1445Re: Real Printing
- May 1, 2003"Paul W Romaine" wrote:
> Would Bruce Rogers or Daniel Berkeley Updike have jumped atI'd beg to differ. From what I've read of Rogers (in his own words,
> photopolymer, digital composition and modern offset? You bet!
and those of his biographers and friends) he thought Offset printing
was, although a boon for the printing "industry", a curse on the
printing "art". It's product is cold, sterile, flat, and without
All that said, you can't get good color photos in a publication with
> a certain feel and ... for lack of a better term, "zen" to settingYes, I agree. Although I've been working with computers since
> foundry type.
"PageMaker v.1.0", and can set electronic type with the best of them
(gotta love those AdobeExpert Sets!), there is something meditative
about setting lead type by hand. The rhythmic click of lead alloy on
steel, the preassure of the thumb in a composing stick, the swinging
of the arm from case to stick--it IS a very Zen activity. Setting type
by hand is all about "REAL-NESS"--metal, ink, clacking steel and iron,
letters and images being forcibly impressed into paper. Letterpress
printing produces a real, tangible, eternal THING.
Whereas, setting type on computers is all about illusion. Bits and
bytes, transitory signals through wires, lasers, static charges, toner
on paper which will crumble away in a few decades. Modern printing is
fleeting, impermanent, and transitory.
> May I quibble? Gutenberg's invention had the *potential* to bringAlthough modern free-thinking individuals might speculate that the
> books, pardons, printed forms, posters, newspapers, playbills...
Press had tremendous potential to free the common man, it in fact only
aided to his further enslavement, subjugation, and oppression. The
Press brought mass-produceable printed messages, and with it,, the
easy dissemination of ever-increasing laws, beaurocracy, and
government regulations of everything from what texts were printed, to
how many chickens you were allowed to own if you were of a certain
The press brought things like censorship, beaurocracy, genocide (based
on census data) and propaganda into ubiquity.
The press, in fact, could be touted as the single most insideous
instrument of human subjugation since the sword or spear...
I've been doing letterpress for about 2 years. I did a little in
college (a few decades ago, printing posters for the Theatre Dept.
with wood type on a little flatbed poster press.) I also do a LOT of
computer typesetting. The shop where I currently work prints mostly
offset, with plates we make directly from our computer files.
I wish they made "relief" plate material for our Direct-To-Plate
machine. To be able to make my own plates for the Heidelberg from
files on my mac, and have them spit out in a matter of minutes would
be heavenly, but alas, it is not to be...
I love my Mac. I love Quark and Photoshop and Illustrator. I love
well-crafted digital type (which is, unfortunately, in the vast
MINORITY in the hundreds of currently available digital typefaces.)
But there is something very special and almost mystical about pulling
some slightly over-preassure prints, set in ATF Caslon Old Style on
Rives BFK Medium from the platen of my 1912 C&P 10x15 Old Series
press--a feeling, both magical and tangible that I doubt we will ever
be able to elicit from modern digital techno-printing, no matter how
high the resolution, how advanced the pigments, or how sophisticated
the software becomes...
And so I set type, and print. And I use Photopolymer plates too
because it lets me use techniques and tricks on Letterpress that are
otherwise impossible (or maddening) to achieve. Like "text-on-a-curve"
or sophisticated separations, or strange type manipulation.
But no matte what I do on my computer, when it comes to printing type,
it will ALWAYS (in my opinion) look better if printed by a relief
process. I'm sure the folks at Ryobi, Heidelberg, and Komori think
differently, but they are just too dazzled by the technology to see
the subtle beauty of "real printing"...
That's just my opinion, though. YMMV...
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