Hello my creative lovers,
I hope this finds you all flourishing. I also hope you are ready, because I fully intend to make your fabulously colourful and creatively-bent minds moist and squishy with happiness. I am bringing you letterpress.
YES go the hipsters! YES go the designers! Ugh it’s so trendy and grand that I forgot to breathe for a minute.
Watermarx. Is. Fabulous.
A small family owned business set in the industrial area of Brookvale, Sydney, owners Ange and Al live and breath not only the delicious smelling fumes of the Pantone inks that array their shelves, but a variety of boutique printing styles that include letterpress printing, embossing, die-cutting and foil stamping.
For all those who are new to the word “letterpress” let me give you a ginifition (ginni-definition). Letterpress: the printing process by which letters or a design are formed on a plate – usually made of polymer, magnesium or zinc - the image is then pressed onto a sheet. Modern letterpress often uses thick, soft paper, with the plates pressing into the paper creating an impression. It is usually pressed simultaneously with ink, but creates a fabulous result without. When no ink is used, this is referred to as blind embossing.
Letterpress has actually been around for hundreds of years, and was developed by Johannes Gutenberg in 1450. He cast individual letters in metal, removing the need to carve whole pages out of wooden blocks, as was the traditional method developed in China centuries before. But he also invented oil based printing ink… and the history-changing printing press. By the early 1970’s letterpress had been discarded by the printing industry and designers alike in favour of offset and digital printing, which are still the most common methods of printing today.
Now, letterpress is considered a craft, and does indeed take a high level of skill to master. Al is learned in this skill, and also has been blessed with the eye for mixing perfect Pantone colours by hand. The gentle and methodical mixing of the colours is absolutely magic to watch.
On our visit, Jane and I were privileged enough to, not only be privy to the gentlemans skill of Pantone mixing, but also to the tender consideration that Al and Ange take over their beautiful machines. The lower floor of the building is home to five working Heidelberg printers, each has been lovingly cared for and still functions for their original purposes, although have been adapted to cater for more modern projects. When we were viewing samples of the projects that Watermarx have been a part of, the beautiful designs and tactile nature of the stocks and the way the surface of the page is altered by the letterpress is fabulous.
Not only have Watermarx excelled in letterpress, but as I mentioned before, they also excel in embossing, and debossing. And. Just. Wow.
... And breathe.
And when I use this general term “wow” I mean that overwhelming, suddenly-no-descriptive-word-is-adequate, jaw-dropping feeling you get when you see something you love. Picture my pupils dilating as quick as a drop of black ink spreading over water. Now that’s love.
The patented embossing system that Watermarx has developed is called CLIQX. And although conventional embossing creates a beautiful result, the process limits the amount of detail you can retain. CLIQX, in a nutshell, is a form of embossing like the traditional letterpress process of embossing but the process itself enables a highly detailed design to be created with a much cleaner, sharper and highly defined edge. It is absolutely incredible and the finished result has to be seen… and touched – it’s an all-senses-aroused kind of experience.
My trip to Watermarx Graphics has really lit a little burner under my creative Bunsen. The excitement I felt just being near those huge magnificent printers, seeing them in action, each reeking of love as the hand-mixed ink was added and adjusted, was awe-inspiring.
So, just get amongst it already! Contact Ange at Watermarx by visiting the website at watermarx.net or flick an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and say Ginni sent you – the result, I guarantee, will make you leak your creativity juices everywhere.
PS. If you want to learn more about letterpress, jump onto The Beauty Of Letterpress, and sign up for their newsletter. The lettery goodness is just waiting for your love!
…And breathe out.