Discovering Pergam Press

We followed Fabiano Santos of Pergam Press into his inking abode settled in the breathtaking city of Carapicuiba, Brazil. Opening the doors to his shop for us, Fabiano let us tour his cozy shop as well as exemplifying the care and technique one acquires when a Heidelberg is present.

Fabiano Santos of Pergam Press highlights the important things: Family and Heidelberg presses.

THE PRESSES We have two presses, a Heidelberg Windmill and a Minerva Catu, which is completely manufactured in Brazil. Our first acquisition was Catu, here in Brazil it is called Catuzinha. It belonged to a printer man for many years and when he was retired he kept it in his garage. He was very careful man and the press was kept in a very good way. One day, my wife Cris saw an internet ad about the Heidelberg. It was at a company and was used just to put numbers, even so it had a beautiful story because the press belonged to the owner of the company who left it to his son.

SIZE OF PRINT SHOP Our workplace size is 30 square meters. It is my parents garage and the place was a wallpaper warehouse. We made a big effort to take away all those wallpapers and nowadays we use some to cover the presses or as a carpet.

TYPE OF SHOP Commercial.

LOCATION We are at grande SP outskirts, a city called Carapicuiba, where I have always lived with my parents. It is an ordinary neighborhood, with nice people, good neighbors, like country-side where everybody knows each other. People who live here always ask me about what my business is and they get amazed at how the presses work. Around us there are not so many skyscrapers or many cars. It is a very calm way of life. There is no traffic, just small industries and we can feel the fresh air which is something rare in a big city like SP. Further, we want to contribute to help people who live here, it is a special place to us.

FAVORITE THING ABOUT THE SHOP I like to arrive early in the morning, open the doors and feel the typical Pergam Press smell. It is a mix of paper and ink that makes the place unique and allows me to say “Wow! I’m at Pergam Press”. We have a bookshelf full of books and antique toys and also many vinyl Long Plays. But our favorite thing is the antique clichés from the 70’s and 80’s that we found out in the garbage of an old company and today they are here at Pergam Press and we love them!

NUMBER OF PRINTERS IN SPACE We have two printers.

MOST VALUABLE SHOP TOOL I believe the most valuable tool is the Boxcar Base. It is really important to us because it improved the quality of our prints.

INK OF CHOICE We use ink from an antique factory called Tradição Bremensis made in Brazil. Nowadays, we are in love with yellow.

SOLVENT OF CHOICE The clean-up used to be the slow step of the process since we are very careful about the presses. Usually we use Kerosene but we are searching for eco-friendly products to do the clean up.

PLATE AND BASE OF CHOICE We always use the Boxcar Base and Photopolymer KF95 plates.

OIL OF CHOICE We use Petrobras motor oil.

WHAT TYPE OF RAGS DO YOU CLEAN UP YOUR PRESSES WITH The good and old cotton shirt is irreplaceable. Some friends always donate to us.

FLOORING MATERIAL Our floor is made of concrete covered with ceramic.

FLOOR PLAN TIPS We appreciate the natural way of concrete.


ORGANIZATION ADVICE Always keep the inks very well identified & we also make more than we need in case of reprints.

PRINTING ADVICE It took a long time to find out how important it is to have the correct height of the rollers and the ink volume. At the beginning, we put a huge amount of ink and today we deal it as a chef deals with the ingredients to prepare a dish: with just the right amount.

We are young and have so much to learn about letterpress but everyday is a new experience, a new discovery.

Fine invitations, heritage printing presses,and lucky charms: Courtesy of Pergam Press.

Many thanks to Fabiano for giving us a tour inside of Pergam Press!

Carimbo Press: Innovating Letterpress in Brazil

Up until recently, Marcelo of Carimbo Letterpress & Design was known mostly for his prowess in the letterpress circles of Brazil and South America. Now he’s becoming a name to those outside of Brazil, gaining attention for Carimbo Press and spreading the modern letterpress love. Marcelo sat down with us between press runs to talk about the tactile appeal of letterpress and expanding his line of printed goods.Carimbo Letterpress & Design is a letterpress print shop in BrazilCarimbo Press shop is a letterpress print and design studio based in Brazil.

