Musician, artist & designer Bruce Licher has been credited with starting the trend in letterpress-printed CD and record packaging using industrial-style chipboard. His graphic design and letterpress work has been featured in two major design exhibitions at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York City, and exhibits at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art in Scottsdale, Arizona. Licher's letterpress creations for the music industry have twice earned him Grammy Award nominations for best album package.
Bruce Licher founded Independent Project Press in 1982 after learning the art of letterpress printing at the Women's Graphic Center in downtown Los Angeles. His initial projects centered around creating album covers, postcards and promotional stamps for his band Savage Republic and for releases on his Independent Project Records label. It didn't take long before he was producing work for other L.A. underground music groups, along with a growing number of clients in the Los Angeles design community and an array of better-known musicians such as R.E.M, Harold Budd, and Stereolab.
Licher continues to translate his signature artistic design aesthetic to other products: book, magazine, catalog design, elegant and creative business stationery, wedding invitations, wine labels, promotional stamp sheets and booklets, and other letterpress-printed ephemera for clients large and small.
Licher currently works out of his studio on WIllow Street in the Eastern Sierra town of Bishop, California.
“Bruce Licher’s career exemplifies the entrepreneurial, do-it-yourself ethos that many designers and artists embrace today... Exploiting the potential rawness and imperfection of letterpress printing, Licher uses inks that don’t completely cover his surfaces, and he allows relief characters to bite into the page... The graphic identity for Independent Project Press revels in the material qualities of letterpress printing. Licher has made a fetish out of the routine ephemera of paper correspondence, creating not only business cards, letterheads, and envelopes, but also his own simulated postal stamps and bank checks. To create these pieces, Licher assembles minute typographic elements and prints them in multiple layers of ink. He designs a new piece when supplies run out, insuring that his brand image remains in flux-- appropriately “independent” -- rather than freezing into a rigid identity.”
Ellen Lupton - excerpt from Design Culture Now exhibition catalog
for the First National Design Triennial at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, 2000.
Bruce Licher's work can be found in the following permanent collections:
THE SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION'S COOPER-HEWITT NATIONAL DESIGN MUSEUM, NEW YORK
NY MUSEUM OF MODERN ART, NEW YORK
EXPERIENCE MUSIC PROJECT, SEATTLE, WA
SCOTTSDALE MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART, SCOTTSDALE, AZ
NEVADA MUSEUM OF ART, RENO, NV