Efficacious New Print Work For Fentimans

To bring another level of authenticity to our Fentimans print work we are hand-printing the type and pictorial elements here at Sell! Towers this year. After a lot of searching, we found ourselves a vintage Farley proofing press, which was perfect for the job. A couple of us were trained (to a basic level) in letterpress at art school and have dabbled a bit since, so we jumped at the chance to relevantly apply it to some of our commercial work.
To start with, we took the design elements of our design – in this case the headline and copy designed in some authentic Victorian and Edwardian typefaces, and a vintage illustration of a rose, and had them made into a block set to the type height of the Farley press.
Ryan setting the block in place on the press – Sell! Towers is on a tiny cobbled street called Printing House Yard, so it felt good to be bringing some actual printing (even if it is just on this very tiny level) back here.
We experimented with different levels of inking, papers and pressure to achieve varied results in terms of sharpness, ink density and texture.
We then took high-res scans of the different prints, with would give us flexibility to use the best or most interesting parts in the final layout.
Here  (above and below) you can see the difference between two of the scanned prints in terms of coverage and texture – obviously one of the beauties of this kind of print process is that no two prints are exactly alike anyway.
Below  you can see the difference between the type set digitally (left) and the printed version (right). Some of the effects of printing you can simulate using photoshop filters and other techniques, but it's impossible to get close to the organic feel of type like this without actually printing it.
The rose illustration came out beautifully...
Then finally, the scanned prints were chopped into separate elements, and the most interesting versions were coloured up and applied to the final layout. And here it is, the first Fentimans print ad of the year – if you'd like to see it in person it'll be in the next issue of Private Eye. (By the way, if you haven't already, you should really try Fentimans Rose Lemonade – it's a wonderful drink.)

You can see more of our Fentimans work here.


  1. I always love the Fentimans ads, but letter-pressing the type has made such a difference - it creates much more depth. In those colours too, it looks really beautiful.

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  3. Nice work. Jealous...