Need your help - I am no longer interested in printing

I have never felt this way about printing before. A few weeks ago a customer drove me crazy about paper, ink and type etc. that can’t think anymore.

She wouldn’t listen to me, she wanted to know every paper, ink color, type style I could do and when I showed her what I had, she didn’t like any of it.

Having trouble getting the paper she wants. And, I am just tired of the whole mess.

The two engraving companies I used gave me trouble on my order, the three paper suppliers have been playing games about getting me the paper she wants.

And, the power company wants to charge me $3 a kwh because I only turn on my equipment when I need it once or twice a week.

The fun is gone!

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Aaron if it’s no fun give it up. Life is too short.
take care

I feel your pain… I can remember situations of the kind. I have had times when I just wanted to pull my hair out. There are people who just can’t be pleased and it does seem like sometimes like the roadblocks can be unbearable.
One strategy I find useful is raising the price. I mean really raising it.
Another is to look back at the joys this art can bring. I once had a young girl come in to pick up a wedding invitation with here fiancée. She looked at the invitation and she started to cry and said OMG it is so beautiful.
It was nice but it wasn’t that nice. But to her it was and the experience of bringing that to her has gotten me through a lot of bad situations. and a few “I just want a few lines of type - it should be easy” “Is that type all you have” “That color doesn’t look right” “Just do this” “just do that” and so on…
I really love the art of letterpress but I think we all like pleasing people as part of the process. And, some people you just can’t please.
Remember there are a lot of people who really appreciate the art we practice and the part of ourselves we put into it.
And, again, raise the price.


I was recently ask to show a Line of Type in every Font I have available in all the colors I can Foil it.
I told them 4 for each Line cast and 6 for each 12 Lines Foiled in one color.

That sobered them up fast. Suddenly a Color chart and Type book was good enough.

If things are not meant to be with the commercial shop, why not take home your C&P 8x12 and a cabinet of type to put in your basement or garage at home? Take the Kwikprint too. If you decide that letterpress is not where you will be making your money, you may, after a break, find it rewarding to use your skills to produce printing that has no ties to commerce.

A good number of hobby printers really enjoy participating in the APA and similar groups that bundle and share their printing.


You have to put your foot down !
If you let them, designers will “abuse” you.

Don’t turn anyone away,
everything is possible,
FOR A PRICE ( and a non refundable deposit !!! )



I’d have to agree with Mike Conway and DGM, life is too short to struggle in a job where you feel abused. If you like to print, do as suggested and keep some equipment for yourself and print what you enjoy in your spare time, find a job outside the industry (or at least not dealing directly with customers, if that is your frustration).

I think I could trace your “career” on this list over the past few years, and you have given up the ghost several times, mostly due to lack of business or inability to deal with customer needs.

Find something more rewarding to yourself, possibly working for someone else who can handle the pressure of customers’ requests, taking that frustration on his/her shoulders.

J. Henry

G’day Aaron;

I, too, have been following your posts and I think I feel your frustration. I’m fortunate enough I don’t have to make a lot from printing to make ends meet, although it is good to make enough. However, as I said to a buddy of mine a couple of weeks ago, ‘If I’m not going to make any money, I’m going to have fun doing it’, so, take some time and, like water, find your own level and have some fun printing……db

Under the tried & failed circumstances above, don`t conceed defeat.!
Mothball your present equipment for the future,!

Become a *Print Farmer* i.e. put your acquired knowledge to good, progressive use, as You have already learned the Pitfalls and are in command of what is within your capabilities and Vice Versa.

Assemble a portfolio, after trawling all the Printers within your scope/area, Amateurs and Professionals alike, negotiate realistic prices put say 5% on top (or more?)
Educate Your potential customers, with unwritten back up from Your chosen suppliers, if the job is good/satisfactory etc. and YOUR imprint is on the invoice, the sky will be the limit and Your learning curve will advance in leaps and bounds, as will (hopefully) your cash flow, bank account etc.

The above is NOT *Pie in the Sky* FOLLOWS under;-

Late 70,s early 80,s after redundancy, courtesy of LITHO, acquired a small unit with Monotype Casting Plant and Thomson Auto Platen, mainly for Repro-ing, Monotype text setting for Litho reproduction.

