I must admit, there is a very soft spot in my heart for letterpress, particularly the style of printing that is popular now; soft papers and deep impressions. The popularity of using letterpress in this way is a fascinating development of the technology. Where historically a letterpress might be used to simply print, the presence of a myriad of cheap print technologies have pushed pressmen to use old technology in new ways, or at least redefine the boundaries of good technique.
This past year I saw a huge increase in letterpress calendars and one of those that caught my eye was a collaborative piece by Studio on Fire. The idea of collaborative design is really exciting, particularly in a digital age where designs can easily be shared and ideas worked out long before makeready is started. There's no doubt that work like this isn't cheap; I know only a few people whom still keep a physical calendar and buy them from office supply stores for a few bucks. However, it's always struck me odd that people spend a great deal of money outfitting their homes with expensive furniture and decorations but then ignore the commodity items that truly fill the space.
So, while this calendar sold for $30, it seems like a reasonable price to me. Think not of it as something you buy and throw away, but rather, a work of art that refreshes itself monthly for a year. Many people wouldn't blanch at spending $30 on a single meal, an experience that lasts only a few hours. $30 on an experience that lasts 365 days seems like a deal.
Take a look and take note of the wonderful color. Near neutrals and orange are just about impossible to hold in a four color offset process, using solids on a letterpress provides a specificity of color that is so hard to match. The next time I buy a calendar, I'll certainly be looking for individually produced, short-run works of art. It's a lot more fun than a generic photo or office calendar.