On 6 April the new RUFA Talk was held: “Back to the future. The uniqueness of Letterpress in contemporary design” by lecturer Mario Rullo and starring Andrea Vendetti, founder of the Slab movable type printing workshop.
In the context of the technological revolution that hit the printing sector at the end of the last century, many tools considered obsolete were discarded. In the last decade, some private organisations have been saving these materials, realising their historical and cultural value and expressive potential. These organisations tend to enhance their importance through a competent and conscious use, as opposed to a classic museum approach that would deny their nature as working tools. Indeed, letterpress printing is not only the starting point of the history of visual communication, and its tools are a primary source for any research in the field, but also allows us to reinterpret forms and models in order to design an innovative contemporary visual communication, diametrically opposed to the virtual model that prevails today.
The Talk was organised in two parts: the first summarised the reasons for the return to movable type printing. After an initial historical examination, the peculiarities of this design were analysed: the use of historical signs in contemporary graphics, attention to process and craftsmanship in the graphic arts, the concept of uniqueness in the series, the rediscovery of certain characters belonging to the history of Italian typography, the importance of letterpress for educational purposes. The second part focused on the story of Slab’s experience. Some visual artefacts and their underlying technical and design processes were shown, some of the results of the research being carried out were exhibited, images of some unique pieces present in Slab’s workshop were shown and, finally, we discussed together what it means to narrate cultural production today and build a specific path within the world of work.
The meeting was held online on Wednesday 6 April from 10.00 to 13.00 in the Aula Magna at the RUFA headquarters in via Taro 14, Rome. Addressed to all students and particularly recommended for students of Graphic Design, Visual and Innovation Design, Painting and Fine Arts.
After graduating from the Sapienza University in Rome with a thesis on the clandestine printing houses of the Italian Resistance, and after a study period at ENSAD in Paris, he graduated in Communication, Design and Publishing at ISIA Urbino with a thesis on the historiography of graphic design. He is in his third year of a PhD in Design at La Sapienza University of Rome, works as a graphic designer with archives and associations and is the founder of Slab, a movable type printing house in Rome.