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Pre-Digital Print Revival


An old printing press has been set up in a German media design college to introduce students to pre-digital typography.

Tutors at Berlin’s Mediadesign Hochschule are encouraging young people to explore how designers worked in bygone days.

Although many of the students will end up in a career where they create computer games and other digital apps, the lecturers want them to try ‘hands on playful stuff’ as well, exploring the use of play dough and Styrofoam.

And that’s why the school has also set up a Gutenberg-style metal type workshop, based on printing presses in the 15th century.   Each and every letter and number has to be arranged by hand, without a computer in sight, from a selection of 100,000 metal characters. It is a labour- intensive but visually appealing art form.

Gutenberg-style printing is experiencing a degree of renaissance in art and design circles, catering for a niche market of art lovers.

It is a specialist art form, and likely to remain so, as metal typesetting is expensive and time-consuming compared to digital alternatives.


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