running words around
design education and visual communication
authored by chris m hughes

Reverting To Type

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

An interesting exhibition, showcasing the magic of letterpress, kicks off next week in London. 'Reverting to Type' is an exhibition of contemporary letterpress practitioners, showcasing how a disappearing craft is being reinvented for contemporary design.

The exhibition, being held at the Standpoint Gallery, is riding a wave of resurgent interest in letterpress.

Photoshop an Illustrator reproduce the effect with ease, but digital design has really woken up to letterpress in web design, where CSS3 now allows the text-shadow property to be employed in the new generation of web browsers. Just search on 'letterpress effect css3' in google, and the results will list dozens of showcases, galleries, tutorials, code snippets and samples.

To get a feel for the effect, if you are viewing this page on a Mac and in a CSS3-ready browser, you'll see the it here, in 36pt Courier -

Reverting To Type.

As traditional practitioners will tell you, there is something arcane about letterpress - the process itself, the tactile paper, the beauty of the results, and of course, handling real pieces of type. The poster for the event is a nice example -

Reverting To Type Letterpress Poster

This would be a great event for design students to get along to, second only to visiting a working letterpress studio. Creative Review has an excellent short film of Designer Kelvyn Smith in his letterpress workshop, preparing for the Reverting To Type exhibition.

Reverting To Type is at the Standpoint Gallery from 10th–24th Dec 2010 and 4th–22nd Jan 2011.