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Happy New Year!

As 2016 draws to a close and 2017 begins it is time for a very long awaited blog from Cupiss Letterpress.

2016 was a busy year especially on the Letterpress side of our printing. The company produced the most amount of Letterpress  jobs since we invested in the, at the time, “new fangled” Offset Litho and later Digital Printing.

Richard and I were pleased to deal with many new clients from near and far, with  some jobs taking us into realms of Letterpress printing not used at Cupiss Letterpress before or at least since the 1900’s,  including unique styles of Business Cards through to Wedding  Stationery.

This year Richard designed and printed our limited edition calendars using our wooden and metal type  incorporating various tricks to create colour  gradients and toning to the text on the press. This limited edition Calendar has proved very popular with one going as far afield as the USA, there are now only a few Calendars left.

One client contacted us to create authentic printing  from the 1940’s era for the current TV programme “The Halycon Hotel” with Letterpress Printed and Hot Foiled Letterheads, Cards, Menus’s and Invitations. One particular job to match a shooting deadline requiried us to meet one of the team off the London Train at Diss Railway Station with the printing  for them to catch the next train back  to London.

We are currently working with the same client producing Letterpress  and Hot Foiled Jobs for a film now in production this has also involved hand glueing book clothes , die cutting and blind embossing.

Local designer Wes Duke spent some time with us creating a two colour design using Wooden and Metal type  which he then had scanned and his design Screen printed onto Cotton Bags for Thorns DIY shop in Norwich.

2017 has already started well with a number of Letterpress jobs already in the production pipeline.

We are already putting some thought to next years Calendar and this years Christmas Card, the 2016 card being individually hand inked to create a one off of each card., slow but fun to do.

Richard and I wish all our clients and readers of this blog a happy 2017.

All the best,


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Mystery in the Attic: we need a Sherlock-type!

Earlier this year, John and Richard uncovered some very old, dusty boxes in the attic at The Wilderness that turned out to be full of what appear to be headline letterpress fonts of the hand cut variety.

We have no idea how old these fonts are, although we have deduced that they may be from around the mid 1800s, which would tie in with Cupiss Letterpress’ move to The Wilderness… and may mean that the hand cut blocks are even older than that!

It would be amazing to find someone – a ‘Sherlock-type’ (see what I did there!) – that could help us identify the typefaces, or at least help us to understand exactly how old they might be. There are six or seven in all, so if this is your forte, please get in touch.

Meanwhile, we’re all very excited about the series of posters we’re creating on the Heidelberg 10 x 15 Press (1950).

The first, which we’re calling ‘Captain of my Destiny’, has been printed using the hand cut shadow font and is so named because the poster features the Nelson Mandela quote “I am the master of my fate and the captain of my destiny” Hand cut letterpress type

The posters will be available soon and we hope to raise funds for the fight against Ebola with the 1st of 100 prints, framed and mounted, going to auction – feels like a good, right thing to do!

Snippet view of printed limited edition poster

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Christmas is Coming

Richard and I have been busy searching our typecases and cupboards for unique type and blocks to create cards to add to our current range of letterpress hand crafted Christmas cards.

The newest arrival to the range is a Christmas Angel based around a block mounted linocut of an angel holding a candle. This linocut was discovered locked in a metal frame (chase) held in place by wooden wedges. The fact it was locked up with wooden wedges suggests it has been around a very long time and its general appearance suggests the same, the carving however is very precise and creates a wonderful image.

We decided to letterpress print the linocut on our usual heavy 400gsm board in a pale blue ink with moderate inking and impression, a) to show the texture and b) to not damage the surface of the linocut. A semi circular shaped Christmas greeting block is letterpress printed around the linocut in silver/grey with handset gill sans type used for the greeting inside and the card title and imprint on the back page printed in black.

The card is featured with others from our Christmas range within the website, including our new ‘Missing S’ card, (see if you can see why it’s called the ‘Missing S’ card). Continue reading

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We will once again be taking part in the Norfolk Heritage Open Days Event. On Thursday 11th September through to Saturday 13th September, 2014. Places can be booked at www.heritagecity.org/hods.

