105 W. John Street

Champaign, IL 61820

(217) 298 - 2080



The Living Letter Press, according to their Facebook profile, is "a letterpress shop offering access to traditional printing tools and techniques to the Central Illinois community. We also offer letterpress workshops, do commercial printing, and sell goods locally and online.​" The press was established with funding from the LetterMpress Kickstarter project. This initiative began in October 2011.​ They are located at 105 W. John Street, sharing a building with Dixon Printing.

Their website offers information about the products, classes and workshops they offer.  They can also be found at the Urbana Farmer's Market selling cards, posters, and postcards. A set of 5 cards (with envelopes) is $9. They also sell products through their Etsy shop


Heartland Maker Fest

Living Letter Press of Champaign IL, represented by John Bonadies, was an official maker at the 2014 Heartland Maker Fest in Urbana on October 18, 2014.

What they do:

Create apps for people to experience the letterpress process in an accurate way. To make the experience as realistic possible, actual type is scanned and the press components photographed to create the apps. 

Bonadies’s presses are housed at Dixon Graphics. He hosts school groups for field trips and teaches workshops in this space. A November 2014 workshop will feature holiday card making.


These days, presses are hard to find; most have been scrapped. They typically weigh a ton or two. In 2011, a $40,000 Kickstarter campaign provided funds to purchase five presses and type. 

The surprising thing about what he does:

These days, anything can be printed digitally, but it takes time and effort to set up a letter press. The hands-on nature of the press connects students to what they are doing. Bondaies has students set up their school name and crank it through the press. He is always surprised by how amazed the students are by the result when they pull the paper off the press.

Bonadies brushes cornstarch over the wet paint to help it dry more quickly. Naturally, ink takes at least two days to set. Bonadies demonstrates one of his smaller presses.


See Also

Dixon Printing
Urbana's Market at the Square

External Links

Living Letter Press website
Facebook Page
Etsy shop