What do you do? / What do you print?
Signal-Return is dedicated to teaching, promoting, and preserving the art and craft of letterpress printing. We are a letterpress print studio in the heart of Detroit’s Eastern Market neighborhood.
How long have you been here?
Signal-Return was founded in 2011 by Toby Barlow and Ryan Schirmang.
What used to be here before?
As far as we know, a business that made egg crates was located in the space first. The Johanson Charles Gallery was located here in the 90s.
Printing at Signal-Return
Do you teach classes?
We have an extensive workshop program offering classes in letterpress printing that are geared to all curious beginners. We also have more advanced workshops for those with experience, and often offer classes in the book arts. Find out more about our workshop program here.
I’d like to make something in your studio. How do I get to use the space?
Sign up for a workshop or book a private lesson with our Printer-In-Residence. Once you have completed two workshops or a private lesson, you are eligible for Open Studio time to work on various projects. Although you may have a background in printmaking, these supervised options allow you to become familiar with our space and for us to assess your skill level. Find more private lesson information here.
I’m eligible for open studio hours, how do I sign up for press time?
We are excited to have you in the studio printing! You have a few options for booking open studio time.
ONLINE - Request open studio time with the form located on our website here.
PHONE/IN PERSON - Call the shop or stop by during our business hours to speak to one of our team members who can get you slotted in.
Do you print business cards?
We prefer to teach you to print your own business cards. We offer business card printing workshops where you can print cards yourself and leave with a stack of personalized business cards. If you are unable to come in for a class, we recommend contacting our friend Tony at Berci Letterpress, 248-350-0206.
Do you print wedding invitations?
We recommend you sign up for guided shop time, where you will be assisted in creating and printing the invitations yourself. Once completed you can sign up for open studio, where you can use the space to print more invitations or any other projects you would like! Find more information here.
I want to make a poster. Will you print one poster for me?
Letterpress printing, like other handmade printmaking techniques, is an edition based process (multiple copies of the same print). It is not economically sensible to create just ONE print, as the pre-printing preparation is fairly labor intensive. But that means you can create more than one copy of your print, to give to friends and family or to sell!
Do you sell paper?
At this time we are not selling paper. See below for a list of our recommended retailers.
What kind of presses do you use?
We work and teach on Vandercook proof presses, Chandler and Price platen presses and a large bed converted etching press. Please call us for specifics.
About Our Store
I’m an artist interested in selling my work in your store.
Our retail shop sells well-printed and -designed original edition prints and cards, focusing largely on the work of Detroit-based artists, along with Michigan and Midwestern artists. If your work fits this criteria, please contact our shop manager email@example.com with examples of the work and proposed price points (we work on a 50/50 consignment sale price with artists).
Is everything in your store made in your studio?
A number of our posters are designed and made right here at Signal-Return. We also offer a variety of handmade products made by fellow printers whose work we support but selling them out of our store. Although primarily letterpress, some of our products are created using other printmaking techniques such as screenprinting and risograph.
Can I get one of your posters in a different size/color?
What you see is what we have! The artist selects the size and color(s) that they feel express their ideas best. Since the artwork has been printed from a physical matrix, a new size would require a new matrix and reprint.
Do you print t-shirts?
Screenprinting, not letterpress printing, is a more fitting process for printing on fabric. The T-shirts we sell in our shop are printed by Detroit screenprinting studios Ocelot and SMPLFD.
Do you do offer private tours?
Absolutely! We have a variety of options for group visits, including a free half-hour guided tour of our print studio, where we provide an overview of our presses, type collection, and how the presses work. These tours must be scheduled at least 24 hours in advance. Find more information here.
Can I bring my class here?
We welcome classes from universities and high school arts classes. Please read more here about arranging a class visit or workshop.
How You Can Help
Do you have internships?
We are glad to have university students in the shop as interns. If you are interested, contact us and ask your academic advisor if you can get college credit for interning with us. At this time we can only offer internships arranged through an academic institution.
Can I volunteer?
Yes, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to get involved!
I’m not an artist, but I’d like to get involved.
There are many areas in which we would welcome volunteer help: data entry, set up for special events, etc. Please contact email@example.com to see how you might contribute to the success of Signal-Return.