Our visit to Hammer Press in Kansas City was memorable for two reasons. First of all, it was a wonderful retail space, and secondly letterpress printing is something special.
- I immediately saw the potential to create some memorable branding for a blog as Dash Dad and I enjoyed the shop.
Who are Hammer Press?
Hammer Press are a unique printing company located at 500 Southwest Boulevard Suite 1A Kansas City, MO 64108. Their shop is a magical combination of stylish retail space and busy working letterpress equipment. As we wandered around looking at the items on display, we could hear the sounds of the modern letterpress machine printer, and see the mechanics in action.
You will be used to computer printers with their ink or toner, so you need to remember that a printing press is a actually a large device for applying pressure to an inked surface that then rests upon a print medium (paper or card), thereby transferring the ink. There is no toner here, just real ink and real paper and a large printing machine.
A Letterpress Definition
“Letterpress is the oldest form of printing. In this method, a surface with raised letters is inked and pressed to the surface of the printing substrate to reproduce an image in reverse. Typically, metal type has been used but other possibilities include carved wood or stone blocks.” WhatIs.com
Hammer Press has a quality selection of Made in the USA office wares. Gorgeous gifts shared space with top quality Japanese paper and writing implements. For the notebook fan and the lover of unique office items this is the place to visit in Kansas City.
It is difficult to show you how immediate and visual the impact and texture of letterpress cards and notebooks are unless you hold them in your hands. The Hammer Press selection of Kansas City cards shows the vibrant colour potential of their letterpress printing services, and you can see the colour and creativity in the prints shown above.
The Impact of Letterpress
It was only when I wondered when letterpress was invented that I realised it had been the very first method of printing in the world, and seeing it still being used to create now was exciting.
Everyone has heard of Gutenberg, either because of the online Project Gutenberg or the Gutenberg Bible. How many of you know his full name though? It’s Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg. It is he who invented the moveable type that allowed books to be printed. Previously every book had to be hand written and illustrated which was labour intensive and very expensive. No cosy mysteries, or magazines in those days.
“It is possible that without it there would have been no Renaissance, no Industrial Revolution, no Technological Revolution and no modern, western Democracy. In other words – no modern world.” – Owlcation
Returning to the Handmade Past
I mentioned branding at the start of this post. If you visited BlogPaws®, or any event like a cat show or lifestyle exhibition, you will have come away with business cards.
Look at these cards and see how some make more of an impression than others. On some it’s a striking visual element, on others an important element is the texture and feel. Now imagine the positive and brand enhancing impact of something like letterpress for your business. Returning to our handmade past resonates with many bloggers. We type, we write, we sketch and we make movies, we groom our pets. All using our hands. Taking a step and investing in quality business cards is a good next step.
Our Impression of Letterpress
As we looked around the Hammer Press shop, enjoying its whole hand crafted ethos and equipment, I suddenly wanted my own tabletop letterpress machine! Only one thing stopped me – the weight of a machine. Even a Hobby Lobby letterpress machine would be too big to get home.
I would love to capture some of the creative handmade excitement of the beautiful work I saw there. Instead I came away with a dream of some fantastic business cards, a bag carrying postcards, a print and, yes, a letterpress notebook!
What would you have created for your blog or rescue in letterpress?