Rare centuries-old book with intricate unfolding plates

Philosopher Jacob Böhme had a small but enthusiastic following who created stunning fan art of his ideas. The William Law editions of his writing have beautifully designed plates that open up thirteen successive layers of illustrations nested inside one another. Read the rest

Watch the sumptuous trailer for Pressing On: The Letterpress Film, now on VOD

Pressing On: The Letterpress Film has just released a trailer for their film that been screening at film festivals to great reviews. It's a beautifully shot homage to the art and craft of letterpress. Read the rest

Watch how to 3D print any image as a translucent lithophane

Lithophanes were originally bas-relief artworks made of translucent porcelain that let varying amounts of light through depending on thickness. Now they same effect can be created using a 3D printer and applied to anything from Wonder Woman images to personal photos. Read the rest

Letterpress prints of Mario and Ultraman as sugar skulls

My artist/designer friend Jonathan Koshi made a series of exquisite letterpress prints of Mario, Ultraman, and other characters reimagined as calaveras (sugar skulls)! The signed, limited edition 12"x12" prints are available for sale just in time for Dia de los Muertos from Koshi's web shop.

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A typography historian shares his favorite typefaces

Paul McNeil just published his comprehensive typographical overview, The Visual History of Type. To celebrate, he also published a list of his six favorite faces for It's Nice That, starting with the first compact italic:

The Aldine Italic / Griffo’s Italic / 1501

Few typefaces have had as great an influence on Western culture as Francesco Griffo’s Italic. At the end of the 15th century, when most books were large and heavy, Aldus Manutius commissioned Griffo to cut this compact, inclined letterform. Easily legible at small sizes, the Aldine Italic permitted the production of small, affordable, portable books suited to the requirements of an educated, mobile class of literate individuals. Over the next three centuries, the practice of publishing changed everything. By allowing texts to be reliably reproduced and disseminated in an almost limitless time frame, it triggered new ideas that profoundly challenged all forms of institutional control, leading to dramatic religious reforms, radical socio-political changes, and to the scientific worldview that initiated the modern era.

The Visual History of Type (via It's Nice That)

Image via ilovetypography.com Read the rest

You just eyeballed calling cards from UK's 1970s CB radio heyday

Calling cards were popular among a number of 1970s subcultures, including street gangs (previously) and CB radio enthusiasts. When two operators met off the airwaves and in real life, they called it "eyeballing." William Hogan and David Titlow collected these fun cards for their new book Eyeball! Cards, out next week. Read the rest

Vintage Chicago street gang business cards

Before the internet, even before desktop publishing, gang members who wanted calling cards headed to a printer with their idea. The results are collected in Brandon Johnson's Thee Almighty & Insane: Chicago Gang Business Cards from the 1970s & 1980s. Read the rest

Here's how hand-printed books get those marble-patterned pages

Paper marbling is alive and well at Oberlin College's Letterpress Studio. Alex Fox filmed his friend Jones Pitsker demonstrating a couple of techniques. Read the rest

Guy restores a century-old letterpress to perfect condition

Jimmy DiResta kept passing by a 1911 Chandler & Price letterpress sitting out in the rain. After buying it from the neglectful owner, he spent several years lovingly restoring it, eventually learning how to print with it. Read the rest

Fun video of a steamroller as a printing press

YouTuber Dom P posted a lovely short video of Chicago Printmakers Collaborative's steamroller printing project over the summer. For year, printers have been experimenting with renting steamrollers for printing large letterpress works without incurring the costs of renting or buying a large letterpress. Some of the work turned out quite nice! Read the rest

A brief history of poisonous wallpaper

Lucinda Hawksley has printed 275 color facsimiles of Victorian wallpapers in Bitten by Witch Fever. Beyond their lovely design, the vibrant wallpapers shared a common trait: they were pigmented with lethal arsenic. Read the rest

