As it often happens, Sarah came up with a great idea for just another New Years card. This time, different symbols that are associated with good luck in different cultures. Such as a mallet and a pomegranate in Greece, a pig in Germany, a clover, a horseshoe etc. We thought it would be rather nice to be designed in a typographic way, so it was up to me to apply it. Our intern Dylan drafted the icons and I quickly put a design together just 10 days before our holiday break. We prepared plates at Studiotone and bought Fine Somerset paper and we were all set to print. I spent a full day printing at the really hospitable house of Jonathan Clarke in Camberwell. Jonathan is a programmer and mathematician and one of ideologio's best clients. I work with him to design some quite interesting financial applications for the web. Jonathan and his wife Jan love letterpress and they have a fully working letterpress print-room in their house. When we mentioned that we wanted to print the studio Christmas card using letterpress they offered the room, fine coffee, biscuits and support. I've had quite some time to print anything proper with letterpress, and to my surprise, my teacher this time was computer programmer.
Firstly, If you want to receive our letterpress printed 'Get Lucky' card, please click here to email us with the subject 'Get Lucky' and your postal address. Hurry, we have a small number of copies left, so first come first serve.
It was a full-on day but I was glad to escape the office and the tedious computer work, in favour of some traditional old school labour. Jonathan provided great company and most importantly great assistance, in what was proven to be not such an easy task, printing 230 copies in two colours in a single day. At first we had trouble getting the right impression, after a while it became clear that the way you handle the press is so important and sensitive depending on the move of the hand of the pace and pressure you apply. It really felt like a musical instrument, rather than a heavy metal machine. After a while I learned how to work it out to get the right impression with less faults and mistakes.
The entire process had so many practical limitations which you only overcome with experience (thanks Jonathan), trial and and error and many funny tricks. I learned to be less of a perfectionist and more of a pragmatist to let things flow and complete the job. After all, this is a hand print and all the charm is in the imperfect detail. No undos and no corrections after all it's a live print. So eventually we got a very nice outcome and it was getting better as we went along. No, it wasn't easy, after I had pressed the handler of the Adana few hundred times, my back ached and my hand felt funny. I would have need some yoga in between to straighten my posture but there was no time for a break.
For those of you who got curious and want to learn how to print with letterpress, I recommend one of the best places in the world for doing that, St Bride Library in London.