A unique creative resource for the college and the community, Archetype Press is Art Center’s letterpress printing facility. Archetype Press was created in 1989 by former director Vance Studley with support from David Brown, President of Art Center from 1985 to 1999. Archetype offers students an opportunity to learn and practice what has become a rarity: setting type and printing by hand.
Archetype’s collection of rare American and European metal foundry type, wood type and ornaments—originally belonging to Vern Simpson’s legendary typesetting shop in Hollywood—is the largest in California, and one of the largest of any design school in the country. The extensive metal and wood type collection resides in 2,500 antique wooden drawers. Students learn to set and print type on an impressive set of printing presses: nine Vandercook proof presses, a Chandler & Price platen press, and a Heidelberg Windmill press.
Under the leadership of current Director, Prof. Gloria Kondrup, Archetype Press was recently relocated to Art Center’s new South Campus to provide a more flexible space to accommodate the type collection, presses, and works in progress, enabling students to learn about and actively participate in the cultural history and heritage of typography, print culture and the book arts.