Partners in Print brings people together by using old printing presses to amplify new voices, share knowledge, and spark creativity.
Partners in Print has an interesting backstory, as they are a lo-fi group based in a high-tech city. What started as the Letterpress Program at Seattle’s School of Visual Concepts (SVC) spawned a community of printers.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced Seattle into lockdown in March of 2020. While it was frustrating not to be able to teach in person, the advent of Long-Distance Letterpress classes over Zoom opened up new and unanticipated possibilities for learning and community-building. It was suddenly possible to learn from respected printers no matter where in the world they lived, watch them demonstrate live from their incredible letterpress studios, ask plenty of questions, and meet members of the global printing community all at the same time.
When SVC decided to commit to online learning indefinitely, SVC’s letterpress shop needed to find a new home, fast. The community pooled their print shop expertise to take inventory and plan for the massive equipment move. Presses and type went to foster homes. The teaching shop, which was put together by the letterpress community, is now in the care of the community.
Before the dust settled from the move, SVC’s letterpress program reformed as Partners in Print (PiP). Partners in Print hopes to open a letterpress teaching shop in Seattle someday, but for now they’re making the best of things as a decentralized creative community, wielding the power of print for the greater good. Community engagement, a respect for craft, and a focus on collaboration are the legacy of the SVC Letterpress Program that lives on in Partners in Print today.
Using Stickers and Labels to Promote Letterpress
"We needed something to send with orders from our store and thank you notes to donors," says Jenny Wilkson, a member of the Partners in Print leadership team. "We needed something that had our new logo, something we could bring to events as a giveaway that had our mission. StickerGiant was really wonderful and one of the perks of going nonprofit is that suddenly we're qualifying for really meaningful gifts and partnerships."
They use the clear sticker sheet you see at the top of the page as a piece of promotional branding, and there are ten different peel offs that have symbols from the letterpress process, whether it's the Brayer roller, the star or the manicule. The paper labels are used to seal up swag bags and other packaging that gets sent out to people. Jenny designed all of these stickers and labels, and she set up the files with intention to represent the Partners in Print, while also maximizing the use of the product mix.
"The paper labels we use on everything. I'll slap them on a package, and the box feels more custom. I was able to get them to alternate colors, which is pretty awesome," she says. "These are so versatile because I designed them to be name tags, so we can put it on our shirt with a sharpie. We label boxes with it, so we put it on all our packaging."
Once recent project where die cut stickers came in handy was an event with the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum in Two Rivers, Wisconsin."The Hamilton Museum is an amazing place, and they have a wonderful community," says Jenny. "The Hamilton Wayzgoose is an annual event where there is always swapping of prints from the people who came. Now it's virtual, and we worked with them to send stickers out to all of the printers who participated and to give to volunteers, so it's been a really nice collaboration and people from all over."