I was messing around with Photoshop filters tonight trying to achieve the look of an old letterpress offset print. This is what I came up with on my first attempt. Not too shabby for an amateur.
I really like the look of the old prints from the 1920′s, 30′s and 40′s, and it’s funny how back then jobs came out looking like this because of variables printers couldn’t control. Clients and printers alike were unhappy with the final results being that the registration was harder to control on these old machines and the prints were not quite in the right places.
These old letterpress’ and cylinder presses could weigh upwards of 20,000 pounds but properly maintained could run for 100 years if need be.
Here’s an example of an old smaller scale cylinder press:
Nowadays we have the technology to control every last detail so we can get the printing perfect and know exactly how everything will look even before we print it. Although this technology is great for countless reasons some people/designers/companies are striving for a look of days passed. I find it amazing how certain things in this world really do come full circle. How 70 years ago clients would be upset about the poor registration on their job that they were paying for but now people spend hundreds of hours developing software, plug-ins, and filters to mimic this old look. And now people are actually seeking out this “old fashioned” look and spending lots of time trying to create something that used to be a mere mistake.