The artisanal method also lends
context. “When you have to take
individual letter forms, fit them together,
then use little copper pieces for spacing
and real lead for leading, you really get a
more sophisticated idea of what it means
to set type,” Dunlap explains. “When
designers go back to the computer, they
have an in-depth understanding of what
they’re actually doing.”
Dunlap and Hanssens will selectively
consider producing small runs for
campus clients who may want elegant
letterpress invitations or similar items.
Donna Glass and Adrienne Beaver,
graphic designers in the Division of
Communications, say several of their
clients have expressed interest, and
they relish the design challenge.
“This time-consuming [process] is
almost unfathomable in our print-on-
demand world, where the options are
endless and you can hit ‘undo’ or ‘delete’
hundreds of times,” Beaver says. “But
I love the feeling of holding metal type
in my hand. To me it’s more elegant
than a fistful of diamonds.”
The love for letterpress seems fitting
at a time when microbrews, local food
and vinyl records are trending. For
those who value care and quality over
mass production, a piece of letterpress
art is worth the extra effort and cost.
“It’s important to learn to slow down
and appreciate the time it takes to
create quality printed pieces,” says Glass.
“It teaches patience in an immediate-
Hanssens agrees. “There’s something
to be said for slow, labor-intensive
processes. The thought of selecting
all of your words, and every letter
for each word, slowly and carefully …
maybe some of our politicians should
To watch the press roll, go to the Bucknell
Magazine app or bucknell.edu/bmagazine.
Madison Weaver ’ 19 operates
the Vandercook No. 1.
EACH DRAWER OF A HAMILTON T YPE
STORAGE CABINET IS CALLED A CASE.
CAPITAL LETTERS, USED LESS FREQUENTLY, WERE
STORED IN HIGHER DRAWERS THAN SMALL LETTERS;
THUS THE TERMS “UPPERCASE” AND “LOWERCASE.”
LET TERPRESS T YPE PRESENTS UPSIDE DO WN
AND BACKWARDS, MAKING TYPESETTING ERRORS EASY.
THIS IS THE ORIGIN OF THE PHRASE “MIND YOUR P’S AND Q’S.”
SMALL B’S AND D’S CAN ALSO BE TROUBLESOME, AS CAN U’S AND N’S.