About this project
Thanks to our backers we will be able to preserve and share the knowledge and history of letterpress. We are immensely appreciative for your part in helping to make this film a reality. We are humbled by the immense number of people who have joined together, and for each of your contributions. Your enthusiastic notes, posts, and encouragement along the way kept our spirits high, we felt the letterpress love.
We are very excited to begin production of the film this Summer!
Any additional funding we receive past our initial goal will be put to use. Increased funds will enable us to:
- Film at additional locations across the country documenting more printers, more stories, and additional knowledge of the craft.
- Development of bonus material for the DVD/Blu-Ray including several 3-4 minute bonus featurettes
- Creation of an Educational Multimedia Archive to help share and teach letterpress.
Thank you so much for making the film possible!
With gratitude, Erin and the Pressing On Team
Why has letterpress printing survived? Pressing On is a documentary examining the relevance of a physical process that is anything but modern! We have faster, cheaper methods to print things now – so why has this endured?
As the individuals who have kept letterpress alive are aging quickly, irreplaceable knowledge and techniques stand in danger of being lost forever. However, there is hope! A dedicated faction of young printers, designers, and hobbyists are on a quest to preserve letterpress.
With traditional tools and processes, they push the boundaries of contemporary creativity while sustaining the historic knowledge of the craft. Pressing On will explore the historic culture, the close community, and the remarkable craftsmen who are making letterpress thrive.
Watch a video about the film, check out our rewards, and get involved below!
I'm Erin Beckloff, a graphic design educator, historian, letterpress printer and co-director of Pressing On. I teach graphic design at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio where I revitalized the Department of Art's letterpress program. I study letterpress through practical application and the shared knowledge of printers, beginning my journey as an intern at Hatch Show Print.
Receiving my first press six years ago as a wedding gift led me to discover a community of printers who share a love of the traditional process and who have helped save letterpress printing. Here's why Pressing On is so important:
I am a part of the new, explorative generation of printers. Some of us are educators, others are shop owners, printmakers, artists, hobbyists and graphic designers. These printers respect the traditional process while using it in innovative ways. We give an old technology new life in a digital age.
Through Pressing On we want to show both generations and discover the relationships and passion for the craft that they share. We feel a responsibility to capture the knowledge of these printers.
Letterpress is a tactile and visual medium. From the presses and ornate type to the imperfectly beautiful prints, it all has a richness that needs to be shown. I've partnered with Bayonet Media, an Emmy Award winning production company with a gift for visual storytelling. Together we will be able to document letterpress in a way that I could never have achieved on my own.
We have the letterpress characters (both literal and figurative!), and the skills to create this film, but we need to expand the community supporting this craft. We want to document the entire process including hand-casting type from the time of Gutenberg and the 500 years following, to creating a stunning poster in 19th century wood and metal type.
This summer we will be hitting the road to travel across America to film interviews with our initial cast of characters. We'll visit printers, the annual APA Wayzgoose conference, type-casters, and graphic designers across multiple states. Printing presses and type are unique. The same goes for our list of characters:
Pressing On Cast of Printers
- Paul Aken, The Platen Press Museum
- Celene Aubry, Hatch Show Print
- Dave Churchman, Hobby Printer
- Jim Daggs, Ackley Publishing Co.
- Jennifer Farrell, Starshaped Press
- Richard L. Hopkins, Hill & Dale Private Press & Typefoundry
- Stan Nelson, Atelier Press & Letterfoundry
- David W. Peat, Proprietor Peat's Press
- Rick von Holdt, Foolproof Press
- Gregory Jackson Walters, Private Typecaster, Printer & Collector
- Tammy and Adam Winn, The Red Door Press
Get to know the Pressing On printers! For information, bios, and more, visit Pressing On's website at www.letterpressfilm.com.
Whether you have printed, or know someone who did, we want to connect with as many people as we can. Projects like this are only possible with a large number of small backers. Please share this link with your friends and family. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for regular updates and sneak peeks!
If you are interested in helping letterpress survive in your community or investing in the project in a deeper way, email firstname.lastname@example.org. We'd love to have a conversation!
