Letterpress for Designers
Letterpress for Designers is a studio letterpress class with instruction on printing with photopolymer plates at the Otis Laboratory Press. This hands-on course covers all aspects of this revolutionary new process for the relief printing of digital imaging: from digital prepress and plate processing to letterpress printing.
Includes demonstrations of digital imaging requirements and font-editing, processing with the platemaking machine, and presswork on the Vandercook flatbed cylinder press. Includes discussions of related investigative and exploratory printing and typographic techniques.
Instructor: Leslie Ross-Robertson
Letterpress work by Tess Halavy
Letterpress Calendar by Gina Calica
Letterpress work by Cindy Whitlock
Introduction to Letterpress
Introduction to Letterpress covers the fine art of letterpress printing. Projects introduce students to the basics of letterpress printing for the Vandercook proof press including hand typesetting, typography, composition, locking up, printing, and distribution.
Students also create a multi-color reduction linoleum block project, which covers registration, printing, and color separation techniques. The Otis Lab Press is a fully functioning studio with four Vandercook proof presses and over 200 typefaces.
Established in 1984 by Sheila de Brettville as part of the Communication Arts Department, the Lab Press has a rich history of small edition book publishing. Students actively participate and produce award-winning books that have become a permanent part of university rare book collections throughout Southern California.
Instructor: Janet Kupchick
Lab Press at Home Video with Rachel Curry demonstrating pop-up cards.
How to Use Bira Cutting and Embossing MachineOtis Lab Press, Video by Jennifer GravesHave you ever run out of envelopes? In this episode of Lab Press at Home, we’re showing you one of many ways to make an envelope. The process is easy, fun to personalize, and it’s a great project for all ages!Otis Lab Press, Video by Rachel CurryLearn how to make prints of textured surfaces by using charcoal, crayons, chalk pastels, and pencils in this week’s episode of Lab Press at Home. This technique is called rubbing or frottage and can be used to make beautiful textured papers or prints for book covers, zines, collage and more. Music by Rachel Curry and Candace Hansen.Otis Lab Press, Video by Rachel CurryExplosion Books are pop-up book structures made by folding and gluing square sheets of paper. Learn to make this fun and simple book structure in our Lab Press at Home series! This structure is also taught as part of Rebecca Chamlee ‘s curriculum in her fabulous Book Structures class. We highly recommend this class for all Otis students!Otis Lab Press, Video by Rachel CurryWelcome back to our Lab Press at Home series! This week we are doing pochoir: a traditional form of stencil printing that some say is the origins of screen printing! This might be a technique you could use to create postcards to send to local politicians to advocate for the types of change you would like to see in your community: The printed word has historically been used as a tool for activism and decent and physical mail can send a strong message in the digital age. You can also use pochoir for any project from printed editions to greeting cards, to artist books and zines. Shout out to Rebecca Chamlee for teaching us this technique in her book arts classes!Otis Lab Press, Video by Rachel CurryLearn how to make Jacob’s Ladder books in today’s episode of #labpressathome. This woven paper structure is easy to make and reveals hidden panels when folded different ways like magic! We hope you enjoy this tutorial.Otis Lab Press, Video by Jennifer GravesPerfect Binding. In today’s video we’re showing you how to make a Perfect Bound notebook with just a few items you probably already have at home.These little books are a sized to easily carry and are great for sketching, doodling, quick notes, and more. Be sure to tag us if you make one... or two or three of the projects, we’d love to see them. Video created by Jennifer Graves. #labpressathome #otisathome #bookarts #bookbinding #journal #notebookOtis Lab Press, Video by Rachel CurryLearn to bind two simple books with rubber bands in today’s #labpressathome tutorial! These books are fun and simple and can be done with materials you already have at home! Check out the link in our bio to see all our tutorials and tag us if you post any projects you make! Video and music by our lab technician: Rachel Curry #otisathome #bookbinding #DIY #bookarts @otiscollegeOtis Lab Press, Video by Rachel CurryThis week with #labpressathome, learn to make simple pop-up cards, perfect for Mother’s Day or any occasion! These cards are fun and quick to make, so you can have them in the mail before May 10th ! If you make any projects, we'd love to see them, so please tag us in your post or use the #otisathome or #labpressathome tag! Video and music by our lab technician: Rachel Curry #otisathome #popups #DIY #mothersday #cardmaking @otiscollegeOtis Lab Press, Video by Rachel CurryTodays #labpressathome tutorial is a mono printing technique we are referring to as “Found Object Stamping.” Use up-cycled materials to make unique patterns and textures on paper. Perhaps you have been ordering more things online right now: this could be a perfect way to make use of all that packing material! If you make any projects, we'd love to see them, so please tag us in your post or use the #otisathome or #labpressathome tag! Video and music by: Rachel Curry @otiscollege #printmaking #monoprints #DIYOtis Lab Press, Video by Jennifer GravesCarving rubber stamps is a fun at-home project that allows you to get creative with and use to decorate stationary, stickers, use on fabric, create wrapping paper, book covers, etc., there’s so many possibilities! This tutorial will show you how to carve and even cut geometric rubber stamps. If you make any projects, we'd love to see it, so please tag us in your post or use the #otisathome or #labpressathome tag!Otis Lab Press, Video by Rachel CurryIn this week’s lab press at home video, we will show you how to bind a flutter book using the leaf prints from last week’s tutorial. This is a simple binding done with a glue stick that looks great and can be applied to many projects! We hope you enjoy the tutorial and remember to tag us if you do make one!Otis Lab Press, Video by Rachel Curry
Today’s Lab Press at-home tutorial is on leaf prints! This is a perfect at home project you can use to make cards, books, covers, or prints, and hopefully, you have all the supplies already! In our next tutorial, we will show you how to make a flutter book using these prints!Otis Lab Press, Video by Rachel Curry
Hello! This is the first project in our Lab Press at home series! Learn how to make a simple zine out of one sheet of paper! This is a great project to do during quarantine; you can send it in the mail, keep it for yourself, or make copies and sell it for some extra cash!
