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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

LetterMpress: A Review by Christopher Wallace

A review of LetterMpress by Christopher Wallace

John Bonadies with the LetterMpress app 
I recently purchased LetterMpress from iTunes. While the application is fun to use, John Bonadies (one of its developers) states that LetterMpress was not created as a game, but rather as a teaching tool to pass down the traditional art of letterpress printmaking.

LetterMpress allows the users to create work in a virtual letterpress studio that is fully stocked with wood type, ornaments and art. With its painstaking attention to detail, the interface is visually stunning: users measure with a pica ruler, use furniture to lock type into place, and print on a Vandercook proofing press. LetterMpress even allows its users to take their creations out of the virtual world and have them printed on the actual equipment on which the application is modeled.

This application does have a bit of a learning curve and requires a little patience. Although it can be installed on either a Mac or iPad, the program was designed with iPad's touch screen capability in mind. Having to point and click with a mouse causes the tools to be slower, rigid and at times awkward. Because of this, the interactive quality of the iPad app is lost in the desktop version. Despite these minor shortcomings, LetterMpress is still a fun and faithful way to get the experience of letterpress from the comfort of home.
This review was completed for ASTU 5900: Graduate Special Problems (Relief) taught by associate professor Lari Gibbons in fall 2011.