From Brush to Pixel to Press

Posted 31 August 2012
Categories Letterpress

The folks at stamen.com figured out how to incorporate hand-painted textures and algorithmic rule sets to create a series of gorgeous digital watercolor maps. We were asked by Jason Kottke to translate one of these maps into a letterpress printed piece, to be sent out to Kottke's Quarterly Co. subscribers.

Our letterpress printed translation of a Stamen map of central Paris

The process required some digital manipulations of our own; we broke the map down into 4 color separations and created screens in order to replicate the color variations naturally produced by the watercolorist. Our four colors– brown, yellow, blue and purple– were printed out on our digital printer and matched with custom Pantone mixes.

Brown letterpress print, along with the suite of digital images to match

Inking up for the yellow run

Yellow (printed on top of brown)

Adjusting the blue plate

Emma confers with Pat about the blue run

Blue run complete. Bring on the purple!

Detail of the final print