Beauty of Letterpress: The Art of Making an Impression


Don’t get me wrong, I love the conveniences of technology. The immediate gratification I get from the click of a mouse suits my impatient nature and life in the 21st century. But truth be told, I’m old school, my heart belongs to analog. Like many creatives, I’m smitten with the tactile nature of print, especially the techniques whose methods and tools of the trade remain largely unchanged. So I was thrilled when I saw the newest limited edition print added Neenah’s site, The Beauty of Letterpress: The Art of Making An Impression designed by Earl Gee.

San Francisco-based designer Earl Gee’s just launched Edition 13, The Beauty of Letterpress: The Art of Making an Impression, puts a modern twist on the time-honored process of letterpress. Prints are available for sale at The Beauty of Letterpress; all proceeds go to help support The Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum.

Gee pays tribute to this time honored print method with a fab design in a red and black palette inspired by a Russian Constructivist aesthetic. “The movement’s dedication to machines and technology, functionalism and modern mediums, and artists and engineers seemed like a natural fit for letterpress’ synthesis of art and machine.”


The process of this old-world technique itself inspires the newly released Edition 13. Gee transformed iconic letterpress tools — platen press wheel, ink blob, composing stick, line gauge, wood blocks — into typographic forms cleverly arranged to spell out the Edition’s title, and engage the viewer.


“These amazing tools and techniques have survived for centuries. They connect art and craft, designer and printer, and paper and impression. My design approach was to combine these elements in an unexpected, surprising and distinctly modern way.” says Gee.

Gee, Partner and Creative Director of Gee + Chung Design, and AIGA SF Fellow, says his Silicon Valley technology client base doesn’t often afford him the opportunity to design for letterpress. “We’d definitely like to encourage more of our clients to make an impression with letterpress. What I appreciate most about the technique is the attention to craft that it signifies to it’s audience. Designing for letterpress creates a distinctly personal, tactile, and visceral communication that gets people to take notice through the dimension of touch,” says Gee.

Though Gee has yet to visit the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum (it’s on his bucket list), he is proud to be one of The Beauty of Letterpress designers who are helping to support the Museum, “The museum stimulates a much needed interest, education, and inspiration for this important art form. Supporting this wonderful resource is an important way to invest in our past, present and future.”

Edition 13, The Beauty of Letterpress: The Art of Making an Impression is printed on Crane’s Lettra® Ecru White 90 Cover. The prints are $5 and available for purchase at

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