How an L.A. printer kept the art of the album cover alive

For half a century Los Angeles's Stoughton Printing Company has been considered one of the highest-quality printers of vinyl record packaging in the world, manufacturing album art for the likes of The Doors, Led Zeppelin, Neil Young, Jack White, Blue Note, and countless other artists and labels who value exquisite quality. Indeed, that's where my partners and I intend to produce the lavish packaging for our “Voyager Golden Record: 40th Anniversary Edition” vinyl box set! Our pal Ben Marks writes about the artisans at Stoughton for Collectors Weekly:

If there’s a secret sauce to Stoughton, one of the ingredients is certainly its people, many of whom have been with the company for a long time, which means the institutional memory at Stoughton runs deep. “Some of our employees have been with us for decades,” Jack (Stoughton) Jr. says. “They’ve seen it all.” Just as important is the fact that for every Led Zeppelin or Jack White, there have been countless other musicians of lesser acclaim who have turned to Stoughton to print their album art and design the packaging encasing their vinyl.

“When we started out,” Jack Jr. says, “we appealed to independent labels and artists. That was our niche. We had one customer, way back when, who sold his car to help pay for his record pressing. We had printed his jackets, so he came out here on the bus from Hollywood to City of Industry, which was about 25 miles eastbound. He probably made five or six bus transfers to get here.

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Printed easter eggs: fore-edge paintings hidden in books

High-end printers began decorating the edges of books as the craft developed, including dyeing and gilding the edges, but in the 17th century, artisans began creating fore-edge paintings that could only be seen when books were fanned. Below is another example: Read the rest

Flag's Kickstarter to build the world's best photo printing facility

Hey, it's your ol' pal Joel! Used to write a gadget blog that wasn't about gadgets? Man, great to see you. No, no, have a seat. Can we get a couple of...yeah, no ice, thanks.

So let's get business out of the way before we eat: One of my clients is launching a Kickstarter today and I hope you'll check it out.

(I have clients now! I started a company. It isn't a media company or even a gadget blog. Just a regular, ol' fashioned intragalactic-HUMINT-and-covert-ops-themed strategic comms company, where people hire me to help them solve problems. I like it.)

The Kickstarter is set at $500k, which is a lot of money; it's also how much is needed to build a dedicated printing facility under one roof that can provide 20 museum-quality, ad-supported prints to tens of thousands of customers for free each month. That's what they need to increase production, in both volume and speed. Bear in mind this is a company that took an initial $160k Kickstarter success and 1) made a functional iPhone app 2) established a printing process that exceeds all other consumer printing quality, and 3) spun up production that is putting out 80-100k prints a month. There were many pitfalls along the way—screwed up batches of prints that had to be reprinted before delivery, equipment that was promised that didn't work, greater-than-expected software delays—but they didn't walk away from it. They pushed through it and have built a company. They've got major advertisers lined up to start sponsoring prints. Read the rest

Fantastical new print from Daniel Martin Diaz and Pressure Printing

Daniel Martin Diaz teamed up with the fine artisans at Pressure Printing to create this stunning new limited edition print, titled Eternal Universe. It's printed on 29″ × 37 ½″ paper, hand-stained, and signed and numbered in a limited edition of 25. Far fucking out.

More about the printing process on the Pressure Printing blog.

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How likely is a future without paper?

Today we travel to a fully digital world, a world where paper is a thing of the past.

Flash Forward: RSS | iTunes | Twitter | Facebook | Web | Patreon

In this episode we talk about how likely it is that we might get rid of paper (not very) and what might happen to our reading habits, memories, and environment if we do.

▹▹ Full show notes Read the rest

Printed circuit board masking tape

A must-have for the with-it cyberpunk, and it's appropriately hard to get ahold of, being sold only through a Japanese website that uses translation-software-resistant graphics of Japanese text set against an animated background that made mincemeat of all the Japanese-English OCR software I tried it on (I think this is the orders page, but couldn't get more than one word in four out of Google Translate's photo-text converter). Read the rest

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