Essie Letterpress. Old World Charm, New World Design.

Essie Letterpress is a letterpress printing company run by husband and wife team, Ben and Vanessa Grib. They’re situated in an old shed on a beautiful farm in the Piekenierskloof Mountains near Citrusdal.

Letterpress is one the oldest forms of printing which is one of the reasons we love it. During the 1950s, advances in machinery caused this type of printing to be overshadowed by more modern processes.

The actual printing is a time and labour intensive process. The letterpress punches the designs into the paper, creating a beautiful relief not achieved with other kinds of printing. The look is clean and crisp and gives the products an old worldly, handcrafted feel, which makes them different to anything printed on more modern machines.

The impression depth (how far the type or artwork is pushed into the paper) can range from a kiss to a heavy impression, depending on your requirements.

Vanessa (Ess) studied interior design in Cape Town for a few years, before moving to San Francisco and attending art school. It was here that she came into contact with letterpress and instantly fell in love with the tactile quality and old world charm of the prints.

She then worked and travelled around the world, including South America and Europe, before returning to live in Cape Town. After marrying Ben and settling on the farm, she realised that she needed a creative outlet - and so the idea for Essie Letterpress was born.

Ben is a designer and illustrator who also runs the family farm. Previously he worked in Cape Town managing a fruit marketing company, but he used to spend all his free time teaching himself design! His biggest influences are Saul Bass, M.C. Escher, old text book illustrations, advertising for the 50s and 60s, comic books, his farm and vintage science fiction movie posters

Get in touch with Ess at

or  Ben at

You can also give them a call on 022 921 3789

and visit their web

All works © Essie Letterpress 2013.
Please do not reproduce without the expressed written consent of Vanessa Grib.