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Editor’s Pick: The Beauty of Letterpress

Filmmaker Danny Cooke captures a day in the life of Paul Collier as he goes through the elaborate steps to create typographic works of art

Every week on this blog we will feature one video that Smithsonian.com selects as an “Editors’ Pick.” In the weeks since the contest launched, we’ve already been blown away by the high quality of the submissions. Note: these videos are not selected by the contest judges and have no bearing on the final result of the contest.

The featured videos are meant to inspire and encourage.



Johannes Gutenberg invented letterpress printing in the mid-15th century and it remained popular until the late 20th century when the digital revolution made printing as easy as pressing a button on a computer. Thanks to letterpress technicians such as Paul Collier of England’s Plymouth University, the 500-year-old process is experiencing a revival.

Filmmaker Danny Cooke captures a day in the life of Collier as he goes through the elaborate steps to create typographic works of art. The wide range of shots mixed with archival footage gives the viewer a look at the true quality of letterpress. The soundtrack Cooke chose for his documentary should also be mentioned as it does a lot to set the pace of the video. Stay tuned until the end of the video, where Cooke comes up with a clever way to display the credits.

Feeling inspired? Head over to our submission page and upload your video for a chance to win our grand prize.

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