Letterpress publishing has recently undergone a revival in the USA, Canada, and the UK, under the general banner of the 'Small Press Movement'. Renewed interest in letterpress was fueled by Martha Stewart Weddings magazine, which began using pictures of letterpress invitations in the 1990s. The beauty and texture became appealing to brides who began wanting letterpress invitations instead of engraved, thermographed, or offset-printed invitations. At the same time, presses were being discarded by commercial print shops, and became affordable and available to artisans throughout the country. Popular presses are, in particular, Vandercook cylinder proof presses and Chandler & Price platen presses. In the UK there is particular affection for the Arab press, built by Josiah Wade in Halifax.
The movement has been helped by the emergence of a number of organizations that teach Letterpress such as Columbia College Chicago's Center for Book and Paper Arts, Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif., New York's Center for Book Arts, Studio on the Square and The Arm NYC, the Wells College Book Arts Center in Aurora, New York, the San Francisco Center for the Book, Bookworks, Seattle's School of Visual Concepts, Black Rock Press, North Carolina State University, Washington D.C's Corcoran College of Art and Design, Penland School of Crafts, the Minnesota Center for Book Arts, the International Printing Museum in Carson, CA, Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA, and the Bowehouse Press at VCU in Richmond, VA.
Affordable copper, magnesium and photopolymer platemakers and milled aluminum bases have allowed letterpress printers to produce type and images derived from digital artwork, fonts and scans. Economical plates have encouraged the rise of "digital letterpress" in the 21st century, allowing a small number of firms to flourish commercially and enabling a larger number of boutique and hobby printers to avoid the limitations and complications of acquiring and composing metal type. At the same time there has been a renaissance in small-scale type foundries to produce new metal type on Monotype equipment, Thompson casters and the original American Type Founders machines.
The goal before this revival was that you could not tell there was an impression, the type contacted the paper enough to transfer the ink but not leave an impression. However today, when speaking of letterpress, the goal is to have that impression be evident, to distinctly note that is letterpress.
Traditionally, the letterpress printer did not want to exaggerate this effect; printers would talk approvingly of the "kiss impression," and look down on anyone whose printing left a noticeable indent in the paper. Today, some printers seem to want to show off the fact that they're doing letterpress, by punching the type deep into the paper.) Part of the appeal of letterpress printing now, when it's neither a standard nor a common mode of reproduction, is in the materials used: the texture and feel of the paper and (if it's a book) the binding
LetterMpress for Mac and iPad is developed by mpressInteractive, llc, a designer of mobile and desktop apps for the creative and publishing markets. Founded by graphic designer John Bonadies and programmer Jeff Adams in 2011, the company is backed by Serra Ventures.
LetterMpress is an iPad app that virtually takes you through the process of Letterpress on the screen of an iPad to create a virtual piece of work at the end.