Greeting card publisher Archivist Gallery is set to make an even bigger impression in the letterpress world, having acquired Logan Print, the letterpress printing facility, with whom it has worked very closely with for many years.
The team at Logan has been running the print side of the Archivist business since 2012, the print quality earning the publisher the respect it duly deserves. When Patrick Roe, the owner of Logan Print revealed that he wanted to concentrate on his first passion, which is book binding and enquired as to whether William and Sarah Allardice (owners of Archivist) would like to ‘buy’ Logan Press.
As William said “while Sarah and I never had it in our life plan to become owners of a printing business, Logan in all but name had become part of the Archivist family so we had little hesitation in wanting to pick up the challenge.”
As a result of the change of ownership, William explains that “many tons of vintage machinery have moved three miles to new premises. Four platens, one cylinder and one giant proofing press now sit proudly in the new workshop in Wellingborough.”
The location was determined by the need to retain the existing highly skilled workforce.
“I am glad to say that everyone has come with us! This is so important as a letterpress shop is totally dependent upon the skillset of the printers,” explained William.
Sarah Cutler has also returned to the fold to run this side of the business. “Her meticulous planning and a scarcely credible calmness under pressure means that the newly named Archivist Press runs without any interference from Archivist HQ. Sarah is also kind enough to laugh occasionally at my questionable jokes,” quips William.
So what for the future at Archivist Press?
“The pandemic certainly does no favours to anyone writing a business plan however our ambition remains to bring letterpress to as wide an audience as possible. We intend to achieve this by further opening the doors of the business to other publishers who want a reliable letterpress printing resource. A number of publishers already use the presses and it is very exciting as a couple of these are riding the crest of a wave.
We are also constantly in touch with retailers who are looking to develop their own range of letterpress product. In the past there perhaps wasn’t the energy to fully explore this opportunity but Sarah is particularly keen to work on such joint publishing ventures. She feels strongly that letterpress cannot purely rest on the laurels of its innate craftmanship but needs constant contemporary design input to make it relevant to the consumer.
Another dream of everyone at the Press is to set up and develop a proper apprenticeship programme to safeguard the future of the craft and expertise. This has been unfortunately put on the back burner for six months until the economic outlook is more secure.”
How will owning the press impact Archivist as a publisher?
“On the one hand I don’t think it will at all, as the businesses are totally separate but then on the other, my love of printing has been reawakened with the arrival of the proofing press and we are really excited about Archivist offering some really eye-catching giant prints to our gallery owning customers.
This will all be part of the luxury of actually owning the press, allowing us greater time to experiment with ideas without a commercial clock ticking…this has already born fruit with successfully developing a fabulously tactile matt gold finish on one of the prints.”
What is Archivist looking forward to in the second half of 2020?
“Well the most important thing will be to hear the news from our customers that they have managed to survive the enormous financial and mental strains of the pandemic.
For our part we have been busy as publishers with new collaborations with two exciting stateside artists; Darren Macgee and Saint No. In their very different ways they both present a fabulously optimistic and liberal vision of the world. Something good must come out of covid and both these artists offer hope.
Our short film of Life at Archivist Press (available on our website www.archivistgallery.com) also points to the importance of ’fun and laughter’ in the workplace. This has never been more true and I hope that by the end of the year we can claim that we have added a little mirth to our fabulous industry.”
Top: In acquiring what was Logan, Archivist is helping to keep alive the craft of letterpress printing.