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How Letterpress Printing Came Back from the Dead

For designers used to wielding a mouse, a steamroller might seem excessive. Yet every summer in Seattle, teams from Starbucks, Facebook, Amazon, Oracle, and other local firms and artists vie to steamroll a winning poster. They spend dozens of hours carving large sheets of linoleum to be placed on asphalt, covered with ink, and pressed by a steamroller onto giant pieces of paper. It’s hot and sticky and exhilarating.
Yet today letterpress is in the throes of a full-blown revival. In 2000, a flatbed proof press, often used in teaching and for posters, cost Boxcar Press founder Harold Kyle about $100. By 2005, the price rose to a few thousand. Today, if you could persuade someone to part with it, you might pay $15,000.