The first extensive monograph on Bruce Licher's Independent Project Press and Independent Project Records.
With the current explosion of interest in letterpress, many are looking to see how new work can be influenced by the past. Active since 1982, Bruce Licher’s Independent Project Press is a contemporary studio that has bridged technological eras and produced an unparalleled body of work. It has culled from the past while simultaneously turning it on its head with a distinct visual vocabulary that continues to influence current aesthetics.
For the first time, a comprehensive overview of Independent Project Press and Independent Project Records is being complied into a monograph published by P22 Type Foundry and P22 Analog. With crowd funding via Kickstarter, this book can be produced in a quantity and quality that displays the limited edition, hand-made work of IPP in over 150 pages of full color, from mechanical process work (for clients such as REM, Stereolab, and Camper Van Beethoven) to finished works of art with insights into the creative process along the way. The text will include exhibit catalog essays as well as material from Rudy Vanderlans’s Emigre magazine that featured the work of IPP. Co-designed by Bruce Licher and P22’s James Grieshaber, the book will be a 12” x 12” hardcover book that displays in full color the diverse range of art and design produced by IPP. It will be produced in an edition of 1000 copies with a limited edition deluxe version of 200 copies that includes a 10” vinyl record. Many reward levels will allow backers to get the book at a pre-publication discount as well as a range of other items produced by IPP. This book will be a profound reminder of the value of the hand-made and how it can interface with the mass produced. It will stand as a major documentation of one of the most influential letterpress studios currently in existence.
The retail price of the book will be $69.99 - get in as an advance Kickstarter backer and get a copy of the book and/or other great Independent Project materials at a great price.
Musician, artist & designer Bruce Licher founded Independent Project Press after learning the art of letterpress printing at the Women's Graphic Center in downtown Los Angeles at the beginning of 1982. His initial projects centered around creating album covers, postcards and promotional stamps for his band Savage Republic. It didn't take long before he was producing work for other L.A. underground music groups, along with a growing number of clients in the Los Angeles design community. In addition to packaging and releasing music on his own record label (Independent Project Records), his other music-related clients . Independent Project Press also produces elegant and creative business stationery, invitations, wine labels, promotional stamp sheets and booklets, and numerous other pieces of letterpress-printed ephemera for clients large and small. Licher was nominated twice for a Grammy Award for his album packaging, and has been credited with starting the trend in letterpress-printed CD and record packaging using industrial-style chipboard. His graphic design and letterpress work has been featured in two major design exhibitions at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York City, and has also been exhibited in California, Arizona, and Paris, France. After 17 years living and working in Sedona, Arizona, Licher and his artist wife Karen have relocated Independent Project Press to the Eastern Sierra town of Bishop, California.
“What Bruce Licher creates at Independent Project Press rides the line between “art” and “product.” The relatively small batches of album sleeves, postcards, stamps and other memorabilia that he produces are meticulously crafted, and are fed into the presses by hand, piece by piece. His combinations - austere photographic images, disparate mixes of Dada-esque typeface, postage-stamp visions swathed in gold, silver and blood red - are instantly distinctive. Created inside Licher’s design ethos, something as potentially mundane as a business card emerges as a haunting work that seems antiquated yet vibrant and contemporary.” - Peter Gilstrap, Phoenix New Times
“Independent Project Press was born out of Bruce Licher’s vision of combining music and packaging in a cohesive, artful and economical whole... Using the almost extinct method of letterpress printing and such materials as chipboard and metallic ink, Licher conjures up the sense of the desert vernacular. Each piece is like a relic from a place far from the hustle and bustle of city life and from a time long before computers. -- Matt Woolman, excerpt from “Sonic Landscapes” chapter in his book Sonic Graphics, Seeing Sound
“Bruce Licher’s career exemplifies the entrepreneurial, do-it-yourself ethos that many designers and artists embrace today... Exploiting the potential rawness and imperfection of letterpress printing, Licher uses inks that don’t completely cover his surfaces, and he allows relief characters to bite into the page... The graphic identity for Independent Project Press revels in the material qualities of letterpress printing. Licher has made a fetish out of the routine ephemera of paper correspondence, creating not only business cards, letterheads, and envelopes, but also his own simulated postal stamps and bank checks. To create these pieces, Licher assembles minute typographic elements and prints them in multiple layers of ink. He designs a new piece when supplies run out, insuring that his brand image remains in flux-- appropriately “independent” -- rather than freezing into a rigid identity.” -- Ellen Lupton, excerpt from Design Culture Now exhibition catalog for the First National Design Triennial at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, 2000
Vernacular styles cannot be taught in the traditional sense. They are born out of a direct need or out of a particular way of working that is often indigenous to a certain trade. Bruce Licher’s work is a case in point. His gritty letterpress style evolved from the need to package his records. He bought a second-hand letterpress, taught himself to print, and in the process, created a highly personal approach to graphic design.” -- Rudy Vanderlans, introduction to Emigre magazine #16, 1990
Reward levels may be added and combined upon request.
Video : Special thanks for motion video footage courtesy of Stuart Swezey of Mu Productions from the feature documentary "Desolation Center." Thank you to Jeremy Royce and Debbie Spinelli who did the shoot at Bruce's print shop. Soundtrack to Kickstarter video is an exerpt from "Lightspeed" from the CD Acid Gospel Experience by Scenic.
Risks and challenges
The risks and challenges of this project, like many similar projects are quite simply: If we raise the money, we can do it! If we do not hit our goal, the project may have to be re-evaluated and reconfigured. In order to print a full color art book in a conventional process (offset lithography) with a subject about another printing process (letterpress), there needs to be careful preparation of the art files for the printer. We are confident that the experience of the designers will see that the pre-press production of this book is top-notch. The printer selected is located overseas. This was decided in order to keep the list price lower that would otherwise be possible for this size book, so there is a risk of delay with import customs but we expect delivery to take place in December 2018.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (28 days)