Print and Physicality – A Study of Printmaking Processes


  • Ryan Morris, Art, University of Delaware

Faculty Mentor(s)

  • Aaron Terry, Art, University of Delaware


The purpose of this project was to engage the physical processes involved in image production. I was to work with printmaking processes to design and deliver a physical product, and through this seek to gain insight into the specific characteristics and limitations of these methods. This hands-on experience with print processes would be enhanced by my study of Art History – influenced by my understanding of historical images, as the artists of the past all used these same mediums.

To inform my study of the printed, I read works by Freek Lomme, Alessandro Ludovico, and Esther Krop on print, tactility, sense, and the widespread proliferation of digital media. As a deliverable I chose a book, as it is perhaps the most ubiquitous piece of print media, and it presents a clear structure, existing as an ideal framework to work in. For the content of this book, I chose a mixture of photographic imagery and typographic elements – all of which were synthesized by me.

Creating this content allowed me to engage in several physical processes. These include film photography, Screen-printing, and Letterpress printing. It was through engaging with these processes that I learned about the imperfections and nuances that are resultant of their physicality. While these made up a significant portion of my work, the time frame and scale of this project did necessitate the use of certain digital processes, such as photo editing and digital design software.

By working with analog print processes, I was afforded insight into their characteristics, and therefore their limitations. The processes are limited in how faithfully they translate details (as originally designed) into the physical application of ink to paper. Some degree of error must be expected as each process attempts to translate visual information, and so the product is never exactly true to its origin.