Cranky Pressman

150 Penn Avenue
United States
Cranky Pressman are a bunch of old coots forced to get along in this Xx!#*! messed up modern world. We didn't jump on the letterpress bandwagon but are printers and graphic artists who have been putting ink and lead to paper for decades. We don't claim to understand this altered electronic dimension in which we find ourselves so are working hard to figure it out just enough to not look like fools. Our advice to people more familiar with creating on the glowing screen but want to try their hand at print, some things do not compute in letterpress.
Interview with Keith from Cranky Pressman
When did you start letterpress printing?: 
What do you like best about letterpress printing?: 
The fact that even though we use machines, the work is still basically handmade and completely crafted. It is very satisfying work to do and look at when it's finished.
What inspires you?: 
As a printer I am inspired most by the collaboration process. I like helping designers use letterpress to bring the desired finishing touch and technique to their ideas and design. It is especially rewarding when the designer really 'gets it' and has created a piece that is ideal for the letterpress medium.
Which press(es), ink & paper do you usually use?: 
Most projects are done on one of our Heidelberg Windmills. They are the work horses for printing, die-cutting and foil stamping. We have two Chandler & Price hand feed presses (12"x18" and 10"x15") for larger die-cutting and printing on weird materials like heavy board. Vandercook proofing presses are used for larger pieces such as posters and art prints in smaller quantities. Last year we renovated a 12"x18" Heidelberg Cylinder letterpress which we have located off-site in a secret bunker so we can continue to print customer's jobs during and after a nuclear holocaust. Like printers of yore, we have our line of house stocks. They range from commercial grade card and board to premium grade uncoated stocks. Everything in our house line has high post consumer recycled content. Then of course we carry and use a ton of Lettra cotton stock. When we first converted to an all letterpress shop we worked with our ink supplier to develop our own unique ink. It is vegetable-based and formulated to work better with letterpress printing.
How would you describe your artwork?: 
I see myself as a printer and craftsman and not really an artist. Most of our customers and shop friends are graphic designers and illustrators but many could also be considered artists. We help them execute their creative artwork. We do like to produce 'personal' pieces for the shop whenever possible. They are always done as a collaboration between myself, Jamie and usually a guest designer. Jamie calls the work ugly crass printer's promotions but people seem to like it anyway.
What kind of products do you create?: 
Being a commercial printer, we have not really done much in the way of products so far. We are actually planning some products now though and will begin introducing them soon.
Do you offer custom work?: 
Do you offer workshops? If yes, what kind of?: 
We occasionally do workshops through AIGA Cleveland.
Is there anything you wished you had known as a beginner?: 
I wish I had known how to do a heavy bite impression on a 140# cover stock and not have the impression show through to the opposite side of the paper. It would have been an amazing bit of knowledge for a kid then and I would have totally put it to use today on some of our customer's jobs. There seem to be a fair amount of people who expect and demand this technique and tell me it is possible. We have yet to master working in this altered dimension.
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