TY1PRI-Printing and printmaking

Module Provider: Typography
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Dr Rob Banham

Email: r.e.banham@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

The invention of printing, and the resulting spread of knowledge, played a crucial part in the development of modern society. This module will provide students with a broad overview of advances in printing and printmaking over the past 500 years. We will study how technological advances and the changing needs of readers affected the production, distribution, and reception of printed documents of all kinds. Students will also gain practical experience of printing, including letterpress, copper-engraving, and stone lithography, and will have opportunities to handle books, prints, and artefacts produced by some of the great printers and printmakers of the past.


This module aims to give students an understanding of the three main branches of printing and printmaking (relief, intaglio, and planographic) and the limitations and opportunities afforded by different historical printing processes. This will be informed by hands-on experience in workshops as well as lectures and seminars. Students will learn about key technological developments in printing and some of the innovators and pioneers who made or exploited them, and explore their impact on print culture.

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of the module students should be able to:

  • Outline the main developments in various aspects of printing history and discuss their influence on various kinds of printed document

  • Recognise the main innovators and assess their contributions

  • Discuss developments in printing in a broader historical context

  • Demonstrate practical knowledge of letterpress printing

Additional outcomes:

Students will develop basic academic skills such as note taking; critical discussion of readings; and essay writing. They will also become familiar with handling rare materials from collections and archives.

Outline content:

The module focuses on developments in printing, from the introduction of printing with moveable type to Europe, to the end of the 20th century. It will also cover the contributions of key innovators and pioneers. The course will include topics such as:

  • Gutenberg and handmade type

  • Manuscript and print

  • Engraving and etching

  • Lithography

  • Printing in colour

  • Hot metal and phototypesetting

  • Moxon and print in the Enlightenment

  • Christopher Plantin and Robert Estienne

  • Baskerville and Bodoni

  • Private presses and modernist publishing

Global context:

Students will examine the work of artists, printers, and craftsmen from a number of different countries. They will consider the influence of printing in other cultures on European developments, as well as the global impact of the ‘invention’ of printing by Gutenberg, its industrialization in the 19th century, and democratization in the 20th century.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Teaching will be by weekly lectures plus five letterpress printing workshops and four two-hour seminars, for which students are expected to do preparatory reading.

Students will either have 13 hours of workshops in autumn and 3 in spring, or 3 in autumn and 13 in spring.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 10 10
Seminars 6 6
Practicals classes and workshops 13 3
Guided independent study 61 91
Total hours by term 90.00 110.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 50
Portfolio 30
Project output other than dissertation 20

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Coursework will typically consist of the following: a working journal reflecting on the their learning (30%); a written essay of 2000-2500 words (50%); a supervised practical printing project (20%). A Department specific (University approved) form of step-marking is employed for all coursework submissions.

Formative assessment methods:

Students will receive formative feedback on their printing project during workshops and will also receive formative feedback on their journal during the course of the module.

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Assessment requirements for a pass:

    A mark of 40% overall

    Reassessment arrangements:

    Resubmission of failed coursework

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

    Required textbooks

    Last updated: 20 April 2018


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