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Re: Letterpress or DTP software?

I will second Roberta here. I work as a graphic designer for the State of
California's legislature, and I am luckily in an environment where the
vast majority of my colleagues - printers, designers, illustrators and
calligrapher(s) - have a background in what was taught as "industrial
arts" at my highschool and college. Some have been letterpress printers
(we still run a windmill all day for foiling and embossing), some
printmakers, and others various machine operators. All have technical and
some have university training.

While the majority of the typesetters and designers are now doing our work
digitally, I think the quality of what we do comes from our training in
letterpress and fine printing. In fact, we even combine the technologies
on rare occasions - the wealth of types now available in digital form (for
example the wonderful Adobe Jenson, with all the alternate characters,
swash alphabets, small caps and various figures - each in numerous optical
sizes!) is an incredible boon. We typeset on the computer, which allows us
to share proofs quickly and easily even over the internet, and eventually
output to film from which we make magnesium or photopolymer, which can be
locked up and printed just like metal or wood.


Joshua Lurie-Terrell

On Sun, 2 Jul 2000, RLavadour wrote:

> It is interesting to me how the proliferation of 'desktop publishing' has
> prompted us to regard typesetting - as if we could casually just learn a
> trade almost as easily as purchasing a software product. (This isn't a flame
> directed at the original poster, just a pet peeve in general...)
> If you are truly interested in becoming a printer, the press is the only the
> first piece of equipment you need. A host of other equipment and supplies is
> essential.
> If you can't invest the money and/or time in becoming a printer, studying
> the history of type, basics of good equipment, layout and press work etc.
> (which, believe me, the more you learn, the more you find out how much you
> didn't know...), I would recommend working with a printer who will either
> collaborate with you on a project by project basis or simply do the
> letterpress work for you for a fee.
> If you are into it for a long term commitment, as you have already
> experienced there are wonderful on-line resources available and many of the
> experienced typesetters on the letpress listserv are more than happy to help
> you out along the way.
> The upside of investing time in learning good typesetting even if you never
> set up your own press is that it will vastly improve your computer generated
> layout.
> Best wishes,
> Roberta
> Pendleton, OR
> paper@oregontrail.net
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Suzanne McCarthy <TCnative@AOL.COM>
> Date: Sunday, July 02, 2000 8:33 AM
> Subject: Letterpress or DTP software?
> >Hello again,
> >
> >As a newcomer to the area of book arts, I have another question for more
> >experienced list members regarding letterpress vs. desktop publishing
> >software.
> >
> >I recently completed an introductory class in non-adhesive book binding and
> >have been inspired to continue creating books on my own. I'll probably be
> >making mostly blank books but would also like to be able to add text to
> them
> >at some point. I've been a rubber stamper for a few years and have collecte
> d
> >several alphabets, as well as having had some quotes and poems made as
> custom
> >stamps, and I've dabbled a bit in calligraphy. As a former newspaper copy
> >editor, I have experience in word processing, mainly MS Word. To be able to
> >do a variety of book page layouts, I've been told that a desktop publishing
> >program such as Adobe PageMaker would be required -- at a cost of about
> $500.
> >
> >On a visit to my bookbinding instructor's studio, I was able to see several
> >kinds of old presses for handset metal type (although not in operation
> during
> >the visit), and he mentioned that I'd probably be able to obtain a small
> >tabletop letterpress for about $150. Since another visit won't be possible
> >for a while, I'd like to be able to learn more about letterpress operation
> in
> >the meantime. This list has directed me to various helpful websites,
> >including one that describes basic tools and equipment necessary for
> >letterpress printing, but I'd also like to be able to find some resources
> >that show step-by-step how the whole process works.
> >
> >My questions are these:
> >
> >1. What comments, pro and con, would users of letterpresses have as opposed
> >to desktop publishing? What would you recommend for someone starting out?
> >
> >2. Could you give an estimate of the "bare minimums" required in cost,
> >equipment, space available, etc., to set up a small letterpress operation?
> >
> >3. Do you know of any videos available that would show letterpresses in
> >operation?
> >
> >4. What, if any, other advice would you offer?
> >
> >Thanks for any insights and/or suggestions,
> >Suzanne
> >
> >             ***********************************************
> >            BOOK_ARTS-L: The listserv for all the book arts.
> >      For subscription information, the Archive, and other related
> >            resources and links go to the Book_Arts-L FAQ at:
> >                      <http://www.philobiblon.com>
> >             ***********************************************
>              ***********************************************
>             BOOK_ARTS-L: The listserv for all the book arts.
>       For subscription information, the Archive, and other related
>             resources and links go to the Book_Arts-L FAQ at:
>                       <http://www.philobiblon.com>
>              ***********************************************

            BOOK_ARTS-L: The listserv for all the book arts.
      For subscription information, the Archive, and other related
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