Review: Double Dagger
A celebration of letterpress printing in the digital age, the first edition of Double Dagger is a 12 page broadsheet newspaper edited, published and produced by The Double Daggers, also known as Nick Loaring of the ‘Print Project’ and Pat Randle of ‘Nomad Letterpress’.
‘Double Dagger‘ feels truly special. Critical, poetic, and striking, it’s a publication of real substance, celebrating a craft that relies upon love and a meticulous attention to detail.
Double Dagger is printed on a Heidelberg SBB Cylinder press; a machine of a bygone printing age that snarls in the face of comparable digital printing processes, as it labours, churns and growls over every page it creates.This form of printing has become something of a dying art, though one that is thankfully experiencing something of a revival because of a new wave of designers who understand the artistry involved in crafting and setting up every aspect of each and every page.
Printing commercially by letterpress has been financially unviable since the 1980’s and the onset of desktop publishing…until recently when it has been revived by young designers wanting to use it creatively as an antidote for the apple mac.
One thing that all contributors share within the pages of Double Dagger is a deep personal appreciation for the craft of traditional printing methods, though particularly charming is Graham Moss’ article ‘Street Literature’, a charismatic insight into 19th century printing of leaflets; and graphic designer and letterpress printmaker Dafi Kuehne’s article about his use of old and new printing technologies. The centrefold is reserved for a memento that you’ll likely want to frame and give pride of place; a stunning, bold design by one of the founding Daggers, Nick Loaring.
Printmaking is definitely a labour of love…the process is intimate, unglamorous, its frustrating and occasionally monotonous.
Beyond the content of its pages the experience of Double Dagger is fundamentally a sensory one, with the scent of the ink emanating from its thick pages. Whether you’re a collector of print, or hobbyist with an interest in letterpress, this is a valuable addition to your bookshelf.
Double Dagger is printed in an edition of 1,500 copies, and is available from www.doubledagger.co and costs £10.