The Press in Our Lives

The most important thing I learned in this class is how important the world of the Press has been in our lives. Now, I just type all my essays, see the individual letters be arranged into words on this device without thinking at all. Then, all I have to have it in a physical form is to go to a printer and press the print button.

I never knew until this class that printing in the past required setting one letter by letter, and how much effort and time it took to just write four lines. I think I took about a total of 6 hours to set the type for four lines, a title, and the author’s name. During this time, I had to re-set the type twice because I could not transfer the type from the galley tray.


Type on the press, Maryland Institute College of Art. Photograph by Reina Arakawa.


Next we did the “printing” processes, which again took a huge amount of time. I had predicted correctly about brushing the type with ink, but I did not know that to get a final copy it would take about 5 proofs. My funniest mistake was that I messed up by u and b wrote the Star-staugleb banner instead of Star-Spangled. The proofing process was a really valuable experience because it made me realize how important accuracy and experience was in printing, even though amateurs can type on computers and print things now.


Proof and final title of “Star-Spangled Banner.” Photograph by Reina Arakawa.


I also really liked learning about the progression from hand-set type, to linotype, to typing through methods using light. After a day of hand-set type, linotype seemed like the most brilliant thing ever.

Overall this class made me appreciate printing techniques and the opportunities it brought for people.


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