Letterpress Printing

Talking about letterpress printing and its influence, Gutenberg is the person who was heavily mentioned during the 15th century. He brought metal movable type instead of wood movable type and woodblock engrave printing to Europe, which didn’t end the age of xylography but started new typography which had brought strong potential in the future ages of development and inspiration. Gutenberg’s letterpress was explored from Chinese movable type, while China did not spread the method by that time. Gutenberg made it actually work and spread it through Europe. Letterpress printing was a cultural heritage and connection. Gutenberg’s hand press and technique at that particular time had developed and changed until the present time. The letterpress jobs were replaced by offset printing and digital printing and most of the letterpress were now used for other unique purposes, such as wedding invitations, business cards, etc.

This blog mainly discusses three aspects of letterpress printing during Gutenberg’s time.

Technical

The technique that’s been used and developed during the period. Gutenberg had developed original wood movable type to metal, the invention of type mold and another kind of ink instead of ink used for wood movable type.

 

Early wooden printing press. 1568. Image by Jost Amman. Wikimedia Commons.

Early wooden printing press. 1568. Image by Jost Amman.
Wikimedia Commons.

Political

The relationship between technique and politics. The invention of the press made the printing process faster, which enabled more bibles to be produced for the public which allowed the religion (as a political tool) to spread its ideology to more and more people.

 

The Gutenberg Bible. c. 1455. Lennox Library. Photo by NYC Wanderer. Flickr.

The Gutenberg Bible. c. 1455. Lennox Library. Photo by NYC Wanderer. Flickr.

Aesthetic

The styles and aesthetics. An example being the ornamental style which was the mixture of letterpress and hand-drawn decoration as typography. Further explaining the indications of both the illustration and type improvements.

 

Nuremberg Chronicle. c. 1493. Anton Koberger. Image by Molé Foliate. Flickr.

Nuremberg Chronicle. c. 1493. Anton Koberger. Image by Molé Foliate. Flickr.