Typesetting, and Moveable Type
in 3D

Learn More

3D Gutenberg Lab

We believe that in the same way the invention of Gutenberg’s printing press revolutionized the history of human knowledge in the mid-1400s, the impact of 3D printing is now changing how we undertake humanistic research, and how we study historical artifacts in a more engaging way.

By connecting letterpress printing – in the throes of a full-blown revival – and 3D printing, the 3D Gutenberg Lab aims to integrate old and new technologies to create a hybrid experiential learning and research opportunity.

Rethinking Bibliography and Textual Studies

By retrieving the art of letterpress and manual typesetting, the 3D Gutenberg Lab aims at developing a new curriculum model and fostering new research practices, involving students in experiential learning and experimental research.

3D Moveable Type

We are prototyping 3D printed movable type sets and implementing 3D models into letterpress and typesetting.

Manual Typesetting

We run experiential learning workshops in order to educate and experiment with typesetting and printing press processes.


We conduct projects that encourage innovative thinking with a combination of historical education.

Employment Opportunities (closed)

The Gutenberg Lab is hiring a Research Assistant to assist in 3D modeling. Autodesk Tinkercad basic skills and JavaScript/HTML5 Canvas advanced skills required.

Our Approach

3D Gutenberg Lab's interdisciplinary approach makes the project valuable not just for students and researchers, but for the greater community who are interested in unique technology and its aesthetics potential.

Experimenting with 3D printing technology and its relation to history.

The 3D Gutenberg Lab aims to experiment and develop the effective use of 3D printing technologies in order to revitalize the study of book history and print culture broadly defined.

Through the use of 3D printing technologies, we provide an opportunity to recreate moveable types that are otherwise too expensive for budgeting, the ability to digitally approximate damaged or worn prints, and most importantly, the learning experience of physical interaction and tactile manipulation of this technology.

Currently, there is little activity or mechanism in place to allow students and researchers to engage practically with letterpress and typesetting in the scope of the study of book history and print culture.

The 3D Gutenberg Lab offers an affordable and approachable way to fll this gap.

The mixing of technologies involved fits perfectly with the need to achieve enhanced digital literacy and strengthen the impact of practical learning to create a tangible, hands-on learning experience that benefits students and researchers in the field. The overall project serves as a benchmark to experiment and establish innovative teaching and research practices.

3D Type Generator



The 3D Gutenberg Lab is supported by the Book and Media Studies program at St. Michael's College in the University of Toronto, along with a grant from Advancing Teaching & Learning in Arts & Science (ATLAS).

Paolo Granata


Oktay Comu

3D Modeler

Deborah Barnett



Research facilities and resources

  • The Kelly Library Print Studio is an active letterpress print room and teaching space. From typesetting to fixing type, preparing paper, and inking and cranking a hand press, the Print Studio offers students – particularly those in St. Michael’s College’s Book and Media Studies program – a chance to learn using traditional fine presses like the C.M.C. Jobber Platen Press (ca. 1945), pictured here.

  • All students, faculty, and staff who hold a valid TCard can use the 3D Printers in the Robarts Digital Studio.

  • In order to preserve and pass on skills in letterpress printing and the care of its collection of nineteenth-century hand presses, the Robertson Davies Library has partnered with the Book History and Print Culture Collaborative Program to apprentice students in the Program and the Massey Junior Fellowship to the College Printer.

  • Johannes Gutenberg was our first geek, the original technology entrepreneur, who had to grapple with all the challenges a Silicon Valley startup faces today. Jeff Jarvis tells Gutenberg's story from an entrepreneurial perspective, examining how he overcame technology hurdles, how he operated with the secrecy of a Steve Jobs but then shifted to openness, how he raised capital and mitigated risk, and how, in the end, his cash flow and equity structure did him in. This is also the inspiring story of a great disruptor. That is what makes Gutenberg the patron saint of entrepreneurs.

  • Major transformations in society are always accompanied by parallel transformations in systems of social communication – what we call the media. In this book, historian Frédéric Barbier provides an important new economic, political and social analysis of the first great 'media revolution' in the West: Gutenbergs invention of the printing press in the mid fifteenth century.

  • Four seismic shifts have rocked human communication: the invention of writing, the alphabet, mechanical type and the printing press, and digitization. Poised over this fourth transition, e-reader in one hand, perfect-bound book in the other, Merilyn Simonds ― author, literary maven, and early adopter ― asks herself: what is lost and what is gained as paper turns to pixel?

The Gutenberg Deck

A Playful Guide to Book History & Print Culture

Designed to honour the legacy of the German inventor Johannes Gutenberg (c. 1400-1468), this 52-card deck is a guide to key terms, including illustrations and examples, used in printing history, bibliography and textual scholarship.

The Gutenberg deck was created by professor Paolo Granata for the Elements of Material Bibliography and Print Culture course at the University of Toronto, and for his students of the Book and Media Studies program. It was intended to help students become familiar with and remember unique terms from Gutenberg (print) culture and the history of books and their publishing.

This unique teaching aid aims to retrieve the intellectual legacy of Marshall McLuhan who, from the heart of St. Michael’s College, inspired young minds and engaged the public in probing the never-ending processes of the Gutenberg Galaxy.

An indispensable tool for bibliographers and historians of the book – it’s also a deck of cards to play with.

A limited first edition of an exclusive multiple artwork. [Order Here]

Enjoy being the most bibliophilic poker player at the table!