DWRI Letter Press at Downcity Design Block

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This September 24th, In Downcity is joining forces with DesignxRI for design week in the shape of an outdoor lounge at Grant’s Block. Among the festivities, DWRI letterpress will have a pop-up booth, brought to you by Craftland, so you can make your very own prints with a table top press.

DWRI Letterpress offers a variety of services, but their letter-pressing and foil stamping are what they’re known for. The quality of a true letterpress print is close to impossible to digitally replicate. There is a weight, a texture, and a feeling of luxury with a traditional letterpress print.

“Letterpress printing is basically a mechanized form of relief printing: there is a raised surface that is inked, and pressed into a sheet of paper, leaving the ink exactly as it should be, with a subtle (or insane!) amount of impression on the paper.” Explains Dan Wood. “Where it is distinct from digital printing in terms of aesthetic, is in this three dimensional quality – where one can play with the physical structure of the paper and the process.”

There can also be a huge difference in cost.  

“…Things become much cheaper in volume. So there is a much higher initial set up cost, but once you have passed that in quantity, each additional print becomes less expensive per piece while the 101st digital print will cost as much as the first or second.” says Dan Wood of DWRI.


As a full service letterpress print shop, DWRI is able to produce designs using a variety of processes. From in-house polymer plate making, to custom die-cutting, and bookbinding, DWRI is able to meet demand for traditional invitations, commercial production, and limited edition artist prints and books.

Dan Wood, who has been a commissioned printer since 1994, began his business as a way to work with new artists and to make his own artwork. Since their move into the Pearl Street Lofts about four years ago, they’ve been able to spread out and focus on self-publishing as well as continue helping other businesses to produce printed goods.

Genuine Eye Pad

Genuine Eye Pad, designed, produced, and sold by DWRI Letterpress

CD cases by Eric Hofbauer, designed by Ben Shaykin.

CDs by Eric Hofbauer, designed by Ben Shaykin.

Wedding Invitation

They also relish experimenting with artists on techniques and finishing options. In the past, they’ve worked with artists such as Alec Thibodeau, Grace Ludmere, and Howard Ben Tré on everything from calling cards, editioned hand bound books, as well as more conventional flat prints, many of which are sold by gift shops such as Craftland, Frog and Toad, Homestyle, and more.


Lunar Poster by Alec Thibodeau

“With Alec, he has always had a particular vision, and I am trying to work that vision into the materials and processes which I love.  We use our expertise to make his prints as effective (using the letterpress process) as they can be.”

Images of a book in progress. Dear Elena: Letters for Elena Ferrante Poems by Tina Cane, images by Esther Solondz, Skillman Ave Press

“For Tina Cane’s book, written in homage and reaction to Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan stories, the equipment is being used more as it was originally designed, as a method for very fine printing that cannot be reproduced in any their way.”

For DWRI, working closely on collaborative projects is not just pleasurable, it makes up at least a third of their business.

 “As an artist and printer, there is always a balance between doing the work you need to do for others, and having the time and creative energy left to make your own work.  With collaborative projects like these it allows you to do your own work, while working hand in hand with other artists and their own particular ideas and motivations and visions for the piece.”


DWRI Letterpress is a local printshop in Providence, RI. Meet the printers Dan Wood, Lois Harada, and Hope Anderson on their website, or come on down to Downcity Design Block this Saturday! Their pop-up printshop will be from 3pm-6pm at 260 Westminster street. 


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