San Diego Creatives :: Tim Butler

I’m not convinced Tim Butler has clients. To my mind, Tim has a bunch of friends that come over to his shop, hang out a while, and pay him for his materials and time. A big grin and thick black glasses, he can carry a conversation well into the night, cracking jokes the whole way. He’s the guy you want in the middle seat of a long road trip.

As a San Diego native, Tim has been around the creative and music scene for longer than he likes to admit, and takes genuine pride in what he creates in all ways creative. Whether it’s rippin’ on bass with Sha Na Na on the weekends or printing another hundred plates on press Tuesday at midnight, he does it with his whole heart.

Meeting with Tim frequently over the course of the past few weeks, I began to understand a couple of important aspects of what makes him so successful; again and again, the importance of collaboration and a connected scene came up. If we can pile our resources together, we’ll create a much hotter flame to fuel San Diego’s creative core.

Tim works hand in hand with San Diego’s artistic talent and allows so many different perspectives a seat to the table. He’s at the heart of it all, with passion and gratitude; he becomes the engine behind projects large and small, for start-ups and the big agencies.

When you walk into Tim’s shop, there’s an energy abound that reflects what he represents, who he is, and what he has chosen to take on as his craft. Maybe it’s the texture of the wood, or the smell of the oiled machinery. There is a certain nostalgia you can’t help but feel when you enter the space; with it’s eclectic collection of various fonts, machines and other equipment that dates back to the mid 1800’s, something just feels vaguely familiar. Maybe it’s just the vibes you get, the positive energy, the sweat poured into incredibly creative projects.

Tim Butler is a masterpiece. Some call him the old grizzled one around the press because of his vast knowledge and experience, and he takes that as task to continue to teach the lessons he learned from the craftsmen he spent so many hours with growing up. It’s not so much about the final product as it is the process; Tim is in it for the machinery, and the feeling he gets when working with it. Tinkering on his 19th century equipment is a Sunday hobby, and when work becomes play, we’ve truly made this life what it’s meant to be.


Thank you Tim Butler for making Quality Letterpress pit stop number two on our journey to share the coolest, most inspiring folks in this creative town.

* Directed, Shot, and Edited by Shaun Boyte. **Article written by Shaun Boyte and edited by KELSEY BROWN. ***Huge thanks to Mike McCarthy for use of music in video portion of project.


  • Cody Small - This is beautifully done, great coloring too!. You’ve captured the craftsman that Tim is. San Diego is lucky to have him!ReplyCancel

  • Valentine Viannay - Well done Shaun, this is a great video! Love the angles, the close ups and color tones.

  • Hannah - Beautiful video and photographs. It’s so fun to think of a printing press as being art for me…when I think “press” I think of the giant machine that pumps out my news articles. Thanks for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • corbyn - This is sweet Shaun!ReplyCancel

  • Laurie - Makes me want to know this man, to be in his shop with him, to see his work, to converse one-on-one. Great work Shaun/Kelsey!ReplyCancel

  • Jacinda Buchanan - Great job Shaun, beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • Tam - I’m here via Tim’s sister, Carol. Thanks for sharing! Very cool stories and photos. I can almost smell the paper and ink!ReplyCancel

  • Ron Whistler - Nice work on the video. It looks great and Tim is an amazing pressman and person.ReplyCancel

  • Dana Chester - Wonderful. Thank you for the incredible tribute to an genuine artist. You wrote “He’s the guy you want in the middle seat of a long road trip.” Interestingly, that is where I met him: on a flight from Houston to San Diego. I admire him for keeping the letterpress artform alive. It is his bliss.ReplyCancel

  • Andrew - Excellent post Shaun! Tim’s work is awesome!ReplyCancel

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