Friday, March 9, 2012

Traditional & Tactile Pt. I - Angel Bomb Letterpress

In our ever increasing world of advanced technology, we have become more and more intrigued by non-digitally based techniques and trades.  In the same vein as the JCP Newsprint promo, we have been exploring the idea of creating a few short run promotional items that allow for collaboration with local artisans and craftsmen here in the greater Minneapolis area.  Our search along this path led us to a small shop rooted in the Northeast side of town called Angel Bomb Design & Letterpress.

Todd Thyberg, the owner and operator of Angel Bomb showed us around his warehouse based work space and introduced us to the Heidelberg letterpress machine.  This press dates back to the first half of the 20th century and has been a workhorse of German engineering ever since its inception.  

As a designer, Todd has been working in the industry for the past 15 years and made his way into the world of letterpress about 5 years ago with a press given to him by his father.  He's always been a fan of this historic printing process and explained to us that it's about "making something with your hands."  In a time when our lives are increasingly becoming "digitally consumed" there is something "refreshing" about taking time away from the computer screen and using a different part of our brains to problem solve, get our hands dirty, and create something tactile that appeals to several of our senses and is ultimately "made by hand."  He went on to comment that there seems to be a shift in society towards a return to the things we once produced in an artisan or craft manner.

During our time with Todd, we discussed having a set of limited run beverage coasters produced on the Heidelberg.  In 2011 we partnered with Eight Hour Day to refresh the JCP brand.  Minneapolis based Jason Braun worked with these new JCP design elements to concept the design and look of the coasters.  It only seemed appropriate to document the experience of our day "on press."  It was great spending time with Todd, and seeing the Heidelberg in action as our coasters came to life.  We hope you will enjoy a small visual slice of the operation including an exclusive audio clip of the press in action.