Leeds based design studio Split has set a new Guinness World Record.
People Powered Press is housed in Split’s studio on Quarry Hill, and has been given worthy recognition as the world’s largest letterpress printing press.
For the uninitiated, letterpress uses inked, raised letters which are fixed onto a flat surface. When paper is laid over the letters, a heavy roller is applied, which transfers the ink to the paper. This is the oldest form of printing, invented by Johannes Gutenberg in the 15th century.
With a print area measuring 145cm x 94cm, the People Powered Press was made in 2018 as part of These Northern Types, a project exploring northern identity through type. It was created in order to make public posters, the copy for which is written by community groups for display in their respective communities.
The press is going travelling!
Creative Director Oli Bentley is taking it to the Clerkenwell Design Week Festival from 21 – 23 May, where Oli will tell visitors all about the Press and its users, and invite people to print their own posters. Oli has designed Graft, a new typeface, for the Press, which will also be launched digitally and available to download soon from the Split website.
Split tells us that the physical set of characters comprising Graft are cut from steel at 720pt, with a set of giant feature numerals measuring 3480pt, or 136cm tall. The typeface takes its inspiration from the cross-section of the I-beams which support so many industrial buildings across the north of England.
Oli Bentley says, “We’re thrilled to be announcing this World Record as we arrive at Clerkenwell Design Festival. It’s great to be able to introduce the People Powered Press in this hub for the design community, and show off the fantastic engineering work that went into it by Ian and the team at JKN, to whom we’re incredibly grateful. We’re looking forward then to what the future holds when we get the press back home to Leeds, and I hope the record will help us extend our work with new community groups across the north.”
Feature photograph by Stan Graham. You can read Stan’s article on the day that Split made the attempt on the world record here.