Letterpress Printing at P98a

Last week Erik Spiekermann published a video about his letterpress shop at P98a in Berlin. Even though the audience at large mainly knows him as a successful and acclaimed “digital” designer (290K followers on Twitter, anyone?), creator of some very popular digital typefaces, letterpress has been a constant factor in his career. During his studies at Berlin’s Free University Erik funded himself by running a letterpress printing press in the basement of his house (which famously burned down in the seventies), and last year you could find him hard at work at the TYPO Berlin 2013 Printing Workshop in the foyer of the Haus der Kulturen der Welt.


Letterpress printing at P98a from erik spiekermann on Vimeo.

Erik Spiekermann explains in the video that the limitations of the technology and creating something tangible, something lasting with his hands are the perfect foil for his work in the digital domain where countless decisions have to be made at any moment in a project. Yet this is not just a nostalgic trip. Erik’s approach is true to his modus operandi. Instead of simply using the presses for what they are, he tries to marry this 500-year old technology with the newest technological advancements, building a bridge between digital and metal fonts.

The video by Frerk Lintz looks incredibly good, rich with atmosphere and visual texture without resorting to cheap tricks. Lintz also produces Folge, a video magazine presenting the most interesting contemporary minds in high quality documentaries. It won the Special Jury Prize at the German Webvideo Awards (Deutscher Webvideopreis) and German speakers should definitely check it – for now the only interview in English is with comic book artist Jason Lutes.

As a little extra, here’s another video of Erik Spiekermann printing on his old Korrex in Berlin.

Printing on my old Korrex in Berlin from erik spiekermann on Vimeo.

Oh, and by the way: happy birthday, Erik! : )