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I’m-Pressed?

Origins of Commercial Print
I recently got to spend a day in the incredible studio & workshop of InkSpot Press here in our hometown of Brighton. InkSpot press is a traditional print & press workshop that covers letterpress of both wood & metal type as well as screen printing facilities, bookmaking & bookbinding.
  • The introduction to letterpress course I attended offered a wealth of knowledge, inspiration, insight & ideas into what the amazing world of traditional letterpress can offer to the modern designer, design agency or general enthusiast.
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I really believe that having an understanding in the history & roots of your chosen skillset will help you to become a more grounded & knowledgable individual. Like many designers & typographers I already had a deep interest in type, typesetting & its origins, however it wasn’t until doing this course that I realised quite the precision detail it entails.

Going from digital typesetting on a day to day basis at Fable&Co to then using traditional tools & press machines was just fantastic. Manually setting type, letter spacing, leading & kerning, setting it in the press bed to then manually inking a press & winding the huge crank to printing was a really exciting & enlightening experience.

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Even in this digital age where everything is so immediately accessible, typesetting seems to be one of those lost arts & certainly one that is lost on the younger & more junior designers. Understanding the art of typesetting & it’s direct link to branding will help you become a much better designer through the creative use of type.

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I can only admire & respect all those who came before us in our industry. Working with letterpress at Inkspot Press for a day really re-confirmed for me what an art form typesetting really is, both in letterpress & in the age of digital type. I would highly recommend that all designers & typographers find the time and opportunity to work with these incredible print tools from yesteryear. The possibilities are infinite.

Many thanks to Sarah Bryant from Big Jump Press who provided her time to teach the course at Ink Spot.

Colin Willems

Lead Designer, Fable&Co.
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