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History of Printing Technology

Selection of Archives & Special Collections materials that illustrate the history of printing technology. Originally created for Professor Aoki's ARTS 36 class.

Overview of Era

Artists' Books

Artists' books are the new frontier of printing, constantly pushing the answer of "what is a book?" Picking up steam as a new format for artistic expression in the 1960s, they tell stories in unconventional ways, using form, text, and image to engage both the right and left side of your brain: the aesthetic and the analytical. They are art objects in their own accord, despite of or in addition to containing works of art. A maker of an artists' book will use any printing method of transferring text or image to their chosen medium that gets the job done in the most appropriate fashion: letterpress, laserjet, inkjet, calligraphy, etc. Most of the time artists' books are the proper, well-rounded artistic older cousin to zines. With a vision and a little bit of skill, it is possible to make your own artists' books just like you could make your own zine. Many artists' books collections are digitized and available online if you do a web search for digitized artists' books. The image included here is of artists books made by the Danish artist group X-piir, by Heaven&Earth - Own work, CC BY 3.0

Resources at SCU

The following items are available to consult in the Archives & Special Collections reading room on the 3rd floor of the library. Email SpecialCollections@scu.edu to arrange an appointment.

We have a healthy sized collection of more artists' books not mentioned here but can be located in the library's catalog by doing a subject search for artists' books. Please contact us or stop by to take a look.