A few years ago I started publishing an impromptu series of discussion posts on my LinkedIn groups to counter the naysayers who kept repeating the mantra. "Print is Dead!" As these pundits typed away at their keyboards I knew that print design had moved into the realm of the under appreciated. Despite this fact, a wry smile crept onto my face as I reflected that these pundits still needed business cards, packaging, corporate identity and printed collateral. We live in a virtual world accessed by smart phones, tablet PCs, laptops, desktops and touch screens.
Yet everyone of our devices came in packaging meant to extend the allure of our fetish objects. The demand for print design may have contracted, but will never go away. We are human and we respond to the tactile.
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Be sure to scroll down to the end of this post to see the first LEVIS' Workshop videos Printmaking
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Though I was originally pulled in by the Printmaking video, the Levi's Ready to Work campaign struck a chord with me and possibly every other American who has ever been laid off. At the risk of being suckered by Madison Avenue, I love the new campaign because it reeks of Made in the USA — even though Levi's are no longer made in America.
Never-the-less, the sentiment is there and the feeling is authentic, if not genuine. (full disclosure, I do work in advertising/design) The Levi's Ready to Work campaign and its real-world extension the Workshop Project extols an appreciation on something near and dear to my heart, traditional print design. I design mostly for the web these days. Though it is the work of Wieden+Kennedy, it is a campaign that Hal Riney might have dreamed up. All advertising aside, it is true that there is nobility in an honest day's work.
With copywriting like this how could you not be moved? From the press releases and the FAQ on the website:
WELCOME TO LEVI's WORKSHOP
This summer we've opened up our doors for the first of what will hopefully be many Workshops scattered across our fare country. The Workshops are places for creation, inspiration, and collaboration. We're excited to bring the first of these experiences to life right in our own backyard. Located in San Francisco's iconic Mission District (home to one of the first Levi's® factories), we've opened up a community print shop. During July and August we'll be hard at work teaching classes on classic letterpress machinery, screenprinting designs, setting type, and getting our hands dirty.
The Levi's® Workshops have mapped out a series of collaborations with local businesses and community groups to create original artwork and inspired designs that honor their respective passions and ideals. You can see the full schedule of events on our calendar.
We'll also be working with other Bay Area pioneers. These are folks who have inspired others and trod down the not so beaten paths on a mission to do something different and challenge convention. These amazing souls each have a powerful story to tell and you can read about their work with us here.
AN ENDURING SPIRIT
As the world has become more reliant on conveyor belts and less on individual craftsmanship as the norm of production, one might be forgiven for believing something integral to the process has been lost. Speed is no substitute for elbow grease, though, and pride and hard work are resilient qualities. This is what Levi's® Workshops are meant to be about. And in an age where anyone with a computer and an opinion can disseminate their thoughts on the internet in just a few minutes, the time is ripe for a return to the roots of meaningful communication. Levi's® will provide the means, you need to provide the heart and sweat. We invite you to join us in San Francisco–or somewhere else along the road–to roll up your sleeves and get to work."
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We Are All Workers: Levi's Workshops - Printmaking
Let's stop talking about it and start doing it. Levi's® Workshops invite you to roll up your sleeves, get your hands dirty, and get down to work. Join us at the print shop located at 580 Valencia St in San Francisco and look for more Workshops coming to cities across the country.