Video feature: 'A Study in Type'

Sept. 3, 2015 noon
A Study in Type students

In class and in their spare time, Princeton University students are learning the art of letterpress printing in the typography studio at the Lewis Center for the Arts. Above, students look at lines of type in different styles, including serif, serif italics and sans serif.

Photo by Warren Rieutort-Louis, 2015 graduate alumnus 

In Princeton's typography studio, students are using their hands and raw materials such as ink, metal and wood to learn an old-fashioned art that is trending again: letterpress printing.

Interest in letterpress printing has grown on campus with the introduction of graphic design courses in the Program in Visual Arts, part of the Lewis Center for the Arts.

The accompanying images show students at the Lewis Center's typography studio at 185 Nassau St., learning the intricate process in class and during an event of the Princeton University Letterpress student group. Students learn how to set metal type, letter by letter, onto metal plates and then used a hand-cranked roller to print impressions of those words onto paper.

This past spring, graphic designer David Reinfurt taught "Graphic Design: Typography," which involved hot metal typesetting in the letterpress print shop alongside photostat and digital type design. The studio had fallen out of use for several years, but Joe Scanlan, director of the Program in Visual Arts, and Reinfurt, a lecturer in visual arts and the Lewis Center for the Arts, revived the studio upon their arrival at Princeton in 2010.

Students formed the Princeton University Letterpress group last spring to study letterpress typography, printing and book binding and to produce items such as wall art and poetry anthologies. They meet regularly in the studio during the academic year, with instruction and advice from David Sellers, a printer in Hopewell, New Jersey.

Play Video: Video feature: 'A Study in Type'; Video embed #1

In Princeton's typography studio, students are discovering the art and craft of letterpress printing. (Video by Maggie Westergaard, Office of Communications)