Source: STAK — Steven Young’s Startling Silver-Edged Business Cards

A happy, joyful A and T dance all over Amber and Tim's wedding invitations

A happy, joyful A and T dance all over Amber and Ted’s wedding invitations

When my sis, Liz, called to tell me my niece Amber was getting hitched and asked if I would make her invitations, I was so happy about it. Liz came out to California for a visit from their Indiana home, and we went over things together at my sister Sandi’s summer place near the ocean. How should it be?…SIMPLE (many times reiterated). Check. Outdoorsy!! Check.

What are her colors? asked I. “Watery-aqua-ish-old canning jar color, and maybe silver,” replies she. Check! Old canning jar color it will be…

I later wrote to Amber about the discussion the mom and aunties had had, and sent her an idea (the one you see above): “Well, I got creative today, finally. I hope not TOO creative! I decided to make you a monogram but I didn’t want it to be a stuffy old monogram. Rather something happy, young, dance-y, fun!, and because you are getting married in the spring/summer, something that relates to that season. This is what I came up with. Do you see the “A” and the “T”? You will be able to use this monogram on lots of things, like your table tags or whatnot, or your stationery for your thank you notes. Your towels, the side of your delivery truck…[kidding]”

Amber had a BIG year…getting married AND graduating with a BA all within months of each other. We were all so proud of her. It made me very happy to create her wedding invitations AND to get to go out to the wedding with all my siblings together for the first time in a long time. Beautiful!

Amber + Tim's big square wedding invitation

We were going to do them digitally, but oh heck, this was too big for that. I ended up doing them letterpress on 300 gram Cranes Lettra, and mounting them on an “old canning jar colored” backing sheet. They are printed on generous six-and-a-half-inch square cards and the big seven-inch square envelopes sported the same monogram (of course). It really was such a family affair. My talented middle sister Sandi did all the flowers…

Auntie Sandi made Amber's bouquet

Auntie Sandi made Amber’s bouquet

And one of my favorite moments was before the wedding when all the sisters were getting dressed and made up in a big flurry…

Aunties and Cousins getting ready

Aunties and Cousins getting ready

Auntie Mary's cupcakes and hand made candies for miles

Auntie Mary’s cupcakes and hand made candies for miles

Auntie Mary made the cupcakes for miles and Uncle Joe and I catered the rehearsal dinner. Cousin Dylan did the wedding taco dinner that was ultra-yummy.

Indiana Gothic -- Uncle Joe and Cousin Dylan with the canoe paddle they used for their

Indiana Gothic — Uncle Joe and Cousin Dylan with the canoe paddle they used for their “guest book.”

A very wonderful time was had by all. Lots of laughs and lots of tears and lots dancing and lots of love.

Bella Viva Business CardDeanne England, the incredibly talented interior designer and owner of Bella Viva Interior Design, called me one day out of the blue. She was surprised to learn that my studio is only an hour-and-a-half drive from her northern California office. She was looking for someone to design her new logo, business cards, stationery, etc., and had found my website and blog, liked what she’d discovered there, and suddenly we were chatting excitedly away like two old friends making plans.

As with all interior designers I have worked with, she had many, many ideas and concerns, and at the same time she was wonderfully open to my input. After establishing a mutual recognition and rapport, we hung up on a note of simply infinite possibilities as I zoomed into my favorite space: the trance of design. Where does that thing come from? How does it work? Honestly, it’s the biggest mystery, and I love it.

Bella Viva Business Card BackOne of my favorite parts of the work I get to do is designing monograms. It just knocks me out. For Deanne, I drew a lot of little doodles all over everything I saw for the next few days. I had envisioned something very crisp and modern, yet classical — but I did NOT envision what eventually emerged out of my doodles, not at all: A playful little “flower,” a nestled b and v, very hand-drawn looking. To tell you the truth, I was a little scared even to show it to Deanne because it was so far away from what we had talked about! But I got up my nerve and pushed the button anyway, because I really loved it. The worst that could happen was I would go back to the drawing board, right? So there it was, traveling to her via a brave little .pdf attachment. Fingers crossed, I awaited her response…

close up

And guess what: SHE loved it too. LOVED!

The next step was designing the typography, which came together so naturally. And then deciding on colors: Deanne was definite — seafoam green and gold foil. That too was surprising…and perfect. These incremental decisions have so much importance when you are in the designing mode, patiently moving toward a final product. Each tweak, each gradation of color, each space between each letter…all come to mean so much to how a logo lands on paper and in how it is perceived by prospective clients. Everything has to ‘speak’ of attention to detail, to beauty, to rhythm and proportion, and mood, and a million unnameable things that play into what finally happens. This is the beauty of design and the beauty of collaboration.

