress environment—released first on the iPad—that will allow anyone to create authentic-looking letterpress designs and prints. The design process is the same as the letterpress process—you place and arrange type and cuts on a press bed, lock the type, ink the type, and print. You will be able to create unlimited designs, with multiple colors, using authentic vintage wood type and art cuts.
No rubber cement thinner or apron required.

The idea is astonishing: recreate the chore of the type lockup, namely, setting type backwards, using quoins and 'furniture' to secure it into place. The annoying, antiquated methodology and physical craft, painstakingly preserved and simulated to give you the virtual experience of doing something time-consuming. (Its like an app that gives your iphone a dial to make a call ...hmm thats not a bad idea...) And I totally and completely love the concept.

Of course impression on paper and satisfying physical exertion are sacrificed. Also missing would be the serendipitous discoveries—the quirky flukes—which reveal themselves when one tries to master 100+ year old wood, ink, machinery and paper. Although nineteenth century printers strived for perfectly even inked impressions from their wood type, the 21st century fetish is for grainy, under-inked, distressed letters. Will LetterMpress have multiple print settings-- "over-inked", "light impression", "uneven packing"... ? //

This prompts me to remind people why we need (needed) places like Bowne & Co... where real, historical wood type collections got set on real nineteenth century presses...//

We know the author/inventor of LetterMpress is serious in his research because in the background in the video we catch a glimpse of Rob Roy Kelly's ground-breaking American Wood Type: 1828-1900
First published in 1969 and long out of print, the book was just reissued last year. All b/w but still a heart-stoppingly desirable tome...

1 comment:

male said...

Thanks for this post Angela, I've been slow to follow up your comments on Ephemeral-male Re: woodtype and the iPod app. Excellent as usual and well worth following your links! Cheers from downunder


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