Field Notes's Fall 2020 Quarterly features the work of nine independent letterpress shops from across America. This series demonstrates a wide array of craftsmanship, ingenuity, and love for the age-old and tactile process of letterpress printing.
Collaborating with Finch Paper of Glens Falls, New York, and The French Paper Company of Niles, Michigan, each shop was shipped a different color cover stock (all from French’s Pop-Tone line) and specified the same two ink colors (Rubine Red and Process Blue) for all of the designs. The results are as varied and thoughtful as the participants involved.
Continuing a tradition embossed into the history of American letterpress printing, the layouts, themes and messages are highly personal statements about heritage, geography, tradition, and social issues, and they also demonstrate the diversity and strength of today’s letterpress community.
The letterpress printers who came together to make this collection possible are featured in this short documentary from Field Notes, worth a watch:
Please note: Most of the artists involved created two designs of each book so the 3-Packs of A, B, and C may vary from the images featured here. At this time we are unable to fulfill requests for specific designs inside the 3-Packs in your order.
Skylab Letterpress of Kansas City, Missouri printed the designs for each book’s flyleaf, including a reproduction of a border from the Bay Psalms Book (1640), thought to be the very first book printed in the American colonies.
Lake County Press, of Waukegan, Illinois, pre-printed the Field Notes elements on the exteriors and interiors of the cover stock, which was then trimmed down from standard 26" x 40" press sheets to 8.5" x 13", with the art arranged 2-up on a sheet. We then shipped one color to each of the letterpress printers.
The printers utilized any and all methods at their disposal, with the only dictate being that they print a 2-color design using our specified red & blue inks.
The covers and flyleaf sheets were shipped back to LCP, where light tan Graph Grid interior pages, printed on Finch Opaque Smooth “Bright White,” were waiting. All the elements were then collated, bound, stapled, and cut, and the 3-Packs assembled.
This project was produced through the craft and creativity of twelve printers around the country, with the help, gumption, and know-how of countless others, passed down by job-printers, collectors, and hobbyists over the last several centuries.
Letterpress & Design
Genghis Kern, Denver, Colorado
Full-Circle Press, Nevada City, California
Mama’s Sauce, Orlando, Florida
Brad Vetter, Louisville, Kentucky
Springtide Press, Tacoma, Washington
Ben Blount, Evanston, Illinois
Erin Beckloff, Springboro, Ohio
Rick Griffith, Denver, Colorado
Starshaped Press, Chicago, Illinois
- Proudly printed by the good people of Lake County Press, Waukegan, Ill.
- Cover: Printed on 1 of 6 French Pop-Tone 100#C stocks with a thick, brute force, 1-color application of “Linotype Slug Gray” soy-based Superior ink. It was then sent to 1 of 6 Letterpress printers around the U.S.A. and smashed with a 2-color application of “Process Blue” and “Rubine Red” letterpress inks.
- Innards: Finch Paper Opaque Smooth 60#T “Bright White,” with a fine, 1-color application of “Double Knee Duck Canvas Light Brown” soy-based Toyo ink.
- Cover and innards printed on a Heidelberg Speedmaster XL 105 40" 6-color printing press, as well as various vintage presses (see flyleaf for more details).
- Bound with a Heidelberg Stitchmaster ST 270 5-pocket saddle stitcher with cover feeder/scorer & Rima RS 10S in-line stacker.
- Corners precisely rounded to a 3/8" (9.5mm) radius with a Challenge DCM double round-corner machine.
- Memo book dimensions are 3-1/2" × 5-1/2" (89mm × 140mm).
- Graph grid: 3/16" × 3/16" (4.7mm × 4.7mm).
- FIELD NOTES uses only the Futura typeface family (Paul Renner, 1927) in its materials.
- All FIELD NOTES memo books are printed and manufactured in the U.S.A.