Monday, December 21, 2009

L Letterpress Machine

Was wandering around the Paper Source website in search of kraft envelopes (because who doesn't scour the internet for obscure and ridiculous things they don't need) and stumbled across this little machine which is. Well. It bills itself as letterpress, but I'm a little troubled by that. (I've seen it compared it to the gocco vs. screenprinting-though they're in the same ballpark, it's a distilled version of the form)

Interesting idea, but it ruins for me the romance of old fashioned machinery that's remained the same for hundreds of years and makes it cheap and accessible. I see this less as advancement, and more as chintzy crafting train wrecks waiting to happen.

However, it's cost prohibitive for the casual observer (cheap, but not that cheap). If you watch it in action, you have to put the paper in between that folding thing, and then roll it by hand through the machine, making a run of any kind intense in terms of time and energy. (and more than one color? geeze) I say if you're serious enough to spend this on a plastic, prepackaged version, why not go to the trouble to track down a card sized press on ebay? Or maybe a bigger one? But I'm sort of a purist- why would you buy a dumbed down version for the average consumer if you can get the real thing? In it's favor, you can get custom plates made for it, same as a regular letterpress. So I admit to being a bit torn.

Lifestyle Crafts is doing a giveaway of the machine here. (until midnight pacific tonight) Despite my criticism, I'm totally curious to get my hands on it and try it out.
Some thoughts about it from letterpress pros, here and here. (hint: not super happy on either count. I've noticed the reviews from "crafters" are much more stoked)



  1. I'm with you. I'm a little intrigued but a total purist. Give me the real thing. Everyone and their mom is going to have and do "letterpressing" now. How are we going to distiguish between real letterpressing and this fakey-fake when buying something on etsy, etc? I'm disturbed.

  2. You hear this complaint every time some technology comes around that makes it easier for the normal dude to do something that previously was only available to pros.

    Desktop publishing got easy with a computer and the world was FLOODED with newsletters that used every concievable font, AT ONCE.

    Digital cameras come around, and suddenly there're horedes of amateur photograhpers. Photoshop makes color-correcting a breeze, but encourages all kinds of 'nasty' image manipulation.

    Every time, the previous pros looked at what they saw and claimed that the industry has gone to Helena Handbasket. But there are still professional graphic designers/photographes/letterpress folks. The cream rises.