The Common Press

The Common Press is the letterpress printing studio at the University of Pennsylvania. It is supported by a collaboration of interests at Penn, including writing (15th Room Press, Kelly Writers House), print culture (the Rare Book & Manuscript Library), and visual arts and design (the School of Design). The Common Press was founded on January 17, 2006, the 300th anniversary of Benjamin Franklin's birth. The Common Press provides a mixed media environment to support the teaching of design and fine arts to students, to encourage collaboration on projects across the university, and to expose students to contemporary print culture

Thursday, November 15, 2012



Chymia, a collaborative Common Book designed and printed by Marc Blumthal, Marianne Dages, Matt Neff, Ivanco Talevski, and Tricia Treacy at The Common Press in 2012. A limited set of letterpress prints using original blocks from the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library’s Edgar Fahs Smith Memorial Collection accompanies each edition.

Please contact Matthew Neff, if you are interested in purchasing this edition.

letterpress portfolio of original blocks from the collection

 Tricia Treacy, letterpress

 Marc Blumthal, silkscreen

 Matt Neff, silkscreen

 Marianne Dages, letterpress

Ivanco Talevski, etching

Friday, August 24, 2012

Hi! We're Back!

:: poster by Marianne Dages ::

Hi there, we're back after a long hiatus and happy to see you again. Hope you are too. There's so much to tell you, so check back again soon. Thanks!

Monday, March 29, 2010


Last week was a gathering of print people in philly's favorite print places in honor of SGC2010.
Greg Pizzoli, from UArts, and Matt Neff, master of The Common Press, put on the Democratic Down N’ Dirty DIY Screen printing BYO-Tshirt event.

On Saturday afternoon, to close the conference, we turned our presses onto print mode and burned a few screens for an
Open House! With both Vandercooks running, and four screen-printing stations we made posters (pic below) for you to take home!


1. THE POMP, at
Originally trained as a fine artist and tall-walker in West Philadelphia, Avery Lawrence, the proprietor, has relocated his experimental-production workshop to a used bookstore in Charlottesville, VA.
The Pomp offers an array of design services, in particular screen-printed rolls of paper towels and high quality t-shirts -- the shirts last longer.

A printmaking residency in Toronto, Ontario. The space looks beautiful..... lots of windows and light and kind faces.

Printmaking residency in Argentina! Check it out!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


In light of our recent acquisitions, see images below of both the extremely large quantity of large wood type and wood block patterning (made from old furniture from India) and the engravings of silver pots, cups, teapots, and other such silver things, see this link and you will want to pee yourself.

Heres some information and here's some more if I spark your interest: link. First you should know that the majority of wood type was made by the J. E. Hamilton Type Company. Wood Type became popular in America during the Civil War, when the lead was needed for gunning people down, then Hamilton came into the picture and revamped things a bit. He originally worked in a chair factory. Then he thought: why am I making all these chairs, people are going to get bored of sitting, gotta give 'em something to do while sitting, let's bring reading to the table!!!. Then you know what he did, he switched things up a bit, changed the way woodtype was made. Instead of using Maple, he made the letters of the more cost efficient Hollywood, like a true celebrity, which he then glued to Pine to make them type high.


On First Friday, March 5, from 6 to 8 p.m., the Wharton Esherick Museum will be having an opening: "Wharton Esherick -- Rustic Modernist." This is an exhibition of Esherick woodcut prints, printed by the Common Press. The opening is located with a car at the Phoenix Village Art Center, 207-209 Bridge Street in Phoenixville, PA.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

click here for a beautiful Grotesque Alphabet brought to you by BibliOdyssey

Thursday, May 28, 2009

New Asshole Magazine

New Asshole is an academic journal that strives for a critical dialogue surrounding the production of DIY art. It publishes writing concerned with the contextualization, theorization, and documentation of contemporary basement aesthetics. Each issue contains essays concerned with the nature of production, the placement of DIY art in the trajectory of history, the relationship with the institutional art space, and the manner in which art is received by the public. In addition to publications, New Asshole creates events such as lectures and panel discussions to further encourage public discourse.
(text taken from New Asshole website)

you can now purchase a subscription online at