Print Authenticity

On the last day of class at MICA, Mary introduced us to the amazing Globe poster collection. Beginning with a video on the history of Globe poster printing in Baltimore to a quick show and tell of just a few of the thousands of letterpress illustrations MICA had acquired, I was blown away. The wonderfully bright and eye-catching block letter posters had caught my attention since the first day I walked into the MICA letterpress studio. They were unlike any poster (movie, digital, billboard) I had seen before.

Globe Posters, MICA. Photographed by Asako Inagawa.

Globe Posters, MICA. Photograph by Asako Inagawa.

In an age where the majority of posters are printed digitally, there lacks a certain authenticity in an image that has been replicated in exactly the same way over and over. Where computer programs like Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator attempt to create that authentic feeling to text with “grunge” textures that splotch color randomly over blocks of text, in printing Globe posters, all the variation and splotches in text are authentic. It’s no deliberate attempt to create a certain style like in computer programs, but with each and every poster printed turning out just a little different each time, there is an inherent authenticity that just cannot be reproduced with digital printing. This principle is the same in any sort of letterpress printing which is why it will endure for years to come.

Printing Press, MICA. Photograph by Asako Inagawa.

Printing Press, MICA. Photograph by Asako Inagawa.

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