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Sarah McCoy owner of The Permanent Collection

Welcome to The Permanent Collection Letterpress + Design Studio (@thepcpress). The Permanent Collection is located in Des Moines, Iowa and is owned and operated by Sarah McCoy. Sarah established the company in 2007 with the acquisition of her first press, a Vandercook SP-15 during the summer of 2006. The Permanent Collection is a studio specializing in graphic design, fine press products, and vintage letterpress printing.

The Permanent Collection is a design studio specializing in: identity, branding, social stationery, greeting cards, broadsides/posters, and custom printed work. In this day and age of digital dominance, there has been a marked response to The Permanent Collection's hand-inked, hand-cranked letterpress creations. Sarah's background in graphic design allows her to create meaningful solutions, unique imagery and gorgeous typography to visual communication."I like to think The Permanent Collection has a "permanent" place in the celebrations and marked moments in my clients' lives." 

The Presses

Letterpress products are printed on a late 1950s Vandercook SP-15, 1913 Chandler and Price printing presses. Sarah also has a few other smaller presses that she takes for "show & tell." Over the past decade Sarah has purchased, used and sold some of her presses: a Heidelberg Windmill, C&P Craftsman, Proof-press and a Kelsey small table-top press.

Sarah's print and design work is unique, hand-fed and mixed with custom ink. Designs are created with polymer plates, metal type or from her vast collection of vintage woodtype.

The Designer/Printer

Sarah received her B.A. from The University of Iowa in 1999 in Graphic Design and Journalism. After completing her degree she went to Austin, Texas to work as a graphic designer in a corporate design group for National Instruments. In 2001 Sarah began graduate studies, receiving her M.A. in 2003 and M.F.A. in 2005 also from the University of Iowa in Graphic Design. Sarah also received a Graduate Certificate from The University of Iowa Center for the Book in 2006 with a concentration in Letterpress and Artists Books. She is a full time tenured professor at Drake University in Art + Design, Graphic Design department.

Design work includes brand extension through a variety of collateral pieces some digital and some letterpress for clients both big and small. Notable clients include the University of Southern California, Madsen Cycles, PaperChase, PaperSource, various design firms authors, organic farms and social media influencers and brands.

Sarah’s work has been featured in several publications, such as Interrobang: A Showcase of Contemporary Letterpress Works, Princeton Architectural Press, Midwest Living Magazine, and 1,000 More Greetings: Creative Correspondence for All Occasions (1000 Series). She has participated in group exhibitions in galleries in Portland, Minneapolis, Asheville, Nashville, New Haven, Australia, Sao Paulo and other international locations. Her artist books are part of several University Libraries, such as Yale, Wesleyan, UC at Santa Barbara Davidson and UC Irvine Library. She has presented her letterpress research both nationally and internationally most notable at ATYPI's (Association Typographique Internationale) annual conference in Brighton, England in 2007 and led letterpress workshops nationally and internationally like ATYPI's letterpress typography workshop in Antwerp, Belgium in 2018.

You may find her various essays and texts in Princeton's Architectural Press on early colonial women printers entitled, "They Were There Too" and “Typographic Form and the Permanence of Letterpress Type” and in an essay entitled: “Analogue Aesthetics.” “The Means by Which We Find Our Way: Observations on Design,” Waikato Institute of Technology in Hamilton, New Zealand, 2008.