About Common Press

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About Common Press

The Common Press is the letterpress and book arts studio at the University of Pennsylvania. 

Common Press offers workshops to students, faculty, and staff; provides studio access for independent projects; and provides curricular support. Our programs include visiting artists and community outreach.

Common Press was founded on January 17, 2006, the 300th anniversary of Benjamin Franklin’s birth.

commonpress about image
commonpress about image
commonpress about image

Equipment List

Vandercook No. 4
Vandercook SP-15
Hoe Washington Hand Press (ca. 1847)
Chandler and Price New Series 8 x 12 Platen Press
New Improved #8 5 x 8 Platen Press
Kelsey Excelsior 5 x 8 Tabletop Platen Press
Morgan Line-o-Scribe Proof Press
2 Provisional Presses
Library of wood and metal type, and historical image blocks
2 sets of P22 Blox
Bases for photopolymer plate & pressure prints
Pearl Guillotine Cutter, 14” Blade
Dahle Rotary Paper Cutter
Bookbinding tools (toolkits available to loan)
Linoleum cutting toolkits (available to loan)
Corner Rounder
Button Maker (1.25")
Library of paper samples


Philacentrik, Nine Views of Philadelphia, (2006)
Swipe File, Charles Burns (2008)
Monsters Mind, 15th Room Press (2008)
Wharton Esherick: A Portfolio of Prints (2010)
Chymia (2014) Dancing in the Dark: New Poems by James DePreist (2018)


Artist Publications
Book Arts & Letterpress
Cultures of the Book
Graphic Design
Grotesque Forms
Making Writing
Pixel to Print
Open Book
Politics of Design
Print Culture of South Asia


Print Regional Design Annual (2007/2008)
Philadelphia Design Awards (2009)

Visiting Artists

Carolee Campbell (2007)
Swoon (2007)
Johanna Drucker (2008)
David Carson (2010)
Hamilton Wood Type (2014)
Louie Palu and Julianna Foster (2019)
Josh MacPhee (2020)