Within a very short time, what appeared to be a Rep, looked in, Metaphorically put his cards on the table, stated that he knew virtually nothing about L/press Print, but had a very Impressive Portfolio already put together, virtually 100% from Local printers, covering almost all of the Process,s that He was aiming at.

My Thompson (Auto Platen) served He and I well, churning out the Lower end of His commitments, i.e. just the die-cutting, creasing, numbering and perforating.

Corroborating and adding to J. Henry above.

Aaron, Nil Desperandum, how much or how little would it cost to try, Letterpress is still going to be around for a long time yet, perhaps not commercially, but think of the (almost) long lost process,s that are coming round again.!!!

As the *South is Gonna rise again* Letterpress is already on the way, why not make Aaron David the fore runner.

Let P.M.A. be the order of the day. = Positive Mental Attitude.

Good luck, Mick

Mick - I agree wholeheartedly with PMA!
However, the print game in the UK is getting harder and harder…
I left printing around 8-10 years ago because of exactly the problems listed above by Aaron.
The problem with our trade is we gave our customers the reins. When direct to print, direct to plate and instant print took off suddenly the printer lost control.
I joined the industry as a young man of 19 directly from the London College of Printing. When I started at a Provincial general printers we gave our customers the deadline. And they said fine.
But we invested in newer equipment, colour copiers that could rip from the computer. We could spit out stuff instantly. Suddenly all the customers want more and sooner. And then they think they can dive in at 5pm for a ‘can you just’ job. And our bosses ever chasing the pound or dollar say yes leaving the production staff to take up the slack.
Customers and clients never allow for down time, never allow for problems with ink and paper. We can never ever make time back up. But there was always time for a reprint whether it was our fault or no.
I think if you can work to your deadlines and work for reasonable clients (show them the processes, give ideas of time, give ideas of reasonable deadlines).
Basically to prevent meltdown, stress, and to give ourselves the trade back we need to take control of the reins not letting the tail wag the dog as it were.
I basically ended up at 15 hour days and stomach ulcers, stress, migraines and weight gain. Something had to give which was the job I loved.
And frankly apart from dealing in letterpress stuff I havent looked back….

Albion, Ta, whole heartedly concur with your resume.!
Sad but way of the world, can not quite match your *Journey* little ulcer maybe, (too many Fruit Pies, Too often Pies/Pasties warmed up on the melting Pot but still have NO lead poisoning) otherwise.

Fairly good to “Rave On” with a little help from Buddy Holly on the Seeburg Juke box!!

Just coming round the second time with New/Old monotype to eventually, Teach from Home, the hard earned Info in the memory archives will not help push the weeds or the daises up,! … nice to read your last line, and Good Luck. Mick

Improvise, adapt and overcome
lead, follow or get out of the way

I’ve turned down a lot of work from people whose attitude I did not like. I even refused to accept a four thousand dollar payment for a stack of goods because the purchaser was being outrageously and intentionally rude, and lording it around because they were rich and I was not. I don’t regret it at all. It has to be fun or it’s not worth doing. People who are intentionally rude and belittling are not fun. So I just shut the door on them. Save your passion for the ones that truly appreciate what you do, and then always try to do something a little extra for them. The joy will make up for the stress of dealing with swine. Good luck! Tom from Shire Post

Never felt this way about printing before? Pretty sure on October 24, 2014 you started a thread titled “Is it time to walk away?” and said it was “not fun anymore”.

I love printing, I fail in love with print, once I started in 1964, hand setting type and printing cards on my 10x15. I walked into the trade school print shop and saw a Intertype for my very first time.

The way I was talked to about my printing, hit me harder than my Divorce in 1991.

I am standing talking to this lady (in her 50s), next to my 8x12, my Ludlow and Intertype and the lady telling me my work isn’t REAL letterpress!

“It hurt!”

I am sorry about all my post over the years.

For entire month of May, I have been very depressed about my shop. Thinking, I am a joke, people see me as big joke.

But, June is here, and I going to see if I can make printing fun again.

Customers like women, they come and go in and out of your life, but printing will be here longer than I will be here.

Can’t let people tear you down to their level.

