Impression: Dafi Kühne

The second designer we were given to look at was Dafi Kühne. We were given him to look at as we are also looking at letterpress over the next two weeks and his work beautifully combines analog and digital techniques.

When I began looking into Dafi Kühne, I realised I had come across his typography on a number of occasions while scrolling through Pinterest! I had seen pieces such as the one below but had no idea that they had been created using letterpress.

1-nachtschicht
Nachtschicht |

Kühne is a graphic designer and letterpress printmaker from Switzerland and since 2009 he’s been working in his studio ‘babyinktwice’ designing and printing posters, invitation cards, brochures and magazines for music, art, architecture, theatre and film projects. Then in 2011 he also started teaching everything from short workshops to full semesters in various universities in Europe and the  US. Check out the video below to take a look into one of his summer workshops (which I really wish I could attend now I’ve seen it).

Kühne learned traditional letterpress printing through an internship at Hatch Show Print, in Nashville, and typography has remained at the heart of his work. “I work mostly with type and simple graphic elements. I like how you can transport a mood with the style, layout, and appearance of type,” he says.

He pairs contemporary devices—a MacBook, a laser cutter—with old-school design and production tools, such as a waxing machine, a letterpress, and a photopolymer processor. Kühne is interested in technology like precision routers and laser cutters, which he says has never been fully explored for letterpress printing.

I’ve included another video because I find the process extremely interesting. It’s different for one, as the letterpresses are different to the ones that we have at uni but I’m just so fascinated with how he creates new letters from plyboard and plastic molds. When I’ve been in the letterpress room with Kim she has suggested using foamboard to quickly create letters but I didn’t think methods like this could look so good. It just shows while letterpress has been around for hundreds of years there are always new ways to play around with the method.

For more about Dafi, check out his website here.

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