November 12, 2017

Double Dagger

Double Dagger issue 2 autumn 2017Letterpress printing

The most recent Stack delivery I received is the beautiful 2nd issue of Double Dagger, a broadsheet style magazine about printing. I love reading printed magazines and books in the age of Kindles and e-readers, although I know nearly nothing about printing. So I found it fascinating to learn more ‘behind the scenes’ of the mechanics and craft of the process of letterpress printing. While a lot went over my head, what I did absorb was incredibly interesting. For instance, why colour is the new bold in the printing world…

The Problems with Print Double Dagger

Double Dagger letterpress printing issue 2Freedom using vintage technology

When unfolded and opened, the vastness of Double Dagger is totally immersive; the magazine obscures everything else around it. The sheer size of the magazine also helped me to visualise the scale of printing presses. The issue was printed using vintage technology: a 1970’s Heidelberg Cylinder Press, type that was cast in hot metal and all the layouts are designed by hand. This gives Pat Randle and Nick Loaring, the founders of Double Daggers, the freedom to stop the press and make adjustments if needed.

Illustration in issue 2 double dagger

Colour will be the new bold double dagger Craftmanship in the digital age

As we increasingly type and read on keyboards and screens, printing retains a connection to the craftsmanship of producing art and literature. Although letterpress printing is physically restrained by the ability of presses, Double Dagger celebrates these limitations and showcases the beauty and richness of the craft. Double Dagger’s front and back covers, and intricate illustrations are even more astonishing and complex because they weren’t printed digitally.

Double Dagger issue 2 hexagon

*The magazine’s name, ‘Double Dagger’, is a symbol used in typography to denote a footnote if an asterisk and a dagger has already been used.

Double Dagger issue 2 was sent to be through my Stack subscription

Double Dagger issue 2 front cover

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