Back then, for every single word you see on a book, each letter was manually typeset and positioned by a different wooden carving or lead casting. The paper would be carefully placed on top of the type and pressure was then applied to create a beautiful kiss impression known as letterpress.
Fast-forward to today, it has evolved into an art form more than a standard printing practice when deep impression was discovered. It is the bite on paper that saved letterpress. But in the beginning of 19th century, there were other forms of printing that was able to “kiss” on paper more gently and efficiently. Thereafter, letterpress lost its popularity and letterpress machines were used less and less, nearly obsolete. In the 1980s, letterpress was then revived by a group of people who appreciated the tactile feeling and craftsmanship of letterpress in which has made a great impression in them. They needed something special to set letterpress works apart, and that is how the beauty of the bite was resurrected.
Designing for letterpress is a feat that requires deep knowledge on the foundations of the craftsmanship. Unlike standard offset or digital printing, we work with limited amount of colours to allow the content to thrive.
Digital designs will then be produced on polymer plates via a UV light-sensitive photographic process. And we are ready for print as soon as the polymer plate is aligned to a metal based and locked into the press!
A separate plate is produced for every colour being printed. That’s right! One colour and one piece at a time. It is indeed labour-intensive. Though we can attest that the quality is well-worth the time, effort, and money.
We use spot colours when printing by matching our inks to the Pantone® Matching System (PMS). We work with a few base inks to hand mix the perfect colours. Colours are accurately weighed out to match the specific colour recipe.
Paper would be cut down to allocated sizes for the print job. Leave it to us to know what paper will deliver your stationery best on with letterpress printing technique! We would recommend what suits your print best accordingly.
Now, we should be ready to ink up the machine and roll. Running up the perfect colour on press, checking on registration, and making adjustments to the proper impression would always need inspections for consistency at its best.
The cut paper will be placed into the machine where a clamshell-like action will take place. The machine will pick up the paper piece by piece whilst the rollers are inking up the plate concurrently. And it’s…showtime!
The meticulous printing and the impression (the bite!) will be made at the same time. It would then deliver the letterpress printed paper back to the delivery tray. Once all the prints are dry, we would cut the prints to its finished sizes.
This is our studio; A printmaking workspace dedicated to letterpress, design, and curation. Moving into this space was akin to growing our dreams; to curate an all-rounding experience for one and all to be exposed to what we do and to appreciate the effort that goes into each design, each print, and each product that has our name on it.
This studio is home to our German presses and our Malaysian dreams. We dream about making good Malaysian craftsmanship that you would proudly welcome into your daily lives. In this workspace, there will always be room for improvement because we believe that ‘good design’ is one that would continuously add value to one’s life.