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Letterpress Resources: Home

Common Press offers a variety of resources illustrating the history of letterpress printing and book making.

Letterpress Demonstrations

Tested Learns the Craft of Letterpress Printing

A visit to the San Francisco Center for the Book, with printer Rhiannon Alpers.

  • Printing on the platen or clamshell press at 3:45 to 4:30
  • Printing on the Vandercook cylinder press at 4:30 to 5:30; 7:35 to 8:14; 13:50
  • The process of making photopolymer plates at 5:30 to 7:35
  • The process of typesetting at 8:53 to 13:00

Printing using the Kelmscott/Goudy Albion Iron Hand Press

with Amelia Hugill-Fontanel of the RIT Cary Graphic Arts Collection

Printmaking Techniques

Some great interactive and animated graphics explaining various printmaking techniques:

What is a Print? from MoMA uses interactive graphics to explain woodcut, etching, lithography, and screenprint

What is Printmaking? from The Met illustrates woodcut, engraving, etching, lithograpyh, and screenprint step-by-step

LetterMPress, an iPad app by John Bonadies illustrating the letterpress printing process

Videos and Films About Letterpress Printing

"Six Must Watch Films Featuring Printing Presses" from the International Printing Museum:

This list features "Park Row" (1952), "Seven Pounds" (2008), "Penny Serenade" (1941), "The Name of the Rose" (1986), "Newsies" (1992), and "Mister 880" (1950). Follow the link above for an overview of each and information on how to watch.

"Proceed and Be Bold" - a documentary about inimitable contemporary printer Amos Paul Kennedy. - a collection of vintage films showcasing printing technologies, including monotype and linotype making.

"Linotype: The Film" - a documentary about the lost art of linotype operation. The linotype machine casts full lines of metal type, that can be melted down after printed for reuse.

"ETAOIN SHRDLU" - a 1978 film documenting the last day of hot metal typesetting at The New York Times - a Common Press favorite!