Some of Zoltun’s employees are quite familiar with letterpress typesetting and inky fingers.
Since we spend the majority of our days typing, deleting, and designing conveniently on a screen, we thought it might be fun to switch it up and get back to the good ol’ roots of physical, moveable type.
On Tuesday, the Penguin Bookshop (an independent bookstore that’s been operating in Sewickley, Pa., for 80 years) hosted Kyle Durrie’s Moveable Type project. We took the opportunity to check out the Type Truck.
The very portable, fully functional 1982 Chevy-step-van-turned-traveling-print-shop was parked on Beaver Street, inviting passersby to stop in, have a look around, and try their hands at some good old-fashioned letterpress printing.
Originally from Portland, Oregon, Durrie combined her love of road trips and printing like any other quirky artist would – by purchasing a former American Linens fleet truck, tearing out the interior, and replacing it with an entirely custom printing studio, work and storage space included. If you look closely at the side, you can still see the old logo beneath the paint.
Durrie now travels around North America in “the Sweetheart of the Road,” teaching lessons on the history of moveable type, hosting demonstrations in typesetting, and booking workshops at independent bookstores.
“Moveable type” is a term associated with letterpress printing, the system of printing that uses physical, block-like pieces of type – individual letters, numbers, characters – to reproduce the elements of a document.
Watching Durrie line up her type and stamp-like characters in the printing tray, I couldn’t help but think about how far we’ve come in the design industry in only the last few years, let alone since Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press. It’s all very cool.
For now, we at Zoltun aren’t planning on going back to the old-fashioned typesetting style anytime soon – we’ve kind of grown accustomed to the efficiency of our Macs. Of course, that’s not to say we won’t purchase a 19th-century printing press of our own, if only to keep in John Wolowiec’s office.
See more photos below: