Print Version

Effective: Summer 2017

Advisory: Advisory: GID 92 or equivalent skills.
Grade Type: Letter Grade, the student may select Pass/No Pass
Not Repeatable.
FHGE: Non-GE Transferable: CSU
3 hours lecture, 3 hours laboratory. (72 hours total per quarter)

Student Learning Outcomes -
  • A successful student will be able to create letterpress prints using a printing press.
  • A successful student will be able to evaluate the content, form and technique of works created using letterpress printing.
Description -
Application of principles and theories introduced in previously taken letterpress courses to student-motivated projects. Projects address information gathering, idea generation, concept development, production and distribution.

Course Objectives -
The student will be able to:
  1. define their own visual communication projects.
  2. demonstrate an understanding of the design process: information gathering, idea generation, concept development and distribution.
  3. manage the pace of their projects from conception to completion.
  4. evaluate the quality of their work in terms of the communication objective and the design solution.
  5. discuss the effectiveness of communication in graphic design and art projects.
  6. demonstrate an understanding the design and publishing process by successfully publishing a document.
  7. recognize and appreciate the artistic contributions made by people from diverse cultures and backgrounds.
Special Facilities and/or Equipment -
  1. 24" x 36" table space for each student. Letterpress printing press and chase lock up tools. Metal type, wood type and tools for handset type. Light table. Inking workstations. Drying rack. Scale for ink measuring. Exposure unit with vacuum frame for Photopolymer plates. Sink for washout.
  2. When taught via Foothill Global Access:
    1. On-going access to computer with Email software and capabilities.
    2. Email address.
    3. Java-script enabled internet browsing software.

Course Content (Body of knowledge) -
  1. Publishing Projects
    1. History of letterpress printed books, periodicals, broadsides, and ephemera (Lec)
    2. Contemporary publishing venues, collections and exhibitions for letterpress printed works (Lec)
    3. Contributions by individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds (Lec)
    4. Visual communication, design, typography and audience (Lec)
  2. Project development
    1. The design process: information gathering, idea generation, concept development and distribution (Lec)
    2. Defining goals and selecting a project or projects (Lab)
    3. Defining communication objectives and design objectives (Lab)
    4. Research, idea development, comps, presentation and finished art (Lab)
  3. Project management
    1. Managing publishing projects (Lec)
    2. Management of materials, files and project notes (Lab)
    3. Scheduling management (Lab)
    4. Studio management (Lab)
  4. Letterpress techniques
    1. Letterpress printing processes and safety (Lab)
    2. Advanced techniques appropriate to projects (Lab)
  5. Critique and presentation
    1. Presenting works of art for peer review (Lab)
    2. Evaluation of content, context, form and technique (Lab)
  6. Safety & use of tools
    1. Working in a shared studio space (Lec)
    2. Proper use of of tools and equipment (Lec)
    3. Tool and equipment maintenance (Lec)
  7. Environmental practices
    1. Working in a shared studio space (Lec)
    2. Environmental concerns and personal safety (Lec)
    3. Reading and understanding product instructions (Lec)
    4. Reading and understanding Material Safety Data sheets (Lec)
    5. Reading and understanding safety signage in the studio (Lec)
    6. Proper disposal and recycling of materials (Lec)
    7. Environmental safety requirements at Foothill College (Lec)
Methods of Evaluation -
  1. Evaluation of prints produced. Evaluation of each project is determined by how completely it fulfills the parameters and goals of the assignment.
  2. Participation in group discussions and critiques.
  3. Reading, research & writing assignments.
Representative Text(s) -
Cleeton, Glen, Charles Pitkin, and Raymond Cornwell. General Printing: An Illustrated Guide to Letterpress Printing. Saratoga, CA: Liber Apertus Press, 2008.

Although this text is older than the suggested "5 years or newer" standard, it remains a seminal text in this area of study. This is the best text available for letterpress.

Disciplines -
Graphic Arts
Method of Instruction -
  1. Lecture and demonstration of processes of letterpress printing with explanation in language of letterpress
  2. Student practice of letterpress processes in lab situation
  3. One on one critique with students through each process in lab
  4. Quizzes on elements and language of letterpress
Lab Content -
  1. Develop concept sketches, planning and production sketches, preparation of prototypes, digital files, and choice of inks and paper.
  2. Proofing and final printing of projects and curating of finished work.
Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing and Outside of Class Assignments -
  1. Reading assignments:
    1. Assigned textbook.
    2. Handouts.
    3. Internet research sites.
  2. Writing assignments:
    1. Writing about art projects.
    2. Writing portfolio and artist's statements.