Anyone who knows me knows how much of a sucker I am for a nice hand-printed type poster. I cover this kind of work frequently at ATELIER TALLY… letterpress or screen-print, I am happy with a bit of bold type.

So, imagine my happiness when I discovered Typoretum, a small family-run private press based in rural Essex, providing a completely bespoke letterpress printing service. Jackpot!

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Justin Knopp’s first practical introduction to letterpress printing came whilst studying Graphic Design at Central Saint Martins.

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The invention of printing with ‘moveable type’, attributed to Johannes Gutenberg of Mainz on the Rhine between 1440 and 1450 and the subsequent mass communication of knowledge entered the world into a new age. It is one of the most important events in the cultural history of mankind and the technology remained in widespread use for over five centuries.

Like many ancient crafts, the reward with letterpress comes in a product that is inherently tactile and beautiful. As a result of the hand crafted nature of letterpress, each print is subtly different and no two prints are exactly the same. The ‘bite’ of the raised letterpress type leaves behind a finely embossed impression that is both aesthetically pleasing and tactile.

Letterpress, in its purest form, is also inherently environmentally friendly, as no blocks need to be made and all the type and spacing material is re-used.

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Typoretum offer a full bespoke service for letterpress and starting in Spring 2011 they will even have letterpress workshops (excitement ensues within me) teaching students how to use the letterpress machines using their extensive collection of metal letterpress type and woodletter.

Type geeks of the world unite!

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You can read a lot more at their website: typoretum.co.uk.


Having worked in design for the past decade, Daniel started ateliertally.com as a discussion of timeless, modernist product design. Trained as a graphic designer, he also has an avid interest in typography. You can follow him on Twitter @ateliertally.

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