GFDA Coasters with The Cranky Pressman

Good Fucking Design Advice

Filed Under: Article Collaboration

Fifty miles from the doorstep of GFDA lies a time capsule. Past the endless open fields of farms, and the quiet murmur of small town life lies a place where the pungent scent of rubber-based ink, mineral spirits, and machine oil linger in the air.

The place is the home of The Cranky Pressman, a commercial letterpress company located in the town of Salem, Ohio. Here, under a thick blanket of blues music, man and machine couple together to craft some of the most remarkable letterpress printing around.

We recently collaborated with the big cheese of Cranky, Keith Berger, to develop our new line of letterpressed coasters. Keith was generous enough to invite us over for the better part of a day to talk shop and let us get glimpse of the process of printing our coasters.

So, without a second thought, we set out for a day of dirty fingernails, black coffee and great conversation.

The thing about letterpress printing that I’ve always admired is the amount of patience and planning that is required. There is no instant gratification—the only way to enjoy the fruits of your labor is to do a lot of painstaking work up front. And, the better your initial preparations, the easier the entire process becomes.

Of course, like any craft, you have to put your time in. It certainly doesn’t happen over night, but after watching the efficiency of Keith’s shop it made me pause and consider what areas in life and business could benefit from a similar approach.