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Media, Color, Time, Youth
February 4, 2011 1:55 PM   Subscribe

A letterpress made of Legos used to create 8-bit prints. (more on NPR)
Hexadecimal color codes for every Crayola crayon

Via BoingBoing and the Twitter feed of Erik Spiekermann.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul (20 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
This is pushing all my buttons. Would've loved the "Fox" print.
posted by flippant at 2:12 PM on February 4, 2011


A letterpress made of Legos

Huh. I was expecting the press to be made of Lego. I guess this is still kind of neat, though.

Still, I'm not really sure why they'd use Lego when the same effect can be achieved with lead type. (Lead type would print better, too.)
posted by Sys Rq at 2:19 PM on February 4, 2011


I don't recognize a lot of those Crayola color names. When did they start having colors with names like Unmellow Yellow and Screamin' Green? Macaroni and Cheese? Fuzzy Wuzzy? This is not the Crayola I remember.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 2:43 PM on February 4, 2011


Oh... I guess that's what that "issued" column is for. Damn. I got too distracted by Fuzzy Wuzzy.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 2:44 PM on February 4, 2011


Genius! I have 9 thousand legos at home, but did I manage to come up with this? No. Damn.
posted by madred at 2:55 PM on February 4, 2011


It would be cool if they'd set it up so that the tiles were placed by one of those lego robots.
posted by delmoi at 3:13 PM on February 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sys Rq: Huh. I was expecting the press to be made of Lego. I guess this is still kind of neat, though.

Still, I'm not really sure why they'd use Lego when the same effect can be achieved with lead type. (Lead type would print better, too.)


delmoi: It would be cool if they'd set it up so that the tiles were placed by one of those lego robots

Me too. It's still a bit neat, but not like OMFGMUSTBUYLOVELEGO like I had imagined from the above-the-fold.
posted by paisley henosis at 3:22 PM on February 4, 2011


The NPR link also had a link to this working Lego pinhole camera which I would totally freak out ad buy a print from right now like damn.
posted by paisley henosis at 3:25 PM on February 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


A letterpress made of Legos

My god, that's brilliant.

To those who want to know what the big deal is: One of my favorite thought exercises is dreaming up alternative printing methods. I work in a print shop so registration and consistency is an important element whatever fancy I'm dreaming up. This is miles beyond anything I've managed to come up with.
posted by lekvar at 3:34 PM on February 4, 2011


lekvar: To those who want to know what the big deal is: One of my favorite thought exercises is dreaming up alternative printing methods. I work in a print shop so registration and consistency is an important element whatever fancy I'm dreaming up. This is miles beyond anything I've managed to come up with.

What advantage does it have over the lead type mentioned up thread? (No snark, sincere curiosity.)
posted by paisley henosis at 3:41 PM on February 4, 2011


goddamnit, pixelated does not imply 8 bits!
posted by polyglot at 3:46 PM on February 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


Yeah, no. Registration is one thing (and not an especially difficult thing, either), but consistent application of ink to paper is another thing entirely, and the Lego fails at it. Good print quality requires pressure. Plasticky Lego cannot withstand the necessary pressure without being smashed to bits, so the prints made with the Lego have weak ink transfer.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:48 PM on February 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


What advantage does it have over the lead type mentioned up thread? (No snark, sincere curiosity.)
posted by paisley henosis

Yeah, no.
posted by Sys Rq


I don't want to speak for Sam Cox or Justin LaRosa, so I'll talk about why I think this is awesome.

I work in a print shop. I have access to millions of dollars of printing technology, from my PH 2100 laserjet to a 5-color Heidelberg offset press and all points in between. The level of technology and craft associated with the machines and the final printed pieces that come off of them is pretty amazing when I think about it. On one hand I have digital printers that harness the power of LASERS! to fuse plastic-based toner to paper, on the other hand I have a five-ton machine that Johannes Gutenberg might be able to recognize which uses pressure and sheet steel to affix ink to paper. I've been doing this for years, but every now and then I still get a little wiblbly just thinking about it.

And those are just the toys I get to play with; I've never gotten to mess around with flexography,engraving, wood-blocks, screen printing, web presses or, sadly, a letterpress.

In the mean time, as I mentioned above, I get to dream. In my idle moments I like to think of ways of applying pigment to a substrate. If I were to carve a picture into that pine two-by-four, how might I use it to transfer paint onto a shirt? What if I wanted to do a two-color design? Would I draw directly onto the wood or might I use some kind of transfer? How could I control the registration? What if I used cardboard instead or, hey, a potato? Who doesn't love a potato print?

So I wander down this path for ten minutes or so and, by the end, arrive at some wonderful Rube Goldberg device with bungie cords and bailing wire. It's completely unfeasible, cumbersome, and far too much work to actually implement, but it is in its own way beautiful in its ridiculousness.

The Lego letterpress, I'd imagine, is the result of a similar process, but much, much more elegant/ridiculous than anything I've ever envisioned. It has all of the things that made Gutenberg's first press successful: reusability, speed, simplicity, accuracy. But it also has all of the whimsey of using a child's toy to make art, and the cleverness to recognize a viable tool that's been overlooked.

So, tl;dr version, this is about process. The process of imagining a solution to a problem that doesn't exist in order to scratch the itch to create art, and the process of making the art itself.

I'd type more, but I've got to take ten minutes or so to dream about how I can make one of these for myself.
posted by lekvar at 4:51 PM on February 4, 2011 [8 favorites]


So, uh, the plural of Lego is Lego. The individual pieces are Lego pieces, not Legos. One buys a Lego set, one builds things out of Lego, one stands on a piece of Lego in one's bare feet and one swears. There is no such thing nor are there such things as Legos, at least as far as relates to small plastic interlocking bricks from Denmark.

In other newth, math is thomething that the Higgth Bothon is rethponthible for. Maths is the abbreviated form of mathematics, and what one studies when one is becoming a mathematician.

See also: softs and softwares.
posted by Devonian at 5:37 PM on February 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Devonian, someone brings that up in every Lego thread. I for one will happily continue to use the improper plural, if for no other reason to allow someone else to correct me. You're welcome!
posted by lekvar at 5:40 PM on February 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Maths is the abbreviated form of mathematics

The British one, yes. The North American one is 20% more abbreviated. Deal with it, limey!
posted by Sys Rq at 6:03 PM on February 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Devonian: So, uh, the plural of Lego is Lego

So I guess you're That Guy Who Kvetches About LEGO Nomenclature this time, eh?
posted by paisley henosis at 6:12 PM on February 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


lekvar: Devonian, someone brings that up in every Lego thread. I for one will happily continue to use the improper plural, if for no other reason to allow someone else to correct me. You're welcome

(He is using the improper plural, too. The official plural form is "Lego building blocks" or something very similar.)
posted by paisley henosis at 6:13 PM on February 4, 2011


The wikipedia list gave rise to this, my favourite crayon infographic.

My other favourite crayon thing: rockets!
posted by zamboni at 7:23 PM on February 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


The official plural form is "Lego building blocks" or something very similar.

More likely LEGObrand building blocks.

This is a dumb argument. It really is.

The FPP is excellent, though!
posted by odinsdream at 8:24 PM on February 4, 2011


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