To bring another level of authenticity to our Fentimans print work Sell! Sell! are hand-printing the type and pictorial elements this year. After a lot of searching, they found themselves a vintage Farley proofing press, which was perfect for the job. A couple of them were trained (to a basic level) in letterpress at art school and have dabbled a bit since, so they jumped at the chance to relevantly apply it to some of our commercial work.
To start with, the agency took the design elements of their design – in this case the headline and copy designed in some authentic Victorian and Edwardian typefaces, and a vintage illustration of a rose, and had them made into a block set to the type height of the Farley press.
Ryan setting the block in place on the press – Sell! Towers is on a tiny cobbled street called Printing House Yard, so it felt good to be bringing some actual printing (even if it is just on this very tiny level) back here.
They experimented with different levels of inking, papers and pressure to achieve varied results in terms of sharpness, ink density and texture.
They then took high-res scans of the different prints, with would give them flexibility to use the best or most interesting parts in the final layout.
Here you can see the difference between two of the scanned prints in terms of coverage and texture – obviously one of the beauties of this kind of print process is that no two prints are exactly alike anyway.
Below you can see the difference between the type set digitally (left) and the printed version (right). Some of the effects of printing you can simulate using photoshop filters and other techniques, but it’s impossible to get close to the organic feel of type like this without actually printing it.
The rose illustration came out beautifully...
Then finally, the scanned prints were chopped into separate elements, and the most interesting versions were coloured up and applied to the final layout. And here it is, the first Fentimans print ad of the year – if you’d like to see it in person it’ll be in the next issue of Private Eye. (By the way, if you haven’t already, you should really try Fentimans Rose Lemonade – it’s a wonderful drink.)