Prelogram craft print

Hot Metal, Hot Pizza, Hot Chip | Prelogram Launch Party

CARDPRESS# launch party - linotype, operators & vintage industrial lighting
The launch party for the Prelogram and Print Club London cards and new website was on Thursday 17 October 2013 in London. It was a satisfying return to our roots - Urban Cottage Industries, the company behind the Prelogram and Factorylux brands - kick started the industrial lighting phenomena in 2007 from a Dalston flat less than 1/2 a mile away from the party venues.

Launch party photos

The Linotype machine in action at the launch party at M C MotorsThe Linotype machine operator at the keys producing slugs of type People watching a Linotype machine in use at the launch party A Linotype machine in operation at the launch party Urban Cottage Industries vintage lighting illuminating the printing at the launch party Wide angle view of the print room at the launch party People customising greetings cards using Adana printing machines at the launch party cinematic photography © Alex Parkinson


The party celebrated the alliance between Prelogram and Print Club London to create greetings cards featuring the artwork of Print Club’s amazing artists (Margaux Carpentier, Pure Evil, James Joyce, Anthony Peters, Alice and Rose Stallard). Prelogram uses traditional printing techniques (Linotype and letterpress) to produce cards which have a fundamentally different quality to those produced by modern digital print. The combination of artwork, typography, card stock, ink and production methods combine to give the cards a tactile or organic quality. And because the impression made by the press is different each time, every card has its own unique quality. The greetings cards feature ten original designs and are available to personalise and order here.


The components of the memorable night were: 1,800 bottles of beer; 1,200 mojitos; 800 glasses; 857 keen guests; 500 limes; 250 pizzas; 600 metres of fabric cable; 180 filament light bulbs; 50 litres of rum; 30 vintage shades; 25 up-for-it Urban Cottage/Print Club staff; 15 journalists; 10 works of art; 8 kilos of sugar; 6 great artists; 5 boxes of fresh mint; 4 Adana printing machines; 2 inimitable venues; 1 each of a hot-metal Linotype machine and a sound system; 1/2 a ton of crushed ice; and 1/5th of London electronic music band Hot Chip.

Guest list

There was open house for journalists and media in the afternoon. Free tickets for the evening were available to customers, friends, family, suppliers and contacts by registering in advance online. The evening was all about having a good time rather than doing business or making connections: definitely partying, not marketing. Thanks to those who dropped us an email to let us know that they could not make it - you allowed us to squeeze in every plus-one (and some or plus-twos...) up to midday on the day. We ended up with a full-house of 857 people.


The launch party kicked off on Thursday afternoon at the Rio Cinema on Kingsland High Street with a showing of Linotype: The Film. Prelogram helped fund the film in 2011 when starting out on the experiment with hot-metal typesetting. We are sad to hear of the Rio’s current difficulties and hope our booking out the cinema for the afternoon/early-evening made a modest contribution to its future. The Rio is both a beautiful art deco cinema and a historic local landmark - Dalston would be a culturally poorer place without it. After the Rio, the party moved on to the Aladdin’s cave that is M C Motors just off Stoke Newington Road. M C Motors was home to car mechanics and boiler engineers, but is now a fashion/music/film location used by everyone from Rihanna to the Royal Opera. Although it was our first time at the venue, Factorylux lighting has made several previous appearances - most recently on Dara O’Brian’s Science Club which is filmed at M C Motors. It’s obvious why Factorylux bulbs and fittings are used in the venue - they complement perfectly the faded industrial elegance.


Entertainment was provided by a selection of Prelogram's vintage printing machinery which was installed at M C Motors for the event. One of Prelogram's hot-metal typesetting machines was running all evening casting slugs of type from molten lead at 280° celsius/540° Farenheit. Guests specified what text they wanted and placed their order with one of Prelgoram's Linotype operators who cast the type. When cast, guests took their slugs of type to the team of Prelogram's printers who showed them how to use small hand presses to personalise cards as a souvenir of the evening. Print Club London created a gallery space to show the original full-size screen prints from their artists, together with information about them and their work. The artwork and cards looked sensational set against the distressed walls at M C Motors. Another room was set up as a cinema with Linotype: The Film showing on a loop for those who missed it at the Rio Cinema. And, of course, there was music expertly mixed by Simon Singleton and Felix Martin from Hot Chip.

Food and drink

The cocktail menu was restricted to the classic Cuban mojito: muddled mint, sugar and fresh lime juice; followed by crushed ice, white rum and soda water. It’s a labour intensive cocktail but a magnificent team of seven managed to cope with demand. The food was pizza was from the brilliant Bosco & Bee and a wood-fired oven in their Piaggio van. It’s definitely not industrial catering: they make their own dough and tomato sauce, and import their cheese from Italy. The Bosco & Bee team were hand-rolling, topping and baking pizzas all evening: their claim to make truly delicious pizzas is absolutely true - the 50 pizzas an hour they were making were disappearing as soon as they were ready. You’ll find them around London at markets or events or they can be booked for parties.


