Use Your Words: Paper Jam Press Lays on the Letterpress Prowess
USE YOUR WORDS by Paper Jam Press
Sometimes, an edition comes along that really speaks for itself. Our latest release from new 20x200 artist Arianna Orland of Paper Jam Press is print-in-point. USE YOUR WORDS. We could end this intro right there. There isn’t a imperative around that feels more...well...imperative at the moment. It’s concise, compelling, and resolute. And it’s also profoundly timely.
This week last year we watched in horror as our country elected a megalomaniacal monster to its highest office. But this week last year also marks the earliest movement of the resistance to his reign of shame. It’s a sad anniversary, on the one hand, but on the other: people mobilized and spoke out, and Tuesday's elections are evidence that something is working, that we can change things if we keep it up. It’s the most hopeful we’ve felt in a while. There’s a lot of work ahead of us, of course. Enter this Paper Jam Press letterpress print—the perfect reminder to speak truth to power. Also the perfect reminder for a kid with a penchant for temper tantrums (or, heck, your grown-ass brother). Blessedly, you can have it both ways…
We are big fans of words, as our regulars know, and we have an especially word-loving lineup in the works for holiday this year (stay tuned!). Like us, Orland has long loved letterforms. She fuses her fondness for typography with her raw design talent and a fascination with re-contextualization. Working exclusively with gothic wood type, black ink, and a Vandercook letterpress, she prints short phrases on crisp cotton paper for Paper Jam Press. Pared down to their essence, hand-rendered in bold black-and-white, these phrases become what Orland calls “words to live by”—powerful, motivating mantras. In the case of today’s edition, a crucial, empowering mandate worth repeating.
The SF-based creative director and artist launched Paper Jam Press back in 2009 as a way to reconnect with the roots of graphic design. Her small batch letterpress pieces have since been featured in a number of cutting edge design publications, including Dwell Magazine and Design Milk. Orland gravitated toward punchy, poetic phrases from the start, drawing inspiration from the lyrical stylings of some of the most accomplished hip-hop artists, for instance, but in 2017 she took her letterpress practice a step further. Orland co-founded Counter Type—a free protest art collective that aims to enable people to use their words to effect change. Orland took her own advice and literally used the power of the printing press to help spread positive messages with the signs she created for the 2017 Women's March and more.
USE YOUR WORDS was created by Paper Jam Press for Counter Type. It captures one of the things Paper Jam Press does best—bearing a bold, beautifully printed widely-applicable message that’s up to interpretation and doubles as protest art. USE YOUR WORDS is so succinct, but its breadth goes far beyond 12 letters. Taken literally, USE YOUR WORDS is the ideal artwork for a kid's room, or really any room in a home with children. It’s also fit for a classroom, or a writer who needs a nudge to get past their creative block. But in this time of disheartening ugliness, aggression and outright violence it means even more. We can draw hope from the effectiveness of actually using our words—on protest signs, over conversations at family dinners, and in campaign speeches made by recently elected leaders, some of whom never imagined that they'd even run for office.
Whether your goal is to better express yourself, verbalize your pain, stand up for what you believe in, encourage others to think before they act, or simply discourage your grade-schooler from a mach-5 hissy fit, this print applies. It's an important reminder of the might of words, and that there’s always a way to use them. When our leaders can’t communicate eloquently and empathetically, all the more reason to practice that approach ourselves. Words count now more than ever, in conversations about race, homophobia, intersectionality, environmental consciousness.... Words have weight. So use ‘em!
Each USE YOUR WORDS print is hand-pressed to order by the artist, so you may wait a few weeks to receive yours. But, let’s be honest, it’s well worth the wait. Place your order by 6pm ET on November 21st and we’ll make sure it ships out by December 6th (hint* that’s right on time for holiday gifting).
With art for everyone,