Kim Vousden is a designer and printmaker using letterpress and relief printing techniques. Her experimental image-making using mid-twentieth century cast iron printing presses has culminated in various projects and commissions: from books, posters, flyers, ranges of cards and other printed paraphernalia.

The majority of her work is produced on her Vicobold—a c.1950s parallel-approach platen printing press—and Farley galley proofing press. Rather than seeking the novelty of the ‘handmade’, Kim is interested in how the hands-on process and the characteristics of particular presses directly inform her designs. With different capabilities to modern printing machines, her work is informed by the specific press intended to print them and fuels some unique image-making as a result.

‘The printing process is far from automatic—you need to pay attention to how the machine works: listening for the correct volume of ink on the press, feeding the paper rhythmically into the machine, constantly making adjustments to the press throughout a print run—it’s a fully immersive sensory process and this is why I find it so captivating…’

The presses

The Vicobold: This c.1950s letterpress machine is one of the few platen printing presses that use a parallel-approach mechanism. This enables the platen to meet the printing surface square-on rather than in a hinged, clamshell fashion like many platen presses of its era. This provides reliably even impression across the face of the printing surface. Made by Frank F Per­shke in London.


The Farley: This is a galley proof press for proofing formes/galleys of type. The printing surface is inked by hand using a hand roller and with the paper positioned in the grippers, the impression roller is drawn over the back to create the print. Also prints a large format lino block very nicely.  Made by Farley Eng. Ltd in Croydon, c.1950.