18 May 2012

Backward is the new Forward

By Greeley Dawson

When was the last time a design really popped out at you? Even though we all love a good design, the printing process plays just as much of a role in a great piece of work.

The printing press brought literacy to the masses in the wake of its invention over 500 years ago. The old school printing method used a technique known as letterpress to physically stamp, or emboss, the surface where ink was applied. There have been all sorts of advancements in print technologies since then, but the art of letterpress is still alive.

Today letterpress is becoming more popular and appreciated than ever. The prominent physical impression left behind by letterpress is a hallmark of its sophistication and craft. Although some of the newer technologies are faster, more efficient and more appropriate for certain projects, letterpress still stands to be the most sustainable, non-toxic and high quality printing method out there. More importantly from a business perspective, there’s no question that it makes a huge impact.

Recently, several prominent design and technology commentators have questioned whether looking to the past has been stifling our generation’s progress in moving forward. An article in Vanity Fair’s January issue focuses on the harmful impacts of this trend, and an op-ed in the New York Times explores the pitfalls of nostalgia. It is true that through our leaps in technology, there have been great successes. But there have also been plenty of failures. Those failures create a good explanation for what appears to be trending backwards.

One major key to growth and success is looking to the past to better develop our future – to help us recognize our mistakes and improve upon them. This concept explains the changes we see in the world today. People today have developed a greater appreciation for sustainability, community, healthier and more pure living and a larger desire for the craftsmanship achieved by the human touch.

Printing has come a long way over the past 500 years. The new letterpress technology is now powered by electricity rather than muscle strength. The plates are carved by machinery rather than by hand. At SeeMeDesign, we believe this process makes such an impression that we chose to work with Henry & Co. to produce our new letterpress business cards.

Even if this period in time is ever compared to The Dark Ages, it’s important that we all realize that it is necessary to look back in order to move forward. And oftentimes, the quality of the tried and true is superior to the latest trend.

Look at that beauty… it’s the beginning of the SeeMeDesign business cards.

The letterpress and plate that made the imprint shown above.

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