LetterPress Printing

What kind of printing is letterpress printing?

EggnWorks エッグンワークス TAGSTATIONERY 活版印刷

Letterpress printing is a printing method that uses typesetting, which is a plate made by combining typesetting.

Printing can be broadly divided into four types depending on the type of plate used: letterpress, intaglio, lithographic, and stencil. Letterpress printing is classified as letterpress.

Letterpress printing method

EggnWorks エッグンワークス TAGSTATIONERY 活版印刷

Intaglio printing method

EggnWorks エッグンワークス TAGSTATIONERY 活版印刷

Lithographic printing method

EggnWorks エッグンワークス TAGSTATIONERY 活版印刷

Duplicate printing method

EggnWorks エッグンワークス TAGSTATIONERY 活版印刷

The basic principle of letterpress printing is quite simple.

The area you want to print is made into a convex shape, and ink is applied to that area, paper is placed on it, and pressure is applied from above to transfer the ink to the paper.

Unlike woodblock printing, which is made from a single board, each letter in letterpress printing is made from a separate type, so by combining these, it is possible to make many different prints.

Originally, printing with a plate made of movable type was called letterpress printing in its original sense, but today it is more broadly defined as ``printing that uses a letterpress as a printing plate and allows you to feel the unevenness of the paper due to the printing pressure.'' It can be said that it tends to be interpreted.

History of letterpress printing

There are various theories about the origin of letterpress printing, but the general consensus is that it originated in the East.

Glue movable type by Hyosho, an 11th century Hokuei inventor.

13th century Goryeo copper type.

The wood type written by Wang Ching, an industrious Yuan farmer from the 14th century, is well known, and printed materials still exist.

However, letterpress printing was not widely established in the East until the end of the 19th century.

The reason for this is that, unlike in the West, where the 26-letter alphabet is the main character, in areas where kanji were cultured, a huge number of printed characters were needed.

In the West, Johannes Gutenberg of Germany is said to have invented the printing press in the 14th century.

Modern letterpress printing technology was established, including the adoption of lead alloys that were easy to cast, accurate and stable casting techniques, improvements in ink suitable for letterpress printing, and the development of printing machines that were said to be inspired by grape presses. .

This type of letterpress printing had higher productivity than the manuscripts and woodblocks that had been mainstream up until then, so it spread throughout Europe and then all over the world.

EggnWorks エッグンワークス TAGSTATIONERY 活版印刷

Kanji print.

One of the reasons why it has not spread as much as in the West is thought to be due to the large amount of print.

EggnWorks エッグンワークス TAGSTATIONERY 活版印刷

letters of the alphabet.

Because of its high productivity, it became popular and widespread.

Letterpress printing in Japan

Letterpress printing technology was introduced to Japan from both the East and West at the end of the 16th century.

Printing presses and technology were introduced from the West by the Tensho boys' envoys, and copper movable type was introduced from the East by Toyotomi Hideyoshi's Bunroku and Keicho campaigns, and various books were published from the late Azuchi-Momoyama period to the early Edo period. I did.

However, due to the Edo shogunate's ban on Christianity and the exclusion of European culture due to national isolation, as well as the large number of printed kanji and kana characters and problems with the shape of kuzushi characters, as mentioned above, traditional woodblock prints were the mainstream in the Edo period. did.

It became fully established from the end of the Edo period to the Meiji period.

Riding the wave of Westernization and modernization, letterpress printing was introduced in earnest to Japan through the efforts of translator Shozo Motoki, businessman Tomiji Hirano, and others.

After the casting and systemization of Japanese type, letterpress printing became the mainstream of text printing until the advent of phototypesetting and DTP in the 1970s.

Letterpress printing today

Letterpress printing has long been at the forefront of text printing, but with the rise of phototypesetting and DTP, its number has decreased, and as of the 21st century, it has ceased to play the central role in commercial printing.

However, letterpress printing did not disappear.

In everyday life, it is often used in fields that require high-quality printing even in small quantities, such as business cards, award certificates, and wedding paper items, and it is especially used in highly hobbyist and specialized fields such as limited edition books. It's liked.

The unique taste of letterpress printing has an appeal that current printing does not have.

Its appeal is diverse and wide-ranging, such as the interest of unevenness, the taste of slight ink puddles and smearing, printing on paper that is difficult with offset printing, and the blank pressing of letterpress without applying ink.

It is once again attracting attention as a method of expression that cannot be found in modern printing.

Choose the type, set the letters, apply the ink, apply pressure, and wait for the ink to dry.

I have something I want to convey, so I work on each one and print them.

Perhaps the appeal of letterpress printing is that you can feel the body temperature of the people involved.

EggnWorks エッグンワークス TAGSTATIONERY 活版印刷

The unevenness of paper caused by printing pressure is one of the charms of letterpress printing.

There are still many situations where letterpress printing is preferred, such as printing and gift items.

What is typeface?

The type of letters used in letterpress printing is called movable type.

Letters and symbols are projected to the left (so-called mirror writing) at the top of the prism, and this projection becomes the printing surface.

Generally, they are cast by pouring lead-based alloy into a mold, but there are various types depending on the purpose, such as zinc plates, which are good at creating precise expressions such as line drawings, and wood type, which can be hand-carved to create characters that cannot be found in metal type. Different materials can be used.EggnWorks エッグンワークス TAGSTATIONERY 活版印刷

[Type size/height]

The size of European and American type is expressed in units called points (abbreviated as pt., hereinafter referred to as points in the text).

1 pt. is 1/72 of 1 inch, but the point in type is not exactly 1/72 of 1 inch.

The "Anglo American point (1pt. = 0.3514mm)" has been adopted in the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, etc., and the "Dido point" (1pt. = 0.3759mm), which originated in France, is widely used in many European countries. I am.

In modern computer typesetting, exact 1/72 of an inch is used as a "DTP point (1pt. = 0.3528mm)".

The standard height of type is slightly less than 1 inch (0.918 inch, 0.923 inch, 0.928 inch, etc.), but there are various differences depending on the standards of countries and regions.

When printing, it is necessary to make the height of the typeface the same, but even within the same country, the height of the typeface varies.

It is believed that the foundry intentionally created the difference for sales strategy reasons to prevent mixed use with other foundries, or conversely, it is believed that the foundry made the difference because it was adopted by the ordering company. There are some typefaces that appear to have had their company's standard height adjusted to match the height of the user.

About the issue number

For Japanese typesetting, a unique Japanese standard called the "number system", which was created before the point system, was used.

There are 9 types, starting with the largest number, number 1, number 2, number 3, and decreasing as the number increases, up to number 8.

In the conventional number system, a multiple relationship was established for the horizontal size, but there was no relationship for the vertical size.

In order to solve this problem, a new number system based on the thickness of 1/8 of No. 5 was established as a JIS standard in 1962.

Type that complies with this standard is called ``new number-based type,'' and type that precedes it is called ``old number-based type.''

In the new number system, the sizes of the first issue (≒45pt.), second issue (≒21pt.), fifth issue (≒10.5pt.), and seventh issue (≒5.25pt.) are the same as the old issue number system. , No. 1, No. 3, No. 4, No. 6, and No. 8 are smaller.

Compared to other regions, the Kanto area had fewer cases of new number-based type, and the old number-based type tended to continue to be used.

Later, in addition to the number system, a point system was also used, making the environment for expressing the size of Japanese type letters complex.

In addition to issue numbers, there are many traces of unique development in Japanese literature. I will introduce them on another occasion.

EggnWorks エッグンワークス TAGSTATIONERY 活版印刷
EggnWorks エッグンワークス TAGSTATIONERY 活版印刷