My name is Holly Kincaid, and I'm a small business owner, graphic designer and press woman. Kincaid Creative is my design studio + letterpress nestled in Bend, Oregon. I was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, where I took every opportunity to take an art class and build on my creative skills. I eventually went to art school to pursue my passion for the arts at the Pacific Northwest College of Art, earning a BFA in Graphic Design. I'm a lover of art history and design, so naturally I wanted to expand my design perspective and learn things first hand. I took a year abroad during college at Parsons Paris School of Design in Paris, France.
After college I worked with several advertising agencies where I have built my experience and knowledge in design, marketing, and business. I've been privileged to work with many well known clients and have built a book of work I am proud of.
With 20+ years of design experience, and three small children, I decided to move into full-time freelance graphic design so I could work from home. I felt the calling to offer a more niched down design service than the blanketed service of graphic design. I feel like the art of design and print is easily looked over by the modern digital age, and I wanted highlight the beauty and influence of luxury print. I believe in first impressions, but more importantly, lasting impressions. In a world where we are so connected, we are relating less and less. Connecting with one another, and with your community of clientele, is more important than ever before. So I took my business to the next level, and purchased a couple of vintage platen presses — a Chandler & Price hand-fed letterpress from 1914 and a Heidelberg Windmill.
Now, my design studio can share my love for designer and luxury paper goods with you. Whether you are a small business or a retail shopper, there is something for everyone to truly relate to each other and your clientele. I believe that long-lasting personal and client relationships are truly priceless.
Thank you for supporting my small business, and for shopping small! I look forward to connecting with you.
What is Letterpress?
Letterpress is the oldest printing method known to man, the first documented printing of books dates back to sometime between 618 and 907 AD in China. Wood block printing was the primary method for book printing. A page would be carefully carved out of the wood block, leaving behind only the relief of letters (I cannot imagine having to be that intricate and precise) and then the page would be inked and pressed onto the paper. It was very tedious and left very little room for error. It wasn’t until around the 15th century, that Johann Gutenberg began to carve out individual letters that could be assembled for the use of printing (and the re-used!) marking the beginning of moveable wood type. While his method revolutionized printing, he found that the wood letters would break down and legibility was an issue, so he began working with metal – genius.
The first letterpress machine, invented by Gutenberg, was called a “screw press” or a handpress. With the use of his movable metal type and his new handpress, he was able to print up to 6 pages per day. I can’t imagine that pace, but it was a huge deal at the time. He wanted to bring books to the common people of the world, his most notable job was the Bible. The handpress was used for 350 years without any changes to the design.
Typographers began to design legible and distinct typefaces to be used for important documents. You might recognize some of their names from your font drop-down menus, William Caslon (gunsmith and typeface designer), John Baskerville (typeface designer who also pioneered the ability to space lines of type – called leading), Claude Garamond, Firmin Didot, and Giambattista Bodoni, to name a few.
Over the next few centuries, letterpress became mainstream and improvements to the letterpress were rampant to achieve better quality and production speeds. But with the rise of computers and lithography printers in the late 1960’s and 70’s, came the downfall of the letterpress … sigh.
A Letterpress Revival
It wasn’t until the 90’s, when Martha Stewart featured letterpress for wedding invitations, which sparked a new interest for this ancient printing method – Thank you Martha! Originally, letterpress operators would aim for a “kiss” impression, too light of an impression didn’t leave enough ink, too much of a punch would wear down or sometimes crush the type. However, modern letterpress has combined new technology with the ancient art of letterpress. While many letterpress shops still use original wood and metal type, the use of photopolymer printing plates allows for that coveted deep tactile punch of an impression without ruining the printing plates — and when they eventually wear out, they are easily replaced. This new platemaking technology also gives graphic designers the freedom to design to their heart’s content (yay) without being limited by drawers of type or having production delayed due to the tedious task of assembling a page of type.
Today, letterpress is commonly used for high-impact printed materials such as wedding invitation suites, announcements, corporate holiday cards, greeting cards, business cards, promotional pieces, coasters, menus, stationery and more. Its technology achieves a beautiful and luxurious texture and quality that cannot be achieved through modern printing technology — and so it lives on.