In the end, we printed up an entire Stationery Suite for Deanne, all by letterpress and all just so beautiful. It included the amazing business cards you see here, letterhead and #10 business envelopes, thank you notes and envelopes for those,

Folding Thank You Note mailing labels, great big black envelopes with personalized mailing labels for sending out samples and unfolded sheets of paper, and the amazing press kits, which required a LOT of very special techniques to make them work.

Bella Viva Press Kit FolderEverything but the folders was printed on our venerable Heidelberg Windmill presses, as always, by Rhea Rynearson, the best letterpress printer I have ever known (and you should know her too), using age-old knowledge, intuition, and deep reverence for this 500-year-old craft we keep alive every day at Studio Z Mendocino! We are so grateful to have clients like Deanne England, who understand the power that resides in great creative design and beautiful printing.Inside pocket of press kit folder

_O8C1644Very happy to present one of our latest letterpressed business cards, which feature EDGE GILDING in silver foil. This is a new offering from Studio Z Mendocino. We have been edge PAINTING (in ink) for years and years now, but we can finally give you what you have been hankering for, for such a long time.

Steven Young has this amazing, riveting logo. That upside-down “A” just holds you for ransom.

P1050780One of the coolest things about this job was that Steven had me divide it in half: one part was done on 600 gsm WHITE Cranes Lettra; the other was done, in the same amazing electric blue foil on BLACK Museum Mount. All had silver edge gilding.

P1050784STAK Photography is Steven Young’s boutique studio in NYC with international, award-winning wedding photos. Visit his blog at http://www.getstak.com.

P1050782Even the back has his distinctive, edgy vibe. LOVE these!!!

I love the Irving Berlin quote: “Life is 10% how you make it, and 90% how you take it.” And Anatole France said, “To accomplish great things, we must not only act but also dream, not only plan, but also believe.” If you, like me, have been feeling a little harried lately, are facing something life-changing and hard, or are feeling like just plain giving up, this might give you a little boost: www.mybabysloveletters.com. My Baby’s Love Letters are big initials, framed and unframed, that are made up entirely of the words “I love you” printed over and over a zillion times. You can choose from your initial with a red foil heart or a gold star. They look amazing in a new baby’s nursery, on a big wall full of black and white art, over your boss’s desk (or your own!) …you think it up.

See more at: Love Letters for the World.

Love, and I mean LOVE, l-u-v…


Madly Fabulous Layered Letterpress Business Cards for Artist Zheng Chongbin.

P1050352P1050349Black/Orange/White paper laminationAbove are the business cards Studio Z Mendocino just completed for Zheng Chongbin. They consist of two pieces of 2-ply museum matte board, his name, in English and Chinese, blind debossed on the white side, and his contact information foil stamped in white opaque foil on the black side. The two thick papers were laminated together with a slip of bright orange cover stock between them. The little ‘sandwich’ shows the most subtle and startling dash of color along the edges of the cards. Zheng uses only black and white in his work, so the daring, bright orange slice is a nod to, perhaps, the incendiary creativity he brings to each of his paintings and enormous installations.

Zheng Chongbin, Untitled, 2014

“Zheng Chongbin’s artworks bridge the modernist concerns with the spiritual in abstraction and the post-modern deconstruction of light and space perception with a Taoist phenomenology of energy, material and “resonance” or qiyun. His practice encompasses biomorphic ink painting, abstract painting using traditional ink and acrylic on paper, large-scale ink installations, and video installation art. Positioning Zheng’s practice in a trans-national context, his work “simultaneously deconstructs the language of ink painting and plumbs the philosophical and practical depths of Western modernism.” from www.zhengchongbin.com.

Ink-Studio-01Zheng came to me through the recommendation of my great friend Michael Lerner. (Thank you, Michael!) He wanted some very special business cards to carry to his several upcoming shows in Berlin, at the Venice Biennale 2015, and in Beijing.

 "In Situ, 2009 This work presents the story of this actual site, drawn from memories, which link to the history of Shanghai. The installation uses rice to represent the landscape that resonates with this space and the narrative of its rising, glory, and deterioration in the past. Black and white are often symbolic of Hei Dao (“underworld”) and Bai Dao (“legal world”)." The installation above is describe on his website: ‘This work presents the story of this actual site, drawn from memories, which link to the history of Shanghai. The installation uses rice to represent the landscape that resonates with this space and the narrative of its rising, glory, and deterioration in the past. Black and white are often symbolic of Hei Dao (“underworld”) and Bai Dao (“legal world”).”‘
P1050353The cards we designed together merge utter simplicity with gorgeous materials. It was a complete pleasure to collaborate with Zheng, to find that spot where both of our minds and eyes and instincts engaged with the intention and produced something ephemeral and beautiful and useful.

Three Definitions of Air - 2013 - 55 cm x 70 cm

Three Definitions of Air – 2013 – 55 cm x 70 cm


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