Swiss Graphic Designer, Letterpress Printer Dafi Kühne Lectures At UA

Presented as part of the 2019-2020 Myers Residencies, Kühne also lead a letterpress workshop for students during his visit to campus.

Dafi Kühne poses next to one version of a letterpress.

(Image via The University of Akron)

Dafi Kühne poses next to one version of a letterpress.

By LeKesha Parkman, Special Editions Editor

Dafi Kühne visited The University of Akron Myers School of Art to discuss experimental letterpress techniques and lead a workshop teaching students how to use them.

Eager students filled the auditorium excited to learn from the award winning poster designer, letterpress printer and graphic design educator.

Based in Näfels, Switzerland, Kühne works exclusively with letterpress printing blocks in his studio/workshop. This unconventional decision causes him to continually compete with more modern technologies.

Whereas other artists may struggle with this type of constant competition, Kühne thrives. His work stands alone not only because of his unique techniques but because of his love for his craft.

Kühne’s foundation of learning was traditional. But in his specialized area of expertise, he explores the connection between the printing press and computers with posters, invitations, brochures and magazines that center around music and art.

His personal advice to the many future graphic designers in attendance for his lecture was to do what makes them passionate and not compromise on good design.

On Nov. 1, students involved in the workshop used inspiration to create poster designs that adhered to a grid but still maintained a sense of unpredictability.

Lekesha Parkman
Freshman Jacob Christopher, a political science major, works alongside freshman Eden Bradford, studio art major.

Senior Kim Wengerd, a graphic design major and illustration minor, wanted to try making something more traditional because she hasn’t had the opportunity to do much printmaking.

Bob Kelemen, associate professor of instruction was a key part in bringing Kühne to Myers School of Art, as he is“really interested in Dafi Kühne’s conceptual approach to his work.”

Kelemen believes that students can learn quite a bit from his unique combination of old technology (letterpress relief printing) with 21st century equipment like computers and laser cutters.

Since there is a small maker’s space in Myers, student’s can use techniques employed by Kühne to inspire their own work.

Niko Elenchevski, a graphic design Junior, took part in the workshop and enjoyed his experience of learning different techniques.

“More people should look into using traditional techniques, like Kühne,” Elenchevski said.