MODERN LETTERPRESS Carimbo Letterpress is the sum of the enthusiasm and efforts from Érico and Marcelo, two graphic designers with a passion for typography, printing and old stuff. We went to college together but had been working on separate jobs for several years. In the beginning of 2009 we began to notice some great letterpress work featured on the web and wondered how people were doing those beautiful things nowadays. Then we came to understand the use of modern letterpress with photopolymer, thick paper, cotton paper, edge painting and all that tactile appeal. At the time there weren’t any printshops in Brazil really doing this kind of work, so we went looking for our first press and began making plans for our letterpress studio. Besides that, we thought it was great that we could do things ourselves and be our own bosses.

THE CREATIVE PROCESS Despite being graphic designers, we had no experience being actual printers. So in the beginning, after some printing for ourselves, we decided to offer letterpress printing to friends. Soon we felt confident with the results we were getting and decided that we could do it professionally and thus began offering our services in our area. Marcelo at work on the shop's Heidelberg windmill

FULL TIME FUN For some time Érico still kept his job working at an agency but now we operate as a full time letterpress printshop. Our current goal is to have a nice balance between commissioned work and our own. We have a lot of custom orders (and that’s the priority), but we are always looking for ways to improve our processes and have more time to print our own designs and projects as well.

PRINTING FEATS We are proud of learning how to print by ourselves and overcoming all the difficulties to start this kind of operation here in Brazil. It was – and still is – hard in so many ways, but we feel that we’re always improving. We never had a mentor of any kind, so to understand how to operate all these machines and also to do maintenance is kind of a big deal for us. We think that we helped develop a Brazilian market as well. At first we noticed we needed to have an educational role too, explaining why letterpress printing was so exciting and how it was different from current and modern printing techniques. We had several clients that were looking for something unusual but did not know exactly what letterpress printing was. After some time, we started to get a lot of requests specifically because we were doing letterpress and people had started to ask for it. Carimbo Press is a letterpress printer based in Brazil

PRESS HISTORY We have a small tabletop press from Japan (still on maintenance work), a Heidelberg Windmill (1974), a Vandercook SP-15 (1968), and a Catu (which is a platen press made in Brazil). We have a working Linotype Model 8 (1929), but it still needs to be plugged in. We also have a manual Krause paper cutter, one corner rounding machine and one stapler machine. Our first press was the Windmill and it still gets most of the jobs. When we were looking for presses I remember asking what would happen if by any chance my hand got stuck on the platen. A mechanic that was showing us the machines answered that my fingers would be like a sheet of paper – and so we decided to go with the automatic feeding on the Heidelberg. Now that we have more experience we are confident with our hand fed Catu. We try to equip ourselves with different presses for different types of jobs. We mix our inks by hand according to the Pantone formulas / guide and we are always improving our edge painting technique.

BOXCAR’S ROLE Boxcar helps us in so many ways. First, by providing the press manual for our Windmill (later we would find an original and physical copy in Portuguese, but at the beginning we were always reading the Boxcar PDF). We find a lot of information on the site very useful too, like the instructional videos by Harold. It is hard to find good supplies here in Brazil, so things like the Boxcar Base, swing away lay gauge, roller setting gauge, gauge pins, etc. are excellent additions to our printing gear.

SHOP TIPS Always try to go by the book: adjust the press thoroughly and try to learn and understand all of its moves. Then it’s easier to figure what isn’t working properly and to think on ways to solve the problems. We also find that baby powder is useful in so many ways as it helps cleaning the rails, preventing the plates from over sticking to the base, drying the printed tympan after a missed sheet, etc, etc. Carimbo Press is a letterpress print shop in Brazil

WHAT’S NEXT This year we are trying to get everything in place around here: we are improving our shop and presses so things can be done more efficiently. We also have a lot of ideas that we want to put out and we expect to finally make it through with our line of printed goodies. Our website is in a desperate need of a revamp and we are trying to tie this loose end, too. We have some other nice projects coming along as well.

Big round of thanks out to Marcelo of Carimbo Letterpress & Design for giving us a closer look at the shop!