Kickin’ it Old School with Print Media!
Educate yourself: Here’s why this is important
Ladies and Gents, it’s time we all took a moment to honor our good friend, print media. Print media includes a wide range of techniques that challenge us as designers to go back to basics and work with our hands. It is a nice way to take a step back and do some design work without the help of our beloved computers and advanced technology. Although, if you want to stick with the computer AND get that handmade print feel, Go Media has something for you too!
So I’m lost, please explain what this is?
Allow me to focus on a few types of print media: letterpress and printmaking.
Letterpress focuses on mostly typesetting. Using both metal and wood type, a designer can create tons of different print materials with an old world feel. Shout out to Gutenberg for this one. From menus to postcards, you can try out an assortment of print materials. Even though this process uses an abundance of type, imagery can be used as well by carving linoleum blocks.
Printmaking, on the other hand, is the ability to create limited quantity prints that are unique created by use of ink and different techniques. These are original designs and are not photo realistic replications. Here are some of the different ways to go about printmaking:
- Monotypes: This is the equivalent of painting. Only, the printer paints with ink and once printed, the image is backwards.
- Etching: You can create an image by carving or using acid to eat away at a zinc plate. The image can then be printed two different ways. You can simply roll the ink on a create a solid background/reversed out object or you can rub the ink into the etched lines to allow only the linear elements to show up.
- Aquatint: This technique is when you let large areas of a zinc plate to be eaten away by acid, creating different values according to the length of time it is exposed.
- Screen Printing: This one works a bit differently. With this method, you create your design with different screens that display one color. Each screen is prepared to have small holes that allows ink to flow through. To create the final product you will need to layer each color or your design. Aside from being a totally different process of printmaking, screen printing allows you to print on a variety of different mediums. From textile patterns to paper prints, you are set!
Save the press: Try it out!
People say print is a bit of a dying breed. However, more and more people are heading back to this form of design and its popularity is slowly regaining strength. Not familiar with how this all works? Give it a try! There is nothing quite like a little bit of first hand experience. And trust me designers, sometimes stepping away from technology and reverting back to working with your hands can really set you up for success.
My own trials
- I am definitely a long way from being a master printer, however I loved trying out these different mediums of design. it is a really nice way to get in touch with the roots of graphic design, while still creating something fresh and new!
A word of caution…
- Before you leave the computer to go make some prints, take a second and make sure you know all the proper techniques when it comes to handling equipment. Print techniques have been around for hundreds of years, and often times so has the equipment you are using. Let’s be honest, when is the last time you found a brand new press for sale? .. That’s what I thought. Take care of your materials and be nice to your press.
- Second tidbit of advice: Clean hands is key. Ink gets everywhere and smudgy fingerprints can turn a beautiful project into an eyesore in seconds. Don’t let this happen to you!
- Lastly, don’t forget that everything you do before you print needs to be backwards. As if it wasn’t a tricky process already. This is especially crucial to remember when dealing with text and lettering.
- Not feeling challenged? Try diagonally setting type or give aquatint prints a try. Need more color? Tryout a blend roll. Enjoy!
Some favorites to inspire you:
Get pumped to print! The possibilities are endless.
Printers to look up:
- Pressing On Video/ Kickstarter
- This is a sneak peak at an upcoming documentary all about letterpress, its origins, and its survival. Check out Pressing On via their website as well.
Happy Printing Designers!