Word and Image

The printing press was first introduced in the 15th century, by Johannes Gutenberg. He was a German goldsmith, publisher and printing man, who had invented a technology that changed the printing technique around the world.

The printing press was invented with replaceable and/or metal or wooden letters in 1436, and completed in 1440. The first printing press was then completed by Gutenberg between 1450 and 1455, titled Gutenberg Bible.


First page of the first volume


A vellum copy of the Gutenberg Bible owned by the U.S. Library of Congress

This typographic work created by Gutenberg allowed people to read the bible out by themselves, instead of listening to what’s been told by the church. People were able to formulate their own ideas, which then slowly lead to individualism in the society. A great significant of impact has influenced the society by Gutenberg’s invention, in the book The Printing Revolution in Early Modern Europe by Elizabeth L. Eisenstein, she stated: “… the spread of habits of silent scanning invariably diminished source to the spoken words”.

Since the completion of the bible, letterpress has always stood a vital influence in the field of typography, and even brought revolutionary movements that encouraged people to form their independent thoughts. This technique has been passed down till modern era, and still stands an irreplaceable technique that’s widely adapted by typographers and designers. As a graphic and media student in LCC, letterpress has always been my favourite workshop to visit, it potentially creates much more possibilities than processing the same ideas in computer programs. In letterpress, I’m able to adjust spacings with picas of my preference, and manually create textures on each of the letters. By combining letterpress with modern techniques, making texts in colours that can’t be brought out digitally is something that definitely benefits me from making use of this traditional way of printing in a modern form.


Bellis, M. (n.d.) Your Quick Overview of Johannes Gutenberg and His Revolutionary Printing Press, About.com Money. Available at: http://inventors.about.com/od/gstartinventors/a/Gutenberg.htm (Accessed: 28 November 2016).

Eisenstein, E. (1983) The printing revolution in early modern Europe. 1st ed. Cambridge [Cambridgeshire]: Cambridge University Press.

Gutenberg Bible History (n.d.) Gutenberg-bible.com. Available at: http://www.gutenberg-bible.com/history.html (Accessed: 28 November 2016).

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