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Established in 1989, Archetype Press at the South Campus is a unique creative resource for students and the community that continues the tradition of letterpress printing technology. Archetype’s collection of rare American and European metal foundry type, wood type and ornaments—originally belonging to Vern Simpson’s legendary typesetting shop in Hollywood—is the largest in California, and one of the largest of any design school in the country. The extensive metal and wood type collection resides in 2,500 antique wooden drawers. Students learn to set and print type on an impressive set of printing presses: nine Vandercook proof presses, a Chandler & Price platen press, and a Heidelberg Windmill press.
The contemporary educational setting at Archetype Press, under the direction of Director Gloria Kondrup, is an experimental typographic workshop in which students study the prototypes of digital letterforms. After learning the rudiments of letterpress, Archetype Press students participate in a collaborative book project. Past publications have addressed the works of traditional and contemporary writers, language and typography, as well as relevant cultural and social issues. To date, Archetype Press has published over 40 collaborative books.