Submitted by: Alex Sommerville
Program: Graphic Design, MDES
Division: Arts and Humanities
This semester I have been investigating the identity of a small letterpress studio in Chicago. I began my project by engaging in research methods and media such as photography, typography, and sound to record what is experienced at that location. I used the act of design as a way to learn about the site, rather than rely on assumptions or preconceived ideas about its identity. I was able to identify a few key ideas present throughout the site: repetition, layering and collaboration.
I also discovered two distinct narratives that ran throughout the space: process and poetry. By combining both types of language (technical printing terminology and rhythmic mantras) into one visual document, I hope to express the layered quality of the letterpress printing process, spirit of the artists who own the studio, and the density of their space. I separated the two types of language I identified through my research into two types of printing techniques. The more technical language is laser-etched into the pages of the book in a very direct consistent manner, while the more poetic language dances across each page and was printed by hand. The cuts in the center of each page represent the open space created by furniture and other major elements in their space - so as you travel through the pages you travel through their studio.