Skip to main content

Icelandic design studio takes you back in time

Built in the 1940s for industrial use, the graphic design and letterpress studio run by Hildur Sigurdardottir and Olof Birna Gardarsdottir still has a rather raw, workshop feel to it.

"Some people say that visiting us feels like going back a few decades in time," laughs Sigurdardottir. A nod to the building's original character, the machine shop run by her grandfather, comes in the form of a logo painted on the back wall.

Some people say that visiting us feels like going back a few decades in time

The letterpress printing machines dotted around the studio originally belonged to an ex-printer, who spent two months teaching Sigurdardottir and Gardarsdottir how to use them in the garage where they were then situated.

When the machines moved into their new home, a little bit of the owner's history came with them: "The yellow chair was included in the package and we simply love it!" smiles Sigurdardottir.

The Reykjavik Letterpress studio still has a raw, workshop feel to it

The Reykjavik Letterpress studio still has a raw, workshop feel to it

One wall holds a moveable type set, which Sigurdardottir thinks is essential for every letterpress printer. "It's just the originality of it," she explains. The pair still use it occasionally, but prefer to do most of their work with polymer plates. "That way we are not as limited to the fonts and graphics we can use," she explains.

There is also a range of smaller machines for adding interest - holes, perforations, rounded corners - sat on a desktop the duo refer to as the 'fun bar'.

A final flourish comes in the form of a wall-mounted Lego deer, the handiwork of Sigurdardottir ́s husband, Jens. "It's a reminder," she says, "of how creative one can be by using one form over and over until you don ́t see that form anymore, but something completely different."

This article originally appeared in Computer Arts (opens in new tab) issue 218.

Like this? Read these!

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

The Creative Bloq team is made up of a group of design fans, and has changed and evolved since Creative Bloq began back in 2012. The current website team consists of six full-time members of staff: Editor Kerrie Hughes, Deputy Editor Rosie Hilder, Deals Editor Beren Neale, Senior News Editor Daniel Piper, Digital Arts and Design Editor Ian Dean, and Staff Writer Amelia Bamsey, as well as a roster of freelancers from around the world. The 3D World and ImagineFX magazine teams also pitch in, ensuring that content from 3D World and ImagineFX is represented on Creative Bloq.