Bookmaking / Printing
Book Binding Examples
Rachel Curry describes some different bookbinding options for students at the Laboratory Press.
Follow Instructor and Book Artist Rebecca Chamlee as she demonstrates a sewn book structure that results in a very beautiful and sturdy book, with a decorative spine. The hands-on demonstration makes a complicated structure very easy to accomplish. See more of Rebecca’s amazing work on pieintheskypress.com
Instructor and Book Artist Rebecca Chamlee demonstrates with just folding and glued edges how you can create a professional looking, paper cover book without sewing. The interior pages “flutter” out to an accordion style so that all the pages can be viewed simultaneously or “codex” or book style in sequence. See more of Rebecca’s fantastic work on pieintheskypress.com
Long Stitch Book Binding
Follow Instructor and Book Artist Rebecca Chamlee as she demonstrates a sewn book structure that results in a very beautiful and sturdy book, with a decorative spine. The hands-on demonstration makes a complicated structure very easy to accomplish. See more of Rebecca’s incredible work on pieintheskypress.com
Lab DemosLaboratory Press Student Introduction VideoWelcome to Laboratory Press! This video introduces the lab, team members, and the equipment for use.Wire-O BinderLaboratory Press video by Jennifer Graves. This is a demo of our 3:1 Wire-O binder for thinner books.Coil BinderOtis Laboratory Press - video by Rachel Curry. Watch this demo to learn how to use our coil binder machine at Lab Press!Saddle StitchOtis Lab Press - Video by Rachel Curry. This video demonstrates our saddle stitch stapler. Create your own zines, books, and journals!Corner RounderOtis Laboratory Press video by Jennifer Graves. This video demonstrates our corner rounder in the lab.Hole PuncherOtis Laboratory Press video by Rachel Curry. This video is a demo for the Hole Puncher. Please ask for lab technician assistance when you use the machine.Button MakerOtis Laboratory Press video by Rachel Curry Learn how to use the Button Maker at Otis Lab Press.
The Book Arts Minor offers students the opportunity to deepen their exploration and creation of contemporary artists' books as grounded in the conceptual, theoretical, and craft foundations of the field. This interdisciplinary minor includes studio courses in letterpress, printmaking, and bookmaking supplemented with English and Art History electives related to creative writing, image/text relationships and history of Book Arts.
The Book Arts minor is open to all undergraduate majors.
|COMD362 / GDIL362||Introduction to Letterpress||3|
|COMD365 / GDIL365||Bookstructures||3|
|COMD456 / GDIL456||Bookmaking Projects||3|
|COMD373 / GDIL373 -or-||Advanced Letterpress -or-||3|
|COMD456 / GDIL456||Bookmaking Projects (again) -or-|
|Printmaking elective -or-|
|Book Arts LAS elective*||3|
*A limited choice of LAS courses will count towards the Book Arts minor electives, as determined each semester by the Interdisciplinary Studies Director and LAS Chair.
**Specific course depends on major and level.
Course Descriptions are listed in the Communication Arts and Liberal Arts and Sciences sections of the Course Catalog.
Download one of the following PDFs to see how the Book Arts requirments fit into your chosen major:
For students who entered Otis College as Foundation students in 2019-20 (class of 2023):
Book Arts Minor Academic Plan 19-20
For students who entered Otis College as Foundation students in 2020-21 (class of 2024):
Book Arts Minor Academic Plan 20-21
For students who entered Otis College as Foundation students in 2021-22 (class of 2025):
Book Arts Minor Academic Plan 21-22
Learn more about Interdisciplinary Studies, eligibility requirements, and the application process.