The money we raise on Kickstarter will allow us to go into production this summer and have a completed film within a year. It's a tight time frame but we are confident we can achieve it. Working with Bayonet Media, a production company based in Indianapolis, we will make the most of our valuable time with both our printers and production team. The funds raised will cover all production filming, rentals, crew, travel costs, and the entire post production process. Together, we will bring this documentary film to life. For the curious, here is where the money will go:
Within our budget we plan to hit the road for 27 days traveling to film interviews at 11 print shops across the country: 2 printers in the Chicago area, 1 printer in Nashville, 2 printers and type casters in West Virginia, 3 printers in Iowa, 1 printer in Ohio, 2 printers in Indiana, and the annual APA Wayzgoose in Chicago.
We have some incredible...and incredibly rare rewards available! We cannot begin to thank those who have donated their sweat, time, and materials to make this possible. It's your chance to score some limited edition prints, type, and even exclusive experiences.
$25 - Ladies Bathroom Sign
Featuring Dave Churchman's humor, this Ladies Bathroom Sign is sure to please, or at least amuse! 8.5 x 11" letterpress printed in black ink.
$30 - Hamilton Wood Type Note Cards
Using their historic wood type collection, Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum is creating a special set of four (4) folded note cards to support the film and our campaign! Hamilton is an amazing place kept alive by great printers and supporters.
$34 - "Long Live Metal Type" 8 x10 Print (L)
This limited edition letterpress print was created by Jennifer Farrell at the Starshaped Press. Click here to read a blog post about the prints creation!
"Columbian Press" 8 x10 Print (R) Created by Paul Aken at the The Platen Press especially for this film.
$34 - "The Power of a Thought" 8 x10 Print Created by Jim Daggs of Ackley Publishing Co. especially for the film.
$34 - "I Don't Own This Knowledge" 8 x10 Print (L) This limited edition letterpress print was created by Tammy and Adam Winn of the Red Door Press especially for this film.
"Life as a Letterpress Printer" (R) made by Rick von Holdt of The Foolproof Press.
$34 - "You Are Just My Type" 8 x10 Print This limited edition letterpress print was created by Gregory Walters, Private typecaster, printer, and collector especially for this film.
$34 - "A Good Word" 2 Sided 8 x10 Print
This limited edition letterpress print was created by Celene Aubry at Hatch Show Print especially for this film. Print is reversible and can be displayed on both sides!
$35 - Legacy Chromatic Wood Type OrnamentDesigned by co-director Erin Beckloff and cut by Moore Wood Type, the Legacy Chromatic Ornament represents the old and new generations of printers coming together. Each ornament can be printed alone or combined as a chromatic to make a third color where they overlap. This pantograph cut with end grain maple type was made especially for Pressing On. Two pieces of type at 6 line/pica (1 inch).
$40 - Pick Your Own Letter to be Cast!
Chose a metal type Stymie Inline Title Initial Cap (144/120 pt. aka. 1 2/3 in). Pick a single sort (letter) A-Z or &. Gregory Walters typecasting these letters on his Giant Pivotal Caster, originally owned by American Type Founders, will be shown in the film. Can be used for letterpress printing, but also makes a hefty paperweight!
$40 – Ink & Ice Cream Poster by Brad Vetter
Two of our favorites too! Printed on a Vandercook UNI 1 with hand-set wood type and laser cut photo plate by Brad Vetter. Made exclusively for Pressing On. 3 color, approx.12.5 x 21.5 inches. Edition of 25.
$45 - Heber Wells Wood Type Specimen Book
Get one of the first copies of Dave Peat's latest facsimile created from his Heber Wells Wood Type specimen book, available through this project and later at Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum's Shop. Heber was the son of Darius Wells, the first manufacturer of wood type.
$50 – Skyline Type Foundry Item
Chose a Type Font, set of Decorative Initials, Ornamental Border or Dingbat Collection up to the "H" Price Code in the Skyline Type Foundry Specimen Book & Catalog. Generously donated by Sky Shipley.
$55 – Letterpress Broadside Print by Russell Maret
Four color letterpress broadside printed entirely from metal types and ornaments that were designed, engraved, and cast in the 21st century. Russell Maret is an exceptionally gifted type designer, book artist, and private press printer working in New York City. 11 x 14 inches, exclusive to Pressing On. 100 copies.
