Community Resources and Recommended Reads

The Letterpress Printing Community

Letterpress printing is a dirty, messy, and time-consuming challenge that will frustrate you with its tediousness and weight. However, the reward is more wonderful than you could imagine. The Letterpress community offers an abundance of ways in which you can meet other makers, learn more about the process, and see what other folks are doing with their ink and paper.

Guilds, Clubs, and Community Teaching Facilities

The Amalgamated Printers Association was founded in 1958, by hobby and professional printers. It includes printers who practice letterpress printing as a hobby, a profession, or an art-making process. The membership is limited to 150 members who are required to print four pieces of work per year. These pieces are distributed to other members of the Association in monthly mailings. The organization maintains an archive of these printed pieces.

Each year, at least one member volunteers to host the annual meeting and conference, titled APA Wayzgoose. The events and activities showcase both the host city’s print-related gems, as well as the local members of the letterpress community.

In addition to the APA, which has members from around the world, there are regional guilds or clubs. They are often affiliated with a museum or historical site that includes a print shop as a working exhibit. Colonial Williamsburg, History San Jose, historical societies, and design schools or craft-related community centers can also be great resources.

  • Hatch Show Print: The History of a Great American Poster Shop, by Jim Sherraden, Elek Horvath and Paul Kingsbury
  • Hatch Show Print: Letterpress Print and Design Since 1879, by Jim Sherraden with Celene Aubry
  • American Wood Type: 1828-1900 – Notes on the Evolution of Decorated and Large Types, by Rob Roy Kelly
  • Letterpress: The Allure of the Handmade, by David Jury
  • General Printing: An Illustrated Guide to Letterpress Printing, by Glen U. Cleeton, Charles W. Pitkin and Raymond L. Cornwell
  • A Story With Character Ten Years of Tipoteca Italiana, by Sandro Berra and Fabio Zonta
  • The Art of Wood Type, by Gregory Ruffa
  • Hamilton Wood Type: A History in Headlines, by Bill Moran, Robert Style, Dennis Ichiyama, Richard Zauft, and Dave Carso
  • The Handy Book of Artistic Printing: Collection of Letterpress Examples with Specimens of Type, Ornament, Corner Fills, Borders, Twisters, Wrinklers, and other Freaks of Fancy, by Doug Clouse and Angela Voulangas
  • The Printmaking Bible: The Complete Guide to Materials and Techniques Hardcover, by Ann d’Arcy Hughes and Hebe Vernon-Morris
  • 100 Wood Type Alphabets (Lettering, Calligraphy, Typography), by Rob Roy Kelly
  • American Metal Typefaces of the Twentieth Century, by Mac McGrew
  • Specimens of Chromatic Wood Type, Borders, & c.: The 1874 Masterpiece of Colorful Typography, by Esther K. Smith, Steven Heller, Wayne White
  • For the Love of Letterpress: A Printing Handbook for Instructors and Students Paperback, by Cathie Ruggie Saunders and Martha Chiplis
  • Elementary Platen Presswork, by Ralph W. Polk
  • Alphabets: A Miscellany of Letters, Introduction by David Sacks
  • Books, Boxes and Portfolios, by Frank Zeier
  • The Signs of Paris, by Louise Fili
  • The New Design Source Book, by Felice Hodges, Emma Dent Coad, Anne Stone, Penny Sparke, and Hugh Aldersey Williams
  • Magic Books & Paper Toys: Flip Books, E-Z Pop-ups & Other Paper Playthings to Amaze & Delight, by Esther K. Smith
  • Mexican Blackletter, by Cristina Paoli
  • Sign Painters, by Faythe Levine, Sam Macon
  • Margaret Kilgallen: That’s Where the Beauty is, by Heidi Zuckerman, Courtenay Finn, Jenelle Porter
  • Swoon by Swoon, by Jeffrey Deitch
  • Draplin Design Co.: Pretty Much Everything, by Aaron Draplin
  • House Industries: The Process is the Inspiration, by House Industries
  • Alexander Girard, by Todd Oldham, Kiera Coffee
  • Creative Quest, by Questlove
  • Life in the Back Shop, by Robert MacGregor Shaw
  • The Practice of Printing, by Ralph & Edwin Polk
  • Handbook for Pressmen, by Fred W. Hoch
  • Catalogue of Nineteenth Century Printing Presses, by Harold E. Sterne
  • Shadow Type or Scripts, by Louise Fili/Steven Heller
  • Fonts & Logos or Logotypes and Letterforms, by Doyald Young
  • The Golden Secrets of Lettering, by Martina Flor
  • In Progress, by Jessica Hische
  • House Industries Lettering Manual, by Ken Barber
  • Alphabets of Wood, by James Clough/Chiara Scattolin
  • The Art of Hand Lettering, by Helm Wotzkow
  • Keep Calm and Carry On: The Truth Behind the Poster, by Bex Lewis
  • How Posters Work, by Ellen Lupton
  • Graphics: A Century of Poster and Advertising Design, by Alain Weill
  • Maximum Plunder: The Poster Art of Mike King, by Paul Herring and Shawna Gore
  • Protest! Les Affiches Qui Ont Change Le Monde, by Michael Lellouche (from France)
  • 100 Ideas That Changed Graphic Design, by Steven Heller
  • The Art Deco Poster, by William W. Crouse and Alastair Duncan
  • Gail Anderson
  • David Jury
  • Steven Heller
  • Alston Purvis
  • Achoo! Bang! Crash! The Noisy Alphabet, by Ross MacDonald
  • The History of Printmaking, published by Scholastic Voyages of Discovery

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