About this Exhibit and Chapbook

Explore the McLuhan-inspired Letterpress Chapbook and Digital Tetrad

"A Tetrad" Letterpress Imprint
“A Tetrad” letterpress chapbook

The John M. Kelly Library celebrates its 50th Anniversary with the release of a chapbook designed and produced by Deborah Barnett in our Print Studio. A Tetrad is a hand-printed, hand-sewn and bound Coptic-stitched letterpress chapbook.

This chapbook – released at the Canadian Fine Press Exhibit – honours Marshall McLuhan, a St. Michael’s College professor who rattled the world with his take on the influence of media and technology. The chapbook is called A Tetrad and is both a hand-printed letterpress and interactive digital instance of McLuhan’s tetrad concept.


  • January 22, 2019

Created by

Photos by

  • Sheila Eaton

What is a Tetrad?

McLuhan’s Tetrad Concept

Marshall McLuhan’s tetrad refers to a set of four media laws he believed you could apply to any human creation, from ideas to artefacts. When a new brainchild appears, McLuhan says, it affects existing culture in four ways: it Enhances, Reverses, Retrieves, and Obsolesces.

See the “A Tetrad” video below.


By galvanizing a new possibility


By taking a new possibility to such an extreme that it eclipses its original intention.


By dipping into the historical-cultural bank of human experience to adapt an old idea.


By nudging aside current ways of thinking.

A Tetrad: Letterpress

What is “A Tetrad”?




The digital instance of A Tetrad “nudg[es] aside current ways of thinking” and channels its bespoke letterpress counterpart.

The Canadian Fine Press Exhibit microsite is featured on a series of iPads at the Kelly Library and invites exploration.

Interactive Digital Tetrad

The interactive digital version of A Tetrad enables guests to contribute their ideas to Enhances, Reverses, Retrieves, and Obsolesces.

Purchase a Copy

Signed by Michael McLuhan • Limited editions • Letterpress printed on 100% cotton paper • Die-cut and hand-sewn

Buy a copy of this chapbook

One Chapbook . Two Numbered and Signed Editions.

Both sets of limited editions are signed by Michael McLuhan. Chapbooks are letterpress printed from plates on 100% cotton paper and are die-cut and hand-sewn.

Pamphlet-stitched: 125 copies


plus $20 shipping and handling

Coptic-bound : 25 copies


plus $20 shipping and handling