Perhaps the most beautiful Kickstarter project I have ever seen (sorry Detroit RoboCop statue) LetterMPress is a virtual letterpress app for the iPad, created by designer and typographer John Bonadies. Already in prototype, Bonadies is seeking $15,000 in crowd-sourced funding to release the world’s first tablet letterpress envirnoment, aiming for the end of the summer.
LetterMPress allows you to arrange type on the iPad much like an original letterpress, using the touch screen to arrange, lock and ink type on the “press bed,” er iPad screen. The app uses virtual cut and ink graphics, copied from actual vintage press sets. And while you can print out your creations using AirPrint or by uploading the files to your computer, part of Bonadies’ plan is to buy actual vintage sets and offer authentic letterpress prints from the designs submitted by LetterMPress users.
So why put all this effort into virtually recreating something as obsolete as letterpress printing, other than because you love it?
“Actually, a letterpress and an iPad operate similarly when it comes to manipulating objects in a composition. Just like placing blocks of wood type on a surface, you drag the type images across the iPad, and then move them around to create your design. This is why the iPad would make an ideal platform for people to experience the creative aspects of letterpress and typography.”
When I reviewed the original iPad last year, I wrote that one of its greatest flaws is that it “paralyzes its user from engaging with the Net as a content creator.” And while a year later, on the eve of another iPad launch, we’ve got a ton of light photo-editing apps like PhotoShop Express, there’s as of yet no tool that a creative professional would prefer to use on an iPad than on a Mac.
LetterMPress could be the first of these sort of apps, that take advantage of the touch tablet interface’s inherent potential for artistry and creative work. I mean imagine a hardcore Photoshop designed for touch. As I’m hearing that tomorrow’s iPad launch will increasingly focus on the iPad as a tool for creation not consumption, perhaps Steve Jobs and Bonadies are on the same page, a digital one.
Watch LetterMPress in action, below.