Moveable Type Truck Workshop

On February 5, 2012, the Moveable Type Truck, a 1982 Chevy step van converted into a fully functional traveling letterpress print shop, landed in Jax. Kyle Durrie is a letterpress printer from Portland, Oregon, and proprietor of Power and Light Press. Sometime in 2010 she decided she wanted to take her show on the road. In November 2010 she began raising money for her Type Truck, and by June 2011 she was traveling the country doing demos, teaching workshops and offering hands-on experiences printing a variety of ink on paper projects the old-fashioned way from right inside her Type Truck.

Jessi Bruton, AIGA Jacksonville programing co-director, heard about the Moveable Type Truck while on a call with fellow programming directors from AIGA chapters around the country. A few other chapters had The Type Truck stop in their neighborhoods to run a workshop for their members and each had an awesome experience. Jessi, who has a passion for design, typography and print design, loved the idea and wanted to bring the Type Truck to AIGA Jax! She contacted Kyle and set a date for the Type Truck to make a stop to teach our AIGA Jax members a thing or two about this letterpress printing stuff. Earlier this month the Type Truck setup shop in the Burrito Gallery parking lot and AIGA Jax members stepped up to participate in a hands-on interactive workshop that focused on the beauty and art of letterpress printing.

For part one of our workshop, we printed a poster that had been preset with a design for the workshop. Jessi, Jim Ward (AIGA Jax’s other programing co-director) and Kyle concepted and set up the design for the group. The cute designer cherub for the poster was created by Jim and pre-printed digitally on nice 80# ivory uncoated stock (I’m guestimating on the paper). The type was pre-set for us by Kyle, our letterpress maven for the day. Everyone in attendance had an opportunity to cover the basics of setting type, composing a form, setting up on-press, inking the preset design, and printing their own posters to take home.

My Type Truck poster

Lisa Sopranzi, one of the volunteers for the event and one of my awesome students at Keiser, shows off her poster.

Four of my students from Keiser University were chosen to be volunteers.

The second part was for those of us who paid a little extra to create our own custom-designed posters. We divided into groups of three to four. Russel Quadros, Jim Ward and Jessi Bruton were in my group. All of us are experienced professionals, are very active in AIGA and have been friends for quite sometime now. For me, being a college instructor currently working heavily with new designers, it was great to work with friends and peers on a fun project like this. We wordsmithed our posters, played with type from Kyle’s collection and experimented with the layout until everyone in our group reached an agreement. From there, we set up the press, dropped leading, magnets and spacers in to keep everything lined up nice and snug, chose our colors and got to printing. It was awesome!

My turn!

My group’s final poster, “Wood You Be My Type? Check Yes or No.”

Siblings Armando and Argie Mitra and their group’s poster, “Field Guide.”

Katie Riffle modeling her group’s poster, “Betches.”

Heather, Andrew, T. Money and G. Money’s self-titled poster.

Kyle also had a trick up her sleeve. She surprised us with an extra special treat for the full workshop folks—AIGA Jax coasters! She had set up an additional letterpress, an 1873 Golding Official No. 3 tabletop platen press, with AIGA Jax type preset on it to run our custom coasters. Awesome! It’s a self-inking press that has different mechanics than the sign press, but produces a similar result. Check out the pictures below, they tell the story best.

An 1873 Golding Official No. 3 tabletop platen press

I am über passionate about design, typography, printing and learning how to do things hands-on, so for me, this event rocked my socks off. It was freaking awesome! What a cool concept the Moveable Type Truck is … wow! I was very impressed with the entire experience, and Kyle is great. I highly recommend her and her Moveable Type Truck to everyone—designer or not! It was a great time and a truly memorable experience.

View more pictures of the event on my Flickr page. Click here for more details about the event. To learn more about the Moveable Type Truck, visit

~ Amber-Lynn Gusa, designer, creator and author of Designerd

By aigajacksonville
Published February 28, 2012