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Old School Meets New, On Letterpress

Written by in Profiles

 New Beauty of the Letterpress Poster
 Showcases New School & Old School Methods

[Adapted from an article originally published on PaperSpecs.] Von Glitschka is an illustrative designer doing the full-tilt creative boogie out of his home studio in the land of Bigfoot. He’s also an author, a speaker on the creative circuit, and the newest member of the impressive roster of The Beauty of Letterpress designers and printers.

Von Glitschka’s print is Issue 11 in this growing collection of limited-edition letterpress prints—a project conceived by Neenah as a way to celebrate the art of letterpress and contribute to the preservation and heritage of old school printing at the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum.

Said Glitschka, “I’m a digital artist but I still use analog methods to create my work. The contrast between digital art and analog letterpress intrigues me. And letterpress is only as good as the paper you use and Neenah helps make this time proven, craftsman-driven method beautiful.”

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Entitled “Old School Meets New School,” Glitschka explains his poster concept: “’Old School’ equals analog methods, while ‘New School’ references digital.” He notes how the creative yin-yang is a balance of old and new processes. “Digital allows us to create things with greater ease, while analog printing allows us to reproduce it with an aesthetic only craftsmanship can offer.”

Color & Texture: Where Old School Meets New School

Read more @ Color & Texture in High Value Print Applications.

He adds that letterpress machines have a distinct “Steampunk” look and feel,  “flywheels spinning, swinging mechanical appendages, open air inkwells, and other moving parts that make watching them very hypnotic.” New school digital printers, he believes, are boring by comparison, but he adds that digital tools provide freedom to create stunning plates analog printers can render into beautiful, tangible artifacts.

“The entire aesthetic and tactile aspect of letterpress draws people to this methodology, and my approach was to feature the true star of this format, the printer [Jason Wedekind of Genghis Kern Letterpress].”  The result is a print that celebrates the joy, whimsy, and inspiration of both digital design and letterpress printing.

 

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The letterpress, Glitschka says, lends charm to the final product: “Letterpress printing creates subtle imperfections and surface textures  that work well  with bold shapes and contrasting colors.”

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Jason Wedekind of Genghis Kern Letterpress had the hardest task,” says Glitschka. “Letterpress requires patience. His work is impeccable, and  he’s one of the funniest creatives I’ve ever met— look at his awesome studio name.”

“The backward type makes people take notice of the letterpress methodology,” says Glitschka. “When my daughter saw it she asked, ‘Why is the type backwards?’ So she noticed and I got to explain the process.”

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“Digital is nice, but tactile is far more immersive and students need to familiarize themselves with the old school methods to better understand how to use the new school methods” —Von Glitschka

Glitschka believes strongly in the mission of the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum. “If we don’t bother to learn about the history of printing we’re doomed to lose what it offers us and that would be a shame. So in an age of digital ease where we simply push a button and have a print a few seconds later, it’s important that we don’t forget about what got us here in the first place. Digital is nice, but tactile is far more immersive and students need to familiarize themselves with the old school methods to better understand how to use the new school methods.”

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“Old School Meets New School” is available for $5, and all proceeds go to the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum, thanks to Neenah and the Beauty of Letterpress. You can order here. See previous Beauty of Letterpress prints here.

The Beauty of Letterpress was conceived by Neenah, with the goal of celebrating letterpress and preserving Hamilton and one of the world’s largest collections of historic wood type. To date there have been 11 prints issued. Last year Neenah presented a $30,000 check to the museum—half from sales of the limited edition prints and half from a donation by Neenah.