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Big Steam Print

On Saturday we made our largest ever print using a steamroller! We were thrilled to be invited by Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft to take part in the second stage of their Big Steam Print event at the London Transport Museum depot, Acton. It was great to share the excitement for printing with everyone who came. Our print – artwork based on a letterpress forme cut and into linoleum – will be exhibited with all the other steamroller-printed work at Phoenix Brighton from 6th – 21st August 2016.

Printers’ mark

This post aims to explain the back story of the New North Press monogram, or printers’ mark.

A printers’ mark was a symbol used by early printers to trademark their work. From C15th onwards printers such as William Caxton, Aldus Manutius and Christophe Plantin used these decorative devices to sign their work and they became associated with a mark of quality.

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Left, egs from Notable Printers’ Marks, by Paul Moxon. Right, Zerkall watermark

Having always admired the watermark of the Zerkall papers that we often print on at New North Press – a symbol which invokes similar iconography to these printers’ marks – we decided to do some further research. We discovered that many of these historic devices use an ‘orb and four’ motif, related to the ‘orb and cross’ – literally the earth surmounted by the cross – which is also the alchemical symbol for antimony, an ingredient in type metal. Often incorporated was the ‘4’ character which long before the development of printing had been a mark of merchants to identify their wares.

Inspired by this we set about to form a New North Press printers’ mark by combining the initials NNP into a single device with an elevated P in reference to the 4 of the historic marks.

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New North Press printers’mark cut in linoleum

To be able to print our new mark alongside our type we initially cut it from linoleum and mounted it to type high. However on a recent trip to Switzerland, Beatrice visited good friend Dafi Kühne who offered to cut us custom blocks in wood using his pantograph machine – a far more elegant and durable solution.

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New North Press printer’s marks cut using a pantograph by Dafi Kühne

Past and future meet

nnp_projects_test1We’re proud to announce A23D, our 3D-printed letterpress font which will be launched at the V&A as part of London Design Festival. We will be giving talks and screening a film about the project, as well as a printing demonstration of the font in use.

A23D has been designed by renowned type designers A2-Type and fabricated by specialist model makers Chalk Studios. Adrian Harrison’s fantastic short film charts the project’s course, from initial designs to the font’s first use in the limited edition A23D specimen posters.

Chelsea lasercut letterpress font

bodoni_laser_cut_typeface-cutlasercut-thumbnailNew North Press founder Graham has been an external letterpress tutor for first year BA Graphic Design Communication students at Chelsea College of Arts since 2002.

In a project initiated by course leader Nigel Bents, assisted by Paul Oakley and Jonny Holmes, the students designed ornamented letterforms, a selection of which were produced as a lasercut letterpress font. The letters were cut from 3mm plywood then mounted to blocks to make them type high. The finished font will live at New North Press as a new member of our type library.

Olympic restrictions posters

Taking inspiration from the Olympic Committee’s strict rules regarding the use of words relating to this summer’s Games, we have been setting the recent participants of our workshops an Elephant in the Room project to describe the indescribable.

Olympic, Games, London, 2012, medals, summer, gold, silver and bronze – just some of the words banned from unauthorised public use in conjunction with London 2012 Olympic Games. But instead of causing headaches, these stringent rules have provided the inspiration for the project set at New North Press’ monthly Introduction to Letterpress classes.

Below are five group’s outcomes exploring the theme, while strictly adhering to the Olympic Committee’s stipulations. Those who took part were from various walks of life and had an array of political and emotional opinions on the subject, which were discussed and incorporated into the final designs.

NB: These prints are the personal work of the participants involved and were not created to be sold or make any associat ion with business, goods or trade of any kind. Their purpose for being is solely to describe something which could not be mentioned in the public domain.

Hackney Libraries

arts-week-hackney-todayWe’ve been working with pupils from Holy Trinity Primary School in Dalston and performance poet Adisa on a project about the appreciation of libraries.

The pupils, who were 10 years old, showed amazing proficiency at type setting and were thrilled to see the words they had written published by their own hands.

The prints will be displayed in libraries across Hackney until the end of the summer and the project was written about in Hackney Today.