Printing press

Niek Smaal rookie


An interest in printing and art

Wageningen, Netherlands

How long have you been printing?

Since 1979

Describe your first encounter with letterpress

The first time I printed was in 1979, at the Avalonpress by Jan Keyser, a 4 line poem.

Where did you learn?

At my own platen press in 1980 and later on my Eyckhoff proofpress with help from Bram de Does and other people from Johan Enschede from the company in Haarlem.

Who was your most influential teacher?

Bram de Does

What super power would you like to have?

Inspriration and ideas

Do you prefer to work alone or with others?

Together with other printers, to make different work.

What do you most value in your friends?

Sharing the same feelings, and an interest in printing and art.

When do your best ideas occur to you?

In the shower

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


What tool do you use more often than any other?

An “elsje” (awl)

What books are currently on your nightstand?

History books

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

Nicolas Kis

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

Vandercook SP15, Eyckhoff 80, Korrex Stutgart, small platenpress.
Letter: Bembo, Bodoni, Janson, Baskerville, Cheops, Gill sans, wood type from 4 to 132 Cicero and ornaments in lead and wood.

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


When and where are you the happiest?

If a project is finished and it is what I had planned.

What is your greatest fear/worry?


What do you think is useful about what you make?

That other people like it when they receive it.

What’s your day job?

I am a retired bookseller.