Laser Cutting for Letterpress

By Danny Flynn and Flora McLean Vincent.

Published by The Technology Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The research into the limitations in the use of the physical medium of letterpress printing details the advantages of how initially working with computerized type layout onscreen can then be transformed to physical printable artworks and blocks, and how materials and methods used with laser cutting has further been used to produce new laser cut acrylic sheet patterns for pantograph traceable routing machinery for traditional wood type production and metal type production by substituting the ‘copper electro deposition process’. An obsolete process, which the museum based Monotype Limited Company in London, England can no longer undertake. The advantage of being able to duplicate rare metal punches is also discussed. The laser cut letterpress further lent itself to the Orwellian overtones that pervaded the House of Flora collaboration, which was heavily influenced by the bleak cityscapes of 1980’s Berlin. The super-chic tailoring was balanced with whimsical fixtures such as laser cut printable sloganeering on accessories within the collection. Medals emblazoned with the slogan ‘Organize, Educate, Agitate’ proclaimed a new era of intellectual fashion. The collection is a reflection of the current climate of instability and fear, of storm clouds brewing. These are clothes for survival, to march in, for revolution.

Keywords: Laser Cutting, Letterpress Printing, Graphic Design, Fount, Typography, Letterform, Metal Type, Wood Type, Monotype, Character

The International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society, Volume 6, Issue 6, pp.103-112. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 622.430KB).

Danny Flynn

Visiting Lecturer & Research Associate, Art & Design, Middlesex University, London, UK

Danny studied graphic design in Bradford and Hounslow College in 1984 and has worked as a freelance artist/designer since 1991. He has lectured in graphic design for seven years. His work ranges from assisting in post production on bronze typographic panels for the alternative opening and title sequence of Ridley Scott’s Gladiator, DreamWorks & Universal Pictures in 1999, to more recently in 2008 collaborating with fashion designer Flora McLean of House of Flora to produce laser cut printable words of agitation on acrylic and rubber accessories, intending to destabilize the trend for meaningless consumerism. Commercial print work of laser cutting from on screen designs to produce letterpress print blocks for a Stella Artois advertising campaign won a D&AD award in 2007. Commissioned by Lowe, London. Private bookwork produced with the use of hand set metal Monotype and laser cut letterforms won a Society of Bookbinders Award for Craftsmanship in 2009.

Flora McLean Vincent

Course Leader, Fashion, Middlesex University, Lundon, UK

Flora McLean is a practising Fashion designer and lecturer with her own established 10 year old brand called House of Flora. She graduated for The Royal College of Art in 1995 where she studied fashion womenswear. She has worked on commissions with famous fashion house Givenchy couture in Paris, Katherine Hamnet in London and Victoria's Secret in the US, amongst others. The House of Flora label produces fashion hats and jewellery collections twice a year and shows at London and Paris Fashion week. Much of the work is lead by new materials and innovative technique. Floras hats have been celebrated and exhibited in The Victoria and Albert museum recently in London as part of the Anthology of Hats exhibition with Millinery guru Stephen Jones. The work of House of Flora in known in leading fashion press and the pieces are bought at sold in leading fashion outlets worldwide.

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