$70 – Springtide Press Daredevil FurnitureIncludes 44 pieces of wood furniture plus 2 acrylic rings used to set type in curves or angles, ready for letterpress printing on cylinder or platen presses. Daredevil Furniture mixes easily with your existing furniture and quads, allowing you to save the cost of photopolymer plates and use the type you have for real daredevil printing. Set measures 5 x 7 inches. More Daredevil details here. Donated by Jessica Spring of Springtide Press.
$75 - Hatch Show Print Poster
We are so excited that our friends at Hatch Show Print in Nashville, TN are creating a custom poster. The infamous 136 year old poster shop goes by the motto "Preservation through Production" which we believe in very strongly! Hatch has printed posters for Elvis, B.B. King, and more performers than we can name and now Pressing On gets our very own poster and you can get a copy.
$200 - Declaration of Independence Print
Own a piece of American history produced the same way it was in 1776. The Declaration of Independence print was type-cast, set and printed by Rich Hopkins using Caslon metal type created from original, historic matrices (molds) from the English typefoundry. It is a limited edition 14.75 x 20 inch historically correct print of the Dunlap broadside.
$275 – Custom Printed Globe Poster, edition of 25.
The poster will be designed and set with wood type and cuts from the iconic Baltimore showcard printer Globe Poster, now the Globe Collection and Press at MICA. Globe's bursts of bright color and bold black type shouted the names of BB King, James Brown, Aretha Franklin and Marvin Gaye, among others…add your name to the list!
Posters will be 14 x 22 inches, with 2 layers: one screen printed in a fluorescent color of your choice, the second letterpress printed with black ink. You provide the text, 40 words maximum. The Globe printers will talk with you about your poster and then take the design from there. You'll receive a digital proof for one round of revisions before they print.
$300 - Moxon 18pt Metal Type cast by Dave Peat
We have one (1) metal font of type, a 19th century typeface Moxon in 18pt cast by our dear friend Dave Peat.
$350 - Brad Vetter Ink and Ice Cream Workshop
NEW Ink and Ice Cream Denver Edition
Lessons in Experimental Letterpress and Sprinkle Distribution
This letterpress workshop will delve into the fun alternative image-making techniques of pressure printing (or stratography). Pressure printing has become an integral part of Brad Vetter’s unique letterpress aesthetic. After working at the infamous Hatch Show Print he now continues to experiment and perfect the process in his own studio in DeKalb, Illinois. The workshop will talk about and demonstrate the advantages of tight registration and ability to quickly create an image.
– 5-person workshop, Location: Midwest
– 6-person workshop, Location: Denver, Colorado
Presented by the Englewood Letterpress Depot
Throughout the workshop we will be creating multi-color prints integrating hand-set type, laser cut elements, and printing large pressure printed backgrounds. No prior letterpress experience is necessary for this workshop, however, if you have printed before, you will still learn a lot. We will have a whole lot of fun, and you will add a new tool to your letterpress arsenal. You'll eat some yummy ice cream treats, too! (travel and lodging not included)
$400 - Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum Experience
You and up to 15 of your friends will receive a guided tour of the museum, you will learn about historic and decorative wood type from one of the world's largest collections, take a journey through the machines and tools that were used to manufacture wood type, and see working pressrooms where Hamilton staff teach and continue to produce letterpress printed pieces. Each participant will get to print a hand-set wood type poster that they get to take home! The type is set and ready for your group in Two Rivers, Wisconsin! Perfect for a design firm, school group, or enthusiastic group of friends. (travel and lodging not included)
$500 – Gothic Bold RS 8 line 5A font by Virgin Wood Type
(8 line = 96pt or 1 1/3 inch / 5A = 120 characters + catchwords)
Generously donated by Geri McCormick, Owner VWT
$700/1000 - Get the Lead Out! Starshaped Press Metal Type Printing Experience The best way to understand type and ornament is to study it in its metal form. This individual workshop at Starshaped Press with Jennifer Farrell in Chicago is designed to improve your understanding of typography so that your letterpress work (whether you’re a beginner or seasoned printer) can improve and move beyond initial experimentation. We will also explore the tradition of using ornaments to create images. We’ll look at tips and tricks to get the best results from both new and old metal type. No prior letterpress experience is required, but a passion for typography is a plus! (travel and lodging not included)
$1000 – Skyline Type Casting Apprenticeship + Foundry Item
Spend 2 days as part of the crew at Skyline Type Foundry experiencing all the jobs in the shop in Prescott, AZ. Experience casting type on a Thompson Typecaster with Schuyler (Sky) Shipley. + Chose an item up to the "H" Price Code in the Skyline Specimen Book & Catalog. (travel and lodging not included)
$1125 – Heidelberg Windmill Master Class with Peter Fraterdeus
Attend an intimate (max. of 4) Letterpress Master Class with Peter at the Slow Print shop in Dubuque, IA. Go through the entire production of a two-color, two-sided circular die cut coaster on the Heidelberg 10x15 platen, from digital prepress, initial press sheet trimming to the die-cut delivery. Principles of feeding, roller setting, registration and operations for the press are thoroughly covered, the majority of which applies to any platen press.
