We’re almost at the point where we can say ‘back in the day.’

When Smokeproof Press was born, letterpress printing was an endangered art form. Now, it’s enjoying a resurgence as people seek more personal, tactile methods of communication. And we’ve been a part of the resurgence, adding our own perspective and funky spin to the contemporary letterpress scene.

Our Story

Hand-set type to small press imprint to job printing.

Smokeproof proprietor Brad O’Sullivan discovered letterpress printing as a graduate student at the Naropa Institute in the early ’90s. After taking an introductory letterpress course, he continued teaching himself by reading everything he could find on typography, printing and design, and collaborating with dozens of writers and artists in the production of chapbooks, broadsides and book covers. He eventually began teaching letterpress printing at Naropa in 1996 and continues to this day.

After graduating, Brad continued honing his letterpress skills by taking on jobwork, collaborating with local and national writers, and publishing a small line of chapbooks under the Smokeproof Press imprint. He worked for several years in the paper industry, both commercial and boutique, and assisted a local paperie in establishing a custom printing business. In 2004, he moved all of his equipment into a proper workshop and hung the shingle under which Smokeproof Press continues to grow and thrive.


What projects work with letterpress printing?

Just about any project can work via letterpress: Invitations. Postcards. Business cards. Tickets. Chapbooks. LP & CD covers. Birth announcements. Greeting cards. Labels. Posters. Hangtags. Liner notes. Presentation folders. Letterhead. In short, we print a little bit of everything, so the best way to understand what we can do and how we do it is to actually look through our work.



Collaboration, always.

Before we can determine the scope and the cost of your project, we need to know at least the basics of the design. Smokeproof Press offers two design options:

  • We can design the job for you
  • You can provide us with a press-ready design.

In the former case, we’ll happily work up a design estimate for you based on your specific needs and desires for the project. If you already have a completed design, or if you’re working with a designer, please refer to our design specifications to ensure that your files are ready for print.

We’ve collaborated with dozens of clients and designers across the Americas and Europe. Whichever design option you choose, we’ll do our level best to achieve outstanding results based on the design and materials specifications of your project.



Letterpress and beyond.

We’ve got equipment in our workshop that allows us to offer both letterpress and a full range of services related to letterpress printing. For the most part, there’s not much we can’t do; here’s what we end up doing most of the time:

  • Letterpress printing
  • Larger format printing (up to 13 × 19)
  • Trimming
  • Diecutting
  • Corner rounding
  • Saddle-stitching
  • Perforation (standard & pinhole)
  • Scoring & creasing
  • Blind (no ink) debossing
  • Embossing
  • Drilling
  • Coil binding
  • Singer sewing

Consultation and education

Old-school in a new way.

Brad teaches undergraduate and graduate students at Naropa’s Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, and he’s a letterpress instructor for Naropa’s Summer Writing Program. Additionally, he has assisted individuals and schools to both set up letterpress workspaces of varying sizes and to fine-tune workspace operations.

As a consultant, Brad can assist established and aspiring letterpress printers in everything from shop layout to press maintenance & repair and nittygritty printing techniques.

A reversal of the apprentice scheme: we’ll come to you.

At this time, Brad is unable to offer letterpress classes at the Smokeproof Press workshop. However, he is available to travel to your printshop as a consultant or to teach. Teaching subjects may be introductory in nature, for uninitiated printers or enthusiasts, or they may be more specific for printers looking to hone their skills or to learn how to use, maintain & troubleshoot a particular press and its idiosyncrasies.

Please inquire about Brad’s availability for consultation and teaching.



Word of mouth, and then some.

Much of the work we do is a direct result of satisfied customers passing the word along. And sometimes we’re lucky enough to be recognized outside of our customer base. We feel honored to be included in the contemporary letterpress conversation. Here are some excerpts of past clients’ kind words, followed by a few links to print and online publications where the story of our work and the work itself have been spotlighted:


We knew we wanted our wedding invitations printed using letterpress; what we didn’t know is how difficult it would be to get a response to our inquiries. When we finally discovered Smokeproof Press, Brad e-mailed back almost immediately. He was approachable, knowledgeable, and ever-patient with our scattered decision-making process. He didn’t balk when I said I was a designer and wanted to assemble my own designs. When he discovered I had (of course!) made a stupid error that would require some finessing during the printing process, he communicated options quickly and clearly, and worked with me to find an ideal solution. Despite the problem, he still beat his standard delivery timeline by almost two weeks. I cannot stress enough how much Brad showed genuine enthusiasm for us and our project. Our items turned out exactly as we had envisioned — the quality was exceptional. We can recommend Brad and Smokeproof Press without hesitation.

Andrew W., Wedding Client

Our clients demand the absolute best, so we use Smokeproof Press for nearly all our letterpress needs. Brad is a bona fide artist, delivering perfection piece after piece after piece. With beautiful impressions that strike the balance between texture and legibility, the finest attention to detail, an exemplary work ethic, and a working relationship that is refreshingly easy, Smokeproof is simply the best there is.

Michael Radolinski, Micheal Henry Events Creative

We’ve been lucky enough to be able to use Brad’s expertise in a variety of projects where he’s always over-delivered on both the quality and the design of his letterpress pieces. His vision has changed the way we do business.

Cristin N., Frasca Food & Wine

Brad’s level of skill, professionalism, and knowledge of printing is extensive. His attention to detail exceeded my expectations. He made me feel that my project was as important to him as it was to me. I was very pleased with the end result. I highly recommend Smokeproof Press to anyone seeking a high quality and thoughtfully executed product.

Michelle W., Interior Designer


Communication Arts Magazine
The Hallmark Channel
Print Regional Design Annual
The Knot Magazine


Website Design & Development

Original Branding & Logo Design

Brian Oliva

Content Management System

Videography & Production

Trent Davol


Adelle and Adelle Sans by Veronika Burian and José Scaglione
Dharma Gothic by Ryoichi Tsunekawa
Alianza Script by Manuel Eduardo Corradine and Sergio Ramírez



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Sorry, we were unable to find the defintion for this term. This is our fault, we probably put a thing-a-ma-jig in the whats-it spot.