Archive for 2009

Hiram Trillo, a Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, photographer with award-winning style, sent us this photo shoot of his new business cards and other branding elements we produced for him here at Studio Z Mendocino. The square business cards, with Hiram’s iconic monogram printed on our favorite Cranes Lettra 600 gram, super-thick cover stock in a water-colored metallic foil (if your water is the Caribbean), and letterpressed black ink, like the photographs he takes, change mood, hue and tone according to lighting and angle.

In Hiram’s own words:

Since I can remember, I always wanted my own business and business cards. To me a business card speaks volumes; once in a while you find that perfect match.  To us, Studio-Z was that match.  Zida Borcich is an incredible individual that just clicked. Zida and her team took the time to understand what we wanted and designed a business card that defined our studio.  She took it one step further and designed envelopes, letterheads, and thank you cards.

2009 was an incredible year for us. We had a our first magazine feature in Bodas USA, we worked with some amazing couples, had our first magazine shoot with Brides of North Texas, were featured photographer of the month on the PhotoBiz Blog, met some amazing photographers, assisted JVS and Anne with their lighting workshops, and, to finish the year with a bang, we have been nominated for photographer of the year by PhotoBiz.  This is a great honor for us to be categorized with some incredible photographers. This is an open competition so any one can vote.  We appreciate all votes and spreading the word.

The cards, as well as the rest of the stuff, make our logo stand out in a beautiful sea of blue foil — a literal reflection of our work.  I wish I had the words to describe how happy we are with the final product, but since we are photographers — and a photograph is worth a thousand words — here they are…

This was a book Hiram’s father gave to him, “Misterio del Hombre”

He said the blue foil looked just like the colors in this favorite old book and he just had to use it in this shoot.

It was a great pleasure to work with Hiram through the entire process of creating his stationery wardrobe. We are so happy with the results and with his wonderful and enthusiastic response to it all. Thank you, Hiram. Your work is beautiful, and we wish you every good thing in the coming new year and decade. We strive always to make business cards and stationery that reflect that level of uniqueness, quality and artfulness. We are so happy to know you and to have had the good fortune to work with you.

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Law firms tend to be very conservative in regard to design and color: read that, black ink, white or cream paper, no embellishments, formal, button-down and serious. HAN Legal‘s newly designed logo and letterpress printed papers prove this can be accomplished with elan and grace. Beautiful and chic, these pieces adhere to the strictest rules of conduct while setting HAN apart from the humdrum by miles.

Hilary Newcomb asked us to make up announcements for the opening of her new law office. We printed them on gorgeous Cranes Lettra 600 gram paper in black ink, with the little bar in cappuccino pearl foil that says “LEGAL.”

The purpose of an announcement is to call attention and to be remembered. The memorable announcements we did for HAN Legal succeed on both counts:


To finish the stationery wardrobe, we made A-7 Correspondence Cards for thank you notes and other, less formal, communications that don’t require an entire sheet of letterhead, and also Mailing Labels that can be attached to 9 x 13 black envelopes or put onto boxes.

Correspondence Card

Mailing Label

Whether attracting clients or working on a case, corresponding on beautifully designed, letterpress printed materials will make a significantly more professional and lasting impression.

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Hilary Newcomb, opening a new law office in Portland, Oregon, was looking for a logo that would be chic and elegant while still conforming (somewhat) to the extremely conservative aesthetic most attorneys favor. After receiving a parcel of samples from Studio Z Mendocino, she realized there were options she had formerly not known existed, like the super-luxe Cranes Lettra 600 gram paper we love to print on, and Cappuccino Pearl foil. Hilary gave me free rein to create away in the best way I love to do. She was so open and fun to work with and the resulting stationery wardrobe and business cards received this accolade from her: “LOVE ‘UM!”

Zida’s positive and creative energy is contageous. Her enthusiasm made the process exciting and fun with every step during the creation process of the design. She is bubbling over with ideas and creativity, and was also helpful to streamline my overwhelmed and chaