There are just 2 weeks to DesignMarch 2014 and the preparations at the designers’ studios are full on. We visited Hildur Sigurðardóttir and Ólöf Birna Garðarsdóttir of Reykjavík Letterpress, a design studio established in 2010, doing funny, practical and aestetically pleasing products using letterpress techniques.

For this year’s festival, they will join forces with graphic designer Tiny Risselada. At “It’s personal – and you’re invited”, guests can send invitations to all sorts of events using letter pressed cards. Invite granny to dinner or friends to a party –a postbox and stamps are supplied!Letterpress_photo_JuliaSchygulla1Letterpress_photo_JuliaSchygulla16

The studio specializes in the letterpress technique, one of the oldest forms of printing.
But they don’t use these plumb letters like this old baskerville font, how you might imagine. Reykjavik Letterpress uses the technique in a modern way and explain us what that means:Letterpress_photo_JuliaSchygulla20

All of the beautiful Reykjavik Letterpress designs start on the computer screen at their small creative-chaos-type office.Letterpress_photo_JuliaSchygulla19

Films are developed on a photopolymer printing plate called cliché.
These plastic reliefs allow more flexibility and freedom in designing than the old moveable type. They are glued on a metal base, fixed in a frame and put into the letterpress machine Heidelberg Windmill.  Letterpress_photo_JuliaSchygulla17 Letterpress_photo_JuliaSchygulla2 Letterpress_photo_JuliaSchygulla5

With ink inserted on the rollers, the suckers suck each sheet of paper.  Letterpress_photo_JuliaSchygulla3 Letterpress_photo_JuliaSchygulla4Letterpress_photo_JuliaSchygulla7 Letterpress_photo_JuliaSchygulla6

The machine presses the paper against the thin inked cliché and beautiful prints with a remarkable depth come out.Letterpress_photo_JuliaSchygulla8

Finally, the prints are cut in the right size.Letterpress_photo_JuliaSchygulla10Letterpress_photo_JuliaSchygulla11

Each colour needs to be printed separately. For the card below, four printing rounds were needed.Letterpress_photo_JuliaSchygulla15

Reykjavik Letterpress’s products are mostly build on concepts.
Hildur shows us some examples:

They have that extra twist that makes them more fun – like our weather postcards, where you can check in little boxes on the back about the weather. Or the “My Trip” travelling notebook, where none of the pages inside are the same.
We even have a greeting card for money gifts where the paper itself is made out of money!

The invitations you can get and send at their DesignMarch 2014 event will have that extra twist. Stay tuned!Letterpress_photo_JuliaSchygulla14


The studio is full of  good mood. We are now perfectly prepared for their DesignMarch event and are looking forward to their invitation to send letterpressed postcards to our loved ones.
Letterpress_photo_JuliaSchygulla18Letterpress_photo_JuliaSchygulla12 Letterpress_photo_JuliaSchygulla13

The opening for “It’s personal – and you’re invited” is on Thursday March 27 at 4 pm at The Culture House.
Until then – keep on inviting!


Images and Text by Julia Schygulla