Aaron, I suggest you read a little about typographic design, especially making fun designs with type, and then play around with imitating some of the designs you see, using expressions of birthday greetings, party invitations, and just plain fun stuff. Get some nice but not expensive paper (maybe offcuts of cover stock from a big printing company’s scrap barrel) and print some greeting cards in different color inks on different color papers, and set them out somewhere people can see them. I bet you can make printing fun again and make a little money from it too. But you should also put up a nicely-done sign that says “I am a designer — It’s my way or the highway!”


typecomp …can you clarify on how you intended to help the fellow forum member with your post?

Aaron, possibly refer to MY comprehensive post above, amalgamate the basis of my efforts with Most of the other,s to include, ALL the positive suggestions, and give it your best shot, One More Time,!!

As My dad said Many many, times, BOY (He always called me Boy, even when and during my apprenticeship) BOY, Listen to what I say, File it in the memory banks, enquire and log, everything relevant, from everybody possible, amalgamate everything relevant, plot YOUR path to suit your Route???

***The author is almost as old as the “Mount Rushmore* Monument, the basis of the above still holds good. ***

Quoted a sign in our U.K. betting shops,
I. E.
>When it stops being Fun, STOP<


Hopefully in A.D.s case, (yours) sling the Weeping and Wailing chair away, Take the Bull (and the grouchy would be customers) by the Horns, put the whole shooting match into overdrive etc, and Go for Broke.

DONT Secede, (where did it get the Southern States??) Racing certainty You will regret if You Do, even IF D.T. does not make the White House.???

Think positive, Think Big,? Rip of A business card, rapidly, mail it Recorded delivery (Elvis says/said Special *D*) to,

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington D.C
Post a shot of the recorded delivery slip on Briar Press????

Aaron, fresh out of ideas for the minute, Good Luck, Mick.

Bob,!! from your One Liner. *Its my way or the Highway* You gotta be a fan of Jeff Healey, or Patrick Swayze, POSSIBLY? … . Mick.

Dave, Best advice I can give, Do what you love and what gives you joy. Many Many times I’ve had inquiries that I’ve “seen the writing” about and just flat up said NO. Burning a bridge is hard, but sometimes necessary. In this case the best way to stave off the fire is to be straight up. Come up with what you WANT to do for this lady and explain it to as “this is what I will do for you” and don’t give in to anything else.

I wouldn’t worry about her comments on your quality or anything similar. Have still have some of your samples and they are good, quality, proper printing. My quess would be her tactic is to demean her vendors in order to get more “bang” for her buck.

Go back to what makes you happy and if you can make some money at it, GREAT. Etsy, Ebay, &c. are great outlets for selling. If you look at something you’ve printed and say to yourself “I’d hang that on my wall or put it on my shelf” then most likely someone else somewhere will too. It’s just a matter of reaching those people.

mnmomm64 if you took the time to read this individuals posting history you would see that he is emotionally manipulative and judgmental toward those he feels slighted by, and it now seems a bit misogynistic in his reply to me. There are also many inconsistencies in his lamentations that suggest he is disingenuous. I was under the impression this is a forum for letterpress issues. Commenting on his emotional trolling of this forum is little different that you or Theo Bell establishing your moral high ground on me.

First of all typecomp get over yourself. My comment wasn’t directed to you. It was directed to David’s comments about a lady saying he wasn’t doing real letterpress.

I see you felt you resembled my remark.

Like I said, David don’t let people tear you down to their level.

NOW it’s directed to you, typecomp. The world needs a little less negativity.

I think you should pass on this thread, since you can’t contribute anything that helps.

End of rant.

Quite frankly I have to side with typecomp on this one. Aaron’s postings, over what now seems like a painfully long period, are beyond bizarre. He’s quitting, he’s not, he’s quitting, he’s not, ad infinitum. I began to wonder if this wasn’t some kind of joke. I don’t even open them up anymore.
To hear Aaron tell it, no customers, no jobs, and yet the saga painfully continues.

Rick von Holdt

Aaron keep it simple and do what you are best at.

typecomp I do not see what you do…but then again maybe I try to see the positive in people. The Art of Letterpress needs to be kept alive and speaking negatively to people that love letterpress and are trying to find their way is not helpful at all.