On arrival visitors will be given a talk on the history of the company using a static display of old photographs, printing from our past, hand written letter books and the history behind the veterinary medicines for horses which we still manufacture today.  Continue reading

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An experience with a difference!

If ever you’ve wondered what letterpress is all about, then a Cupiss Letterpress Experience Day is for you.

We invite you and your friends to visit Cupiss Letterpress to experience first-hand what it’s like to step back in time to use original blocks, type and printing presses from the company’s 184 year history.

The aim of the experience day is for you to have fun, get inky fingers, learn a little about traditional printing skills and ultimately achieve a printed product to take home at the end of the visit.

Previous visitors have produced their own wedding stationery, posters and brought in and printed their own linocuts. The possibilities are limitless – probably the hardest part of the whole experience is deciding what to do. Continue reading

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The wedding that had everything

Way back in November 2013 we were approached by a client who had her own unique ideas on her wedding stationery for her Easter 2014 Wedding, taking Cupiss Letterpress up avenues in print we had never been before.

The client discussed her designs with us from ‘Save the Date’ to ‘Printed Coasters’ for each guest, each facet of the stationery had to incorporate a specific shade of purple with a smattering of silver where required.

The invitations were created by using a combination of Offset Litho for the basic design with letterpress printed headlines which were then embossed, a silver heart was then hot foiled within the design and the job cut and creased by the use of a letterpress cutting form to create a folder. Three individual information cards descending in size were created to fit in a pocket within the folder, the whole job was finished off with metallic silver envelopes. Continue reading

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Little Ouse Headwaters Project Visit

We were approached by some members of the Little Ouse Headwaters Project connected with the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts based at the U.E.A. in Norwich. They enquired whether it would be possible for a group from the organisation to come down to the printing works one Saturday to produce letterpress printing for sale and display materials for use at their Open Days at various village halls around the vicinity of the Ouse headwaters.

John and Richard welcomed eleven people to “The Wilderness” early one sunny autumnal Saturday morning. Following a brief Health and Safety talk and a demonstration of Hand Compositing the visitors were allowed to search through our varied cases of metal and wooden type, make their choices and report back to John or Richard who would advise them on their task ahead, before starting preparation for their personal printing. Continue reading

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Heritage Open Days in Norfolk

For the past two years Francis Cupiss has been invited to take part in the Norfolk Section of  Heritage Open Days where historical buildings, premises or places of local interest voluntarily open their doors to visitors to see what goes on there during the rest of the year.  We open the company to visitors one Friday and Saturday morning during a week in September.

Bookings are taken by the Heritage Open Day organisers in Norwich and visitors arrive and are welcomed by John and Richard who take them through to our poster room where a display has been set up with photographs and literature from our formation in 1830 until today. The display gives details of our founder, Francis Cupiss, MRCVS a vet who decided to buy a printing press to print literature for his range of Horse Medicines. Richard or John will give a talk relating to this time moving onto the present day. Continue reading

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How letterpress printing has changed

When I started my apprenticeship in 1971 at City College Print Department, George Street, Norwich adjoining the Art School, letterpress printing was on the wain.

The curriculum for printing apprentices was wide and varied. I studied alongside apprentices from well known local large printing companies including Jarrolds, Clays, Cox and Wyman and Mansfields. Many of these companies had offset litho well established as the major part of their printing process. Film typesetting was also en-vogue. To me, from a small letterpress company in Diss, this was a different world.

Having started my career as a Saturday boy  working for my uncle and grandfather, I learnt the basics of letterpress printing and case layout by being given the job of cleaning and distributing poster type as the typefaces were larger and easier to see and handle.  By 1971 the company had purchased a Linotype hot metal machine for casting lines of 8pt text for fixture cards and draw tickets, greatly reducing the time spent standing in front of a typecase.

Continue reading