Breakfast and Letterpress Typography Workshop @HMCT

Hoffmitz Milken Center for Typography at ArtCenter College of Design is hosting a workshop to welcome Design Incubation and typography design researchers to the West Coast.

We are excited to announce the Hoffmitz Milken Center for Typography at ArtCenter College of Design is generously hosting a workshop to welcome Design Incubation and typography design researchers to the West Coast during the 106th Annual CAA Conference in Los Angeles.

Saturday, February 24, 2018
Hoffmitz Milken Center for Typography / Archetype Press 
South Raymond Avenue
Pasadena, California 91105

The Hoffmitz Milken Center for Typography [HMCT] at ArtCenter College of Design was founded in 2015 in memory of Professor Leah Hoffmitz Milken, a well-known typographer, letterform designer and esteemed faculty member at ArtCenter. Archetype Press houses more than 2,500 cases of rare American and European foundry type, wood type, and ornaments.

Gloria Kondrup, Executive Director of Hoffmitz Milken Center for Typography and Director of Archetype Press, will also be moderating a special program of typography research presentations during Affiliated Society Meeting: Design Incubation Special Program on Typography. For details visit the website announcement. All are welcome to attend these events. Please register in advance.

Making the Machine Human: Embracing Printing Technologies in Crafting a Present-Day Moveable Typeface

Peter P. Bella, Jr
Assistant Professor

Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne

How human can the machine become in relation to the craft of moveable type and modern printing technologies? The letterpress has been an instrumental aspect of typography for centuries. The mechanical process of raised letterforms transferring ink to paper has a humanistic quality that exemplifies our senses and emotions. Movable type has seen centuries of adaptations—lead, wood, polymer and more; along with the creation tools and technologies—such as pantographs, plate makers, and computer. Has moveable type met its end, has letterpress found its zenith? Has technology surpassed this mechanical time machine and the cold nature of cast metal?

3D printing has varying qualities and expectations dependent on numerous variables. These virtues of 3D printing offer the design of typography, moveable type, and printing techniques an amplitude of potential expressions and experiential opportunities. Examples of 3D printing’s use in the realm of typography are found in 3D sculptures expressive of the letters architecture, and letterforms designed in three-dimensional space, never intended for physical traditional letterpress printing methods. This research is concerned with something entirely different finding a middle ground between perfection and form defining its own voice and concept through the qualities that are characteristically built into the machine.

This research suggest letterpress printing and moveable type has untapped life yet to be revealed presenting the challenging demands of typography and the mechanical properties of 3D printing methods applied to the creation of moveable type, its design, printing, and communicative qualities by personifying 3D printing technologies to create a moveable typeface with humanistic qualities and design voice. This moveable type exploration embraces the 3D printer as a machine to create a typeface never intended to meet the standards of perfection, but to embody the inherent artistic and humanistic aesthetics of the machine by pushing technology to its limits and discovering how human a 3D printed movable typeface can become.


Ned Drew
Department of Arts, Culture and Media
Rutgers University

Brenda McManus
Assistant Professor Graphic Design
Dyson College of Arts & Sciences
Pace University

This letterpress project encompasses the traditional printing method with a contemporary and modular printing system. Inspired by the minimalist children’s book design of artists such as Blexbolex, Bruno Munari and Paul Rand, we set out to develop a narrative, and its accompanying visual vocabulary, based on a simple shape—the triangle. Using this shape we developed a unique story, generated through a system of expanding interpretations and multiple combinations.

The overall concept and design of this project revolves around our dedication to the foundations of design. Basic design principles, such as color, shape, abstraction and layering are at the core of this initiative. We developed a printing system based on a single unit, a one-inch right triangle. Like building blocks, we set out to create a series of simplified illustrations that were comprised of this single unit (the triangle).

Although conceived as a letterpress project, our process started with a more contemporary tool, the computer. We used Adobe Illustrator to design the animal illustrations, this process would later serve as a digital blueprint to work from when translating the various layers to the press bed. Once we worked through the design we produced one hundred, type high, 1” x 1” right triangles. To implement this system we produced 3D printed 1×1” triangular counter forms or “slugs”. These slugs enabled us to easily “lock up” different configurations on the press bed. We also custom cut a set of plywood “furniture” in various sizes that acted to fill and organize the unused areas of the press bed. This marriage of old and new technologies allowed for exciting possibilities, a departure from the conventional pica based printing process.

The use of digital tools in the design phase was instrumental in the success of our illustrations and in implementing and managing the printing process.

We often discuss with our students the concept of “1+1=3”. This simple concept helps to illustrate that, in design, basic elements can be combined to make unique combinations. In our printing process this is was also true. A major design consideration was the correct and balanced layering of colors to achieve the different components of the animals’ portraits. These whimsical and simplified representations came to life through the subtle layering and manipulation of various color combinations.