Thanks to all who came and made it such a memorable night. We are working hard on new products. It won’t be long to our next shindig. Follow us on Twitter or Facebook to make sure you don’t miss out on information about future events. The UCI team had a fantastic night. Special thanks to: Kate, Fred and the Print Club London team; friends and family who were so generous of their time (Alex & Pam, Hannah & Nicola, Dian & Chris, and Ben C); the hot-metal team - Phil & DSP; DJs Simon & Felix; the Rio Cinema & Castle Gibson; Douglas Wilson for Linotype: The Film; and finally, the UCI team who stayed in Yorkshire to make sure production and dispatch did not miss a beat. See you at the next Urban Cottage Industries/Factorylux/Prelogram party...

Press reviews

  • LETS BE BRIEF: “So…are you press or a guest?” “Errr, both I think…” was my answer. While sounding like a man trying to blag my way into the Print Club London / Urban Cottage Industries #Cardpress project launch... Imagine a Willy Wonker print-making derivative and you have some idea of a machine and print process... UCI’s ‘About Page’ makes for an advanced guide in both business ethics and wider socio-economic theory..." read the full article
  • RES: (translation) "I went to Print Club and Urban Cottage Industries press party (heh) yesterday, where the companies celebrated having rescued and restored the UK’s last significant collection of disused original linotype print machines. It was a pretty damn brilliant event, with mojitos, beer, pizza and popcorn and the chance to get your own postcard printed on the functioning linotype press, so cool! Also nice to see both old buildings and old print machines get new life…" read the full article
  • PRINT WEEK: "a retro take on the modern concept of online personalised cards... at MC Motors in Dalston last week (17 October) where revellers were invited to get their fingers inky by printing their own line of linotype text (produced live at the event) on an Adana hand press..." read the full article
  • CREATIVE REVIEW: "Prints and equipment were on display at a launch party in Dalston on Thursday night, where 800 visitors watched linotype demonstrations and tried their hand at letterpress, customising cards designed by Print Club creative director Rose Stallard. UCI technicians also talked to visitors about linotype's development and its widespread use in publishing and poster printing from the late nineteenth century until the 1970s.... At Dalston's Rio Cinema, UCI screened Douglas Wilson's Kickstarter funded film, Linotype: The Film..." read the full article
  • WE HEART: "During the event, the wondrous machines were not just on display but in full operational order. ‘Clink clink swish clink’ could be heard all evening. Eager fans and curious folk gathered around to catch a glimpse of the beasts in action and try their hand at Linotype’s smaller forefather; the letterpress... Here’s hoping that the future of the Linotype machine is not over just yet and that in years to come we continue to appreciate beautifully set type the traditional way…" read the full article
  • P AND W: "The many technicians on hand at the event were so full of enthusiasm, that it was difficult not to feel equally passionate about this historic form of printing. Thank you to Print Club London and Urban Cottage Industries for this unique evening of illustration, typography, history, film, lighting and music with complimentary popcorn, pizza and drinks…" read the full article
  • PEOPLE OF PRINT: "they hosted a party at MC Motor situated next door to Print Club, and invited friends and fans down to get inky and see a Linotype machine working. Over 800 people came down to drink mojitos and Brew Dog beers, eat pizza and watch as Phi, Dave,Stan and all the master UCI technicians showed the audience the ropes of a Linotype. The machines were a spectacle and the evening was incredible…" read the full article
  • DIGITAL ARTS ONLINE: "The artwork side of the cards is printed using an original Heidelberg press, while the type is applied using one of the UK's only still working hot metal linotype presses… Attendees got to see the linotype machines in action, as they'd been shipped down specifically for the event..." read the full article
  • IT'S NICE THAT: "With a bunch of great designs from illustrators and designers using vintage typography which is printed on Britain’s last hot-metal linotype operation, Print Club London boast that their printing is “how it used to be: noisy and beautiful,” which funnily enough is just how we like it too…" read the full article
  • SWIRL TOWN: "It’s not only mass constructed by a appurtenance – there’s a male using that appurtenance and lovingly attending to it. We have a outrageous repository of prints that have sole out and cant be constructed as strange sealed prints again though a consternation of this is that now we can furnish cards and people can still suffer them...” read the full article
  • CREATIVE INSPIRATION: "Vintage lighting brand Urban Cottage Industries has teamed up with Print Club London to launch a range of letterpress prints and cards made using linotype… Prints and equipment were on display at a launch party in Dalston on Thursday night...800 visitors watched linotype demonstrations and tried their hand at letterpress…" read the full article
  • STYLE SIGHT: "Last week Stylesight went along to their launch at MC Motors; a stunning venue next door to Print Club, London....whilst drinking mojitos and eating pizza, we watched as master technicians showed us the ropes, partying and printing into the night!…" read the full article
  • THOROUGH CREATIVE: "Vintage brand Urban Cottage Industries has teamed up with Print Club London to launch a range of letterpress prints and cards made using linotype...UCI owns one of the few remaining linotype collections in the UK…" read the full article
  • CASTLE GIBSON: "After the film which was shown at Rio, we moved on to the Aladdin’s cave that is M C Motors...It’s obvious why Urban Cottage Industries' bulbs and fittings have been used in the venue – they complement perfectly the faded industrial elegance…" read the full article

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