Gain a deeper understanding of what it takes to create a cohesive letterpress book as you design and execute your own project.

This course is the capstone of the Book Arts Basics series, showing students how to combine their printing and bookbinding skills with technology and design principles to make a successful letterpress book. Through brief lectures and group discussions, students will learn how to conceptualize a cohesive book design that effectively combines materials, construction, layout, and content.


Once content and layout is finalized, students will learn to make photopolymer plates. This process of printing digital negatives and using them to expose photosensitive polymer to create a plate of the book’s content will allow students to print images in addition to text on the press, greatly expanding the creative possibilities for books made in this course. With polymer plates in hand, the rest of the course will be devoted to active studio time--printing and binding under the guidance of Richard Reitz Smith.

Each student will leave with a hand printed, hand bound, custom designed letterpress book, and ready and able to make more on their own.  

This course can be taken with Book Arts Basics Parts I & II for a for a comprehensive foundation, or individually to just get comfortable with book design and execution.

Students who take this course will be eligible to join the Book Arts Membership program at MMW+C, which grants access to the equipment at the Maine Media Book Arts Studio on a reservation basis when the studio is not in use for classes or residencies.

Special bundled pricing: Register for any of the others in this sequence and earn special tuition pricing.

Part I, Part II, and Part III $2690

Part I and Part III $1845

Part II and Part III $1900


Richard Reitz Smith

Richard Reitz Smith, recently, was selected as Book Artist in Residence at Maine Media Workshops + College where he wrote, illustrated, printed and bound a limited-edition abecedary of alliterative haiku. 

Richard received a BFA from Carnegie Mellon University in painting and illustration.  After working for three years developing products for Crayola and Liquitex, he returned to school and earned an MFA in graphic design (Tyler School of Art- Temple University). Then started a five-year tour of universities as an art and design professor which led him to New York City where he taught at Pratt Institute and School of Visual Arts. While doing this, he freelanced as an illustrator and graphic designer for companies like The GAP, Macy's, American Craft Museum, Metlife, Pearson Education and Scholastic. Then he took positions at Clicquot, Inc. and Clinique Cosmetics consecutively.  For Clinique Cosmetics, he managed multi-million-dollar, international, seasonal product and promotional launches as the director of package design-worldwide. For Clicquot, Inc. he was a one-person art department for the wine importer/promoter of Veuve Clicquot, Krug, Bouchard and many other ultra premium wines. 

It was in NYC, that he found and frequented The Center for Book Arts learning much about letterpress and the book as an art form. 

In 2002, Richard moved to Maine. He worked in-house at William Arthur Stationery and Briggs Advertising, then started Design& Smith Creative Ventures, a Camden-based art and design studio focused on creative custom solutions for visual problems. Richard’s work has won awards across a wide-ranging platform like logo and brand development, package design, print collateral, as well as book arts, painting and drawing.  He is comfortable marrying traditional skills with technology and often incorporates handwork into Adobe Creative Suite.   

Also, Richard is co-owner of the Letterpress Studio at Steel House Collaborative in Rockland where he has taught letterpress workshops.

Course Dates

Jul 2 to Jul 8




Class Size