lpw portrait

Chris Wilson

BlackDog Letterpress

Communicate ideas, start conversations and stimulate debate

How long have you been printing?


Describe your first encounter with letterpress

I first encountered letterpress printing during my undergraduate degree at Northumbria University in Newcastle upon Tyne. I was shown the basics in setting type and how to operate a press. I found the physicality of the process fascinating.

Where did you learn?

Leeds, Newcastle upon Tyne and Amsterdam.

Who was your most influential teacher?

Thomas Gravemaker introduced me to the world of European letterpress and Druckkunst. It was during a workshop with him that I decided to submerge myself in letterpress, as a researcher, educator and practitioner.

What super power would you like to have?

Teleportation, allowing me to travel the world and visit more printers.

Do you prefer to work alone or with others?

I like to collaborate with others and work individually, but towards a shared goal.

What do you most value in your friends?

Perspective, support, encouragement and humour.

When do your best ideas occur to you?

In the bath with a bottle of wine.

If you were to die and come back as a typeface, which would it be?

Univers 59 Ultra Condensed, because it is simple but does a lot in a small space.

What tool do you use more often than any other?


What books are currently on your nightstand?

A Fortunate Man, John Berger
How to Live: A Life of Montaigne, Sarah Bakewell.

If you could study with any printer throughout history, who would it be?

Benjamin Franklin. He lived in an amazing time and I would have loved to have been involved with pamphleteering and to document the political aspirations of the newly emerging nations in the Americas.

If you have your own shop, what equipment do you own?

A modern A2 galley press and 30 odd cases of type. I also have a cropper press and an Eickhoff 2BS, both waiting to be refurbished.

If you could change one thing about your shop, what would it be?

More space and a glamorous assistant!

When and where are you the happiest?

Fly fishing on a river in Northumberland.

What is your greatest fear/worry?

That youth and enthusiasm is always overcome by old age and cunning.

What do you think is useful about what you make?

It can communicate ideas, start conversations and stimulate debate.

What’s your day job?

I teach Graphic Design and undertake research at Northumbria University.

Do you use any other techniques or media besides letterpress?

Occasionally I use other forms of relief printing and some intaglio.