Author Archives: Andrew Long

Featured Graduate: Julia Blom

Julia Blom picking up a can of ink from a shelf.
Julia from Blomworks

1. Tell us about yourself. Have you always been interested in art and design?

Growing up in the Netherlands, design and creativity was always around me. In my family there are landscape architects, photographers and writers, and that was reflected in for example the furniture, books and art in everyone’s home. And of course it was everywhere in the culture too, in the stamps, bank notes, posters for exhibitions. It’s all part of my Dutch heritage which I didn’t actually realise until I studied Design for Visual Communication at LCC. It definitely influences my minimal designs and love for typography. 

Going to LCC was a career change for me, I found myself stuck in a job and wanted to get away from the computer. I loved using the fantastic facilities at LCC and went to lots of bookbinding, box making and print workshops. For every assignment I would want to make something.

Framed letterpress print. Two large characters printed in orange and blue. Hanging on a wall above a coffee table and radio.
Orange and Blue, Blomworks

2.  How did you get started in letterpress?

It started when we studied designs that were made before the computer was invented. I would look at these beautiful typographic examples and think: how on earth was this made? I really enjoyed learning about this as well as kerning, composition, type setting. A lot of things come together for me in letterpress: my love for typography, the nuances of language, and the logistics and mathematical element which meant I could apply my skills from previous jobs.

When you find what it is you love doing, I think you have no other choice then to continue with it in some way. After I graduated, I started volunteering at the London Centre for Book Arts and the Type Archive. A little while later, I created a website and started selling my work.

3.  Where do you find inspiration?

In letterforms and in language. This can be from conversations or those snippets of a chat you hear. Yesterday I walked past two neighbours and all I heard from their conversation was that one said to the other: ‘and you know if they say anything silly…’ and the other replied: ‘yes, then I just let it go’. I love those little moments. Then I think: maybe I can use that in a print. 

My work is about confidence, love and breakup, and mental wellbeing. They are of words you continuously want to be reminded of.

Letterpress print reading 'whoever is dating you is very lucky', on a silver tray with wine glasses and nuts.
Dating You, Blomworks

4.  What does your current work setup look like?

At home I have a proofing press that I use for smaller work and commissions. I print larger work at the London Centre for Book Arts where they have two Vandercooks and a Stephenson Blake. I also have a day job which I enjoy, I use different skills there and have lovely colleagues.

5. Looking back on your time at LCC, what advice would you give to yourself, if you could travel back in time?

Experiment more! I often had thought out a design in my head and have it planned before I started making. Sometimes, it’s good to try something out and see where it takes you. 

6.  Where can we see more of your work?

Have a look at my website or instagram. The exhibitions I had booked have been postponed. My folded print We stumble into being will soon be sold at the Whitegrid gallery in Berlin. 

If you have any questions, get in touch via Julia’s email

Framed letterpress print. The print is folded intricately and hangs in a square black frame. Viewed at an angle.
We Stumble Into Being, Blomworks

Print Curiosities: No. 3 — Double Dagger

Print Curiosities: No. 3. Is selected and written by Specialist Letterpress Technician, Andrew Long.

Today I am sharing with you Double Dagger. A newspaper printed the traditional way, but it’s not what you might expect. It’s bright and colourful with amazing artwork and a focus on letterpress, unlike your typical newspaper. Every contributor includes an element of their work which makes each issue different and unique.

“The binding agent between all of our pages and contributors is a desire to print from the third-dimension, using both the tools that Gutenberg left us over 500 years ago and the tools of today such as the laser cutter. Printing using wood and lead type cannot be replicated digitally – the look, the feel, and even the smell offer an antidote to much of today’s commercial printing.”

(Loaring and Randle, 2021)

Double Dagger is a collaboration between Nick Loaring, of The Print Project, and Pat Randle, of Nomad Letterpress. The idea was formed, rather oddly, in 2013 on a sunny Somerset field. This was the first year Glastonbury festival had attempted to print their daily newspaper on a Heidelberg cylinder press using hot-metal type. The Linotype machine, which casts the hot-metal type for printing, had decided it no longer wanted to work. The newspaper was still printed on the Heidelberg, but the use of polymer plates rather than hot-metal type was the spark that started the Double Dagger conversation.

The first issue was released some 3 years later. To date they have released 3 issues, all full of letterpress goodness. Each issue is printed with lead type, none of that Polymer they had been forced to use at Glastonbury. Contributors include Stanley Donwood, Dafi Kühne, Ellen Bills and Thomas Mayo amongst many others.

You won’t be surprised to hear Nick & Pat are two of my favourite printers. Nick produces some of the most beautiful bold prints, you’ll find his work at The Print Project. Pat works out of Whittington Press and is the printer of Matrix ‘the finest periodical of the book arts of the 20th Century’. His imprint is Nomad Letterpress, where you’ll find some of the amazing books he has published.

If you want to know more about this publication check out the Double Dagger website, issue 1-2 are sold out but you could get your hands on issue 3. Follow Double Dagger on Instagram for any updates and to find out when / if they release an issue 4.

Lost words of letterpress

A2 Letterpress printed poster of printing terms
Lost words of Fleet Street, Mick Clayton and Catherine Dixon, Printed at St Bride, 2019

For those of you who have been introduced to letterpress, you will be aware of the many confusing terms we use in the workshop. I’m sure you’ve already forgotten what a Quoin is. Well, let me confuse you further.

I am fortunate enough to work alongside others at St Bride Foundation who worked in letterpress when it was a larger part of the printing industry. One of the things I love about my role at St Bride is the wealth of letterpress history that I am taught through my colleagues. They’re constantly reminiscing about the good old days, in specific, the ‘words’ they used to use whilst on the job as seen below:

A.B.P. — anything but print (a lazy person)

Bang Out — celebration of retirement or conclusion of apprenticeship

K.D. — A private job (keep dark)

Knowing Your Boxes — Being aware of what you are doing or talking about

N.F. — a companion who hears or observes something intended for them and ignores it (no fly)

On the Coach — Not speaking to someone

Out of Sorts — running out of the type you need

Pieing Your Case — accidentally mixing the type so that they have to be sorted out

Putting up the Half-Double — ending a conversation on a particular subject

Quire — twenty-five copies / sheets of the same paper

Space Up — an argument

Stop Press — a small stereo added to a blank column, for breaking news while printing

Wrong Fount — a suspicious character

If you are interested in printing history, LCC archive have a fantastic collection linking back to its time at St Bride Foundation. St Bride Library holds one of the world’s most significant collections of books about printing. As well as many physical objects available for viewing, but not until the pandemic restrictions allow. Until then, please stay tuned for the next letterpress post and stay safe and well.

In the mean time, why not watch this short film Banging Out — Fleet Street Remembered a documentary film based on oral history interviews with former printers and journalists.


Mick Clayton and Catherine Dixon, Lost Words of Fleet Street, A2 Letterpress Poster part of the Collections and Collaborations event held on 14 May 2019 as a visual celebration of the St Bride Library. Available at St Bride.

Rowles, G., 1949. The ‘Line’ Is On. London: London Society of Compositors, pp.101-103.