$1200 – Virgin Wood Type Apprenticeship Learn to cut wood type with Geri McCormick and Matt Rieck at Virgin Wood Type in Rochester, NY. Pantograph cut to your hearts content for 1 1/2 days making end grain maple ornaments and simple shapes (no fonts). Take home everything you make! Donated by our friends at VWT (travel and lodging not included)
$2,000 - Richard L. Hopkins Monotype Metal Typecasting Session Three-day, one-on-one, hands-on instructional session with Rich Hopkins at his Hill & Dale Private Press and Typefoundry, at Terra Alta, West Virginia. Three days of intense work with the goal of (1) making a complete metal font of type OR (2) casting composition, doing makeup work, and printing a small booklet. More details available upon request (travel and lodging not included)
$2,200 - T&T Kelsey 5x8 Press + BONUS Starter Kit + Free Shipping
Own your own press! Pick any model 5 X 8 Kelsey and any color that T and T Press Restoration offers. Generously donated to help the film!
T&T Printer Starter Kit includes: New rubber rollers with steel trucks, chase bars, reglets and furniture, wax and gauge pins, and tympan and press board. Dave Peat BONUS Starter Kit: Composing stick and line gauge, hand-held Rouse slug cutter/leads and slugs, quoins and quoin key/ink and brayer, 2 small fonts of metal type + Iowa cases, and cuts and electrotypes/paper.
$2,500 - Moore Wood Type Apprenticeship WeekendSpend up to two and a half days in Columbus, Ohio with Scott Moore cutting all the wood type you want at Moore Wood Type. You get to apprentice with Scott Moore in the first home type-cutting workshop. The package includes a brief history of wood type, instruction on his pantograph, access to all his patterns, and all the type high, end grain hard maple you need. Additional patterns can be pre-made to your own art and patterns cut out of plywood on his laser before you arrive. Access to the MWT 90 watt laser is included and projects can be made as part of the experience. (travel, lodging, and meals not included.) Come and spend a weekend cutting your own new wood type!
$5,000 - Co-Producer Credit
As a Co-Producer of Pressing On you deserve credit. Credit for helping bring this project to life. Limited to three, your name will be featured in the credits before the film and after. You'll also be on all posters and marketing material, and on our website. We'll provide you regular updates on the film as we begin production this summer. You'll have the opportunity to come on set for a day and receive extra goodies throughout the project.
- A special thank you goes to our composer Mark Greenberg of Mayfair Workshop, for his beautiful music in the trailer video above.
- Kickstarter Film Sponsor: Appleton Coated (we love your paper!)
- P22 Type Foundry, Not Your Typical Type, HWT Collection
Risks and challenges
Documentaries are a difficult endeavor! They include long production days, a limited crew, and extended editing. Fortunately we are at a point with this project where most challenges that filmmakers face are well behind us.
We've done our absolute best to limit risks involved – planning is key! The most common challenge that may crop up would be an extended post production period beyond our initial deadline. This could occur in our travels as we discover additional stories that require documenting or our post production simply requiring longer then anticipated.
We have confidence that Pressing On will succeed. In the past we've achieved our goals, hit our deadlines, and brought amazing stories to life.
We honestly do not foresee any reason that Pressing On will not be shared with the world. Nothing is certain but we've got a pretty good shot!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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