Making posters at Starshaped Press

By Anthony Todd in Arts & Entertainment on Nov 18, 2008 4:40PM

Have you ever wanted to run a printing press with your own two hands? Maybe we’re just nerds, but we’ve always wanted to print the way it was done before laser printers and Xerox machines. At the Starshaped Press open house this past Saturday night, we (and many other visitors) made posters and business cards, played with giant paper cutters, and had the opportunity to view and buy a wide variety of beautifully designed letterpress products.

Unlike many letterpress printers, Starshaped prints all of its designs using metal and wood type on old-fashioned presses. The owner of Starshaped, Jen Farrell, designs all of the products for the press in-house. She produces wedding invitations, personalized stationary, business cards and posters. Did we mention posters? Broadsides advertising everything from bands to neighborhoods to political causes cover the walls, and most are available for $10-15.

While many printers specialize in nostalgia and “retro” designs, Farrell’s letterpress work has a consistency and genuine feel that other printers lack. Much of this is due to her antique equipment – broadsides aren’t just printed in the correct old font, but they are also authentically faded and spotted. Her design sensibility covers the spectrum of printing history – 19th century typed announcements promoting the vote for women hang alongside Art Deco industrial posters urging Americans to protect their passenger rail.

Check out some of her posters, as well as pictures of the presses and studio, in the gallery below.