Technology & Letterpress

Very often, I feel like I am extremely old even though I’m not. This week this happened again. I am what some would call technology-skeptic. I like to wait for new forms of technology to develop before I dip my toes in it because I have a hard time buying into the whole idea right away.

I remember having these skeptic feelings when the first touch screen phones came out. I thought that was so outrageous and how clunky the first screens were. I waited until 2013 to have my first smartphone, a date that could be considered late. And even today I am not 100% sold on the touch screen, as typing (as someone who writes daily in two languages) is extremely frustrating.

But anyways, the good side of being skeptical is how impressed you are by the simplest things. This week, technology didn’t let me down and impressed me once again.

Professor Paula Curan told the class to purchase the app LetterMpress from the app store and we were to use it as an in-class exercise. I was paired up with David Carius for this exercise since I do not own an Apple device (after this exercise though, I am gearing up to get an iPad).

The app is basically a printing press, with all its specific languages and learning curve. It has to have been the most frustrating project ever! Learning how to place the letters and understanding how the app behaved was tiring, but pushing through the frustrations me and David were able to create a poster inviting people to a “Donut Eating Contest.” 

The results really impressed me. The level of detail that we could get, how finicky it was, just like a real printing experience. The look that it gave to the poster was also a great reproduction of what the real experience is.

Because of these technological advances, I believe that Baudrillard was right, these simulations are just getting better. We can have the experience of setting lead type through a screen without having to own a 5-ton machine and get all dirty with ink. The app even mimicked the weight of the magnets on the press.

I am so surprised at the level of detail, how technology has developed, and how far we’ve come. I am amazed and soon I will own an iPad so that I can play with that some more.


Here are the results

Published by Vitoria, no C

Instructional Assistant Professor at Illinois State University BFA in Graphic Design and New Art Media from the University of North Dakota MFA in Graphic Design from Iowa State University

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