Back in the summer of 2009, Portland, Oregon-based designer and creative director Ian Coyle decided that he would print a daily thought for 73 days straight. Using his 1950's letterpress, he printed and inked by hand these messages that seem to take on new meaning as we begin this new year.
“Some were random, some pertinent, it was a great way to end each day,” he says of the project he calls 73 Letterpress. Out of all of them, here were some of our favorites. May they encourage you today and always.
Update: We got in touch with Ian to ask him a few questions about this project. Read that brief interview, below.
Q: What made you want to start this project? Was it a personal one?
A: It was a personal project I started while running a small letterpress and design studio in the Midwest. I love typography and things that celebrate beauty in the everyday, and this project is series of memories and moments from a great summer.
Q: Was it hard coming up with ideas each day?
A: Initially it was tough. At first, it was hard to decide one statement that encapsulated a particular day! But around two weeks in I realized it was more about reflecting on small moments, not the whole day. It then became easier (and a lot more fun). I typically would wait till the end of the day, but there were a few times where something felt right and I letterpressed immediately.
Q: What is it about letterpress that intrigues you?
A: For me, letterpress is a romantic medium that is rich in history, craft, and typography – all things I cherish. I also enjoyed the mistakes that come with a project like this. I created a few rules for myself and one was to always keep the mistakes. If you look closely, you'll see a few!
Q: Which message seemed to resonate most with viewers?
A: There were a few that seemed to resonate the most – “The Future is Exciting”, “Eat Well. Travel Often.”, and “Work Hard Stay Humble.”
When I was printing them, I displayed them all on a 25 foot tall wall behind the press and people would stop in as one or two caught their eye. Seeing the prints that intrigued people definitely added to the fun of the project.
Q: What kind of advice could you give others about starting a similar project?
A: It may seem easy to say, but just get started. After that, set rules for yourself and expectations for your friends or family – particularly if the rules interfere with your normal routine! You'll find your friends keep you honest and help motivate you. Additionally, think in moments, don't try to over-plan. Sometimes the best way to find something is to get lost for a bit and figure out what works.
Q: What can we expect next from you?
A: I have a few new projects in the works that I'm excited about. I recently launched another personal project, a film and photography publication, Edits. The first issue is out now and the second launches in February. I also have an affinity for vintage motorcycles and I've recently bought a project bike to learn how to restore! You can take a look at Edits now at EditsQuarterly.com and check back in next summer to see how my own version of Zen and The Art Motorcycle maintenance is going!