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You step inside an old closet. It’s 1896 again.

Pieces of type covered with red ink following a print job in the letterpress studio. Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

It’s 10 a.m. on a Thursday morning in late January, and Ryan Cordell is preparing to print Walt Whitman’s poem “A Font of Type.” But he’s not at his computer Googling the poem or typing out the words. He’s standing in Northeastern’s new letterpress studio in Holmes Hall at the university’s Boston campus.

Letterpress printing, which began in the 15th century, uses raised letters and images made of metal type to imprint words and designs on paper. It has been replaced over the years by more modern commercial printing technologies, and today it is most commonly used to print wedding invitations, baby announcements, and business cards with an old-fashioned touch.

But Cordell sees in this ancient craft an opportunity for today’s lifelong learners. He envisions Northeastern’s letterpress studio, which he directs, as a hub of experiential learning where students, faculty, and others can learn about the craft and create their own projects.

The studio will be used to teach the history of print technologies and show how they can be used with today’s technologies, such as 3D printing, tocreate posters, postcards, and other projects.

Read the full story on News at Northeastern. 

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