Lowest common denominators – the pocket printing press

The cheapest printing press I’ve come by so far? £2.99 from Lidl. What a bargain! It’s like a John Bull printing kit but self-inking too.


I bought one of these the other day, and everyone I showed it to wanted one. The stamp will just about accommodate 24 characters across (if you squash them) and four lines. I used it to overprint the “World X” flyers and I love the grunginess of it.


Anyway, this reminded me of the tag-line that Copy used during their residency at Site Gallery last summer.img035

At £2.99 you can hardly say that you can’t get into printing. Also, the 96 character limit presents a stimulating challenge.


For me the lowest common denominator is the DIY element. I use commercial printers for some things, but I want to be able to make things myself, at least in small quantities.

I have been using Moo’s mini-cards for years. I like the fact that you can upload 100 different images, so each card can be unique. I’m a big fan of Moo, but I wanted to do something different tis time, and something appropriate to the feel of the Retrospective.


There is a certain quality threshold below which the print is just not good enough. For me, Moo get it right with 350gsm card, and I think is a minimum weight to give a feeling of quality. They also do some “Luxe” 600gsm cards which I definitely want to try one day, but not for this project. This kind of fetishism reminds me of that scene in “American Psycho” (2000, dir Mary Harron) when the suits are comparing business cards, although an artist would be thinking “Oh my God, it’s even hand-printed.”

Screen shot 2013-02-03 at 23.49.51

So at the moment I’m printing my own business/contact cards with a combination of three different self-inking stamps. The body text is made with the United Office stamp, the “Bolam Retrospective” is a custom-made stamp from Vistaprint and the “Private & Confidential” is a generic office stamp, leftover from a previous life.

So, get down to Lidl before I get back there and scoop up the remaining stocks.

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