Low-Tech Print is a design book that features hand-made, traditional printmaking techniques and showcases how they are used in contemporary graphic design and illustration. It also might be the nicest, most tactile design book that I own.
The books author/curator Caspar Williamson is a printermaker himself, as well as a designer, illustrator and author based in London. He is heavily involved in the printmaking, lectures on the subject and has taught workshops throughout the UK. The book was designed by Studio Aparte, from Barcelona, and the embossed cover was designed by Pentagram designer Rhian Edwards.
The main body of Low-Tech Print is the showcase of over 100 designers, printers and studios from around the world, the book is chiefly an exploration of the most exciting and influential practitioners of hand-made printmaking techniques and how they are used today in illustration and graphic design. It also looks at the huge recent resurgence in the popularity of low-tech printmaking, and the effect that this resurgence is having on the style and direction of modern graphic design.
The book is divided into four chapters, each one on a different printmaking technique; Screenprinting, Letterpress, Relief Printing and Other Printing Methods. Each chapter also has a large ‘portfolio’ section, which shows the huge variety of graphic design styles that each printing technique can lend itself to. The book shows how each practitioner develops a love affair with these hand-made techniques and how they use them to create beautiful designs, explaining the process behind each technique and its historical context.
One of the really great parts of the book is the detailed step-by-step process that accompany each chapter. They give brief but complete instructions on the printing techniques, for of the first three chapters. They also include a list of the materials and tools that you need for these techniques. These guides are a great place to start if you are interesting in trying out the printing techniques that you can see displayed in the book.
If it hasn’t been obvious up to this point I love Low-Tech Print and would recommend it in a heartbeat to any graphic designer, design student, artist or lover of traditional printing techniques. The book offers an amazing source of inspiration for all types of graphic design and illustration and is a fantastic guide for designers interested in learning the techniques and possibilities of more traditional printing methods.
On top of being informative, the book itself is an artpiece, a great example of printing, and something that people with no knowledge of graphic design can still enjoy for the beautiful images and illustrations, on the inside and the outside of the book.