Printing digital type on the hand-operated flatbed cylinder press

PDT4 — Printing digital type (fourth edition, 2009)

First published in 1998, Printing digital type on the hand-operated flatbed cylinder press was written by Gerald Lange and provided a wealth of detailed information on letterpress printing of photopolymer plates with proof presses such as the Vandercook. Published in several editions by The Bieler Press, it is still considered the definitive manual on the process. A fifth edition is recently available from Chatwin Books, Seattle.

Subjects covered in previous versions were digital type and letterpress configuration (including font modification sequences for FontLab Studio and Fontographer); film negatives and imaging; photopolymer plates, flatbases, and platemaking equipment; the photopolymer platemaking process—preparation, exposure, washout, drying, curing; base lockup and press preparation; plate registration and travel; flatbed cylinder press presswork: impression, cylinder packing and makeready, rollers and inking; with additional notes on prepress cautions and considerations, press operation and maintenance, ink and paper, photopolymer plates and letterpress printing, and storage and care of photopolymer plates.

Selected Reviews (first four editions):

Printing digital type on the hand-operated flatbed cylinder press could not come out at a more appropriate time. . . . With his years of experience in type, printing and fine press publishing, Mr Lange brings both respect and credibility to the subject of digital type and fine press printing. —Wilber H. Schilling, Parenthesis: The Journal of the Fine Press Book Association

A masterpiece of concision. . . [Printing digital type on the hand-operated flatbed cylinder press] is well worth reading, not just for what it is, a technical guide to the process, but also as a masterpiece of the equally difficult art of describing a technical process in a few clear words. —Nicolas Barker, The Book Collector

Lange’s understanding of the way type design and printing processes are related is impressive, as is the [monograph’s] breadth of reference. —Andy Crewdson, Lines and splines

Gerald Lange is considered by many to be the leading teacher of letterpress printing in America. In this book he brings to digital type the old-world traditions of letterpress printing. —Phil Bevis, Arundel Antiquarian Books

If you care about the quality of your polymer plates, Gerald Lange’s classic book [Printing digital type on the hand-operated flatbed cylinder press] is mandatory reading. This is the book about polymer plates for letterpress. —Harold Kyle, Boxcar Press

This is one of the few letterpress manuals currently in print, and the only one specifically addressing both Vandercook proof presses (the gold standard for current fine letterpress printers) and photopolymer plates. This book is the authority on the technologies of “modern” limited edition letterpress printing. —David S. Rose, “Introduction to Letterpress Printing in the 21st Century.”

A short, self-published, but extremely thorough monograph on letterpress printing using photopolymer plates on, basically, Vandercook printing presses. Lange covers all one would want to know about this radical “new” process, as well as giving some pointers on adjusting computer typefaces for optimal letterpress printing. —Katherine Bridges, A. Edward Newton Student Book Collection Competition winner, 2005

The leading spokesman for this process is the California printer and typographer Gerald Lange. His seminal Printing digital type on the hand-operated flatbed cylinder press offers the benefit of his extensive interrogation of the process. —Steve Rigley, Eye: The International Review of Graphic Design

This book is “must read” if you are printing with photopolymer or have any interest in making polymer plates yourself. Gerald Lange is a pioneer in photopolymer use for letterpress and has a wealth of knowledge on the subject. —Bradley Foster, Elūm Designs 

Printing digital type on the hand-operated flatbed cylinder press. . . is well written and informative. I particularly appreciate that you give clear explanations for why what you present works—the meta level that gets us beyond dogma and facilitates independent thinking. —Jonathan Antonio Edelman, Product Realization Lab, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Stanford University

The title says it all. THE book on the finer points of using photo-polymer plates in the printing process. Gerald Lange is a charismatic and learned teacher and one of the country’s finest letterpress practitioners. Gerald is also a very capable and gifted writer who has a rare gift of making technical processes understandable.  —D B Brewster, LibraryThing

A few copies of each edition of publisher’s archival copies are still available from The Bieler Press. These are “as new” collectors’ copies. Contact:

1st edition, first printing, 1998. $74.95
1st edition, second printing (with revisions), 1999. $74.95
2nd edition, 2001. $79.95
3rd edition, 2004. $79.95
4th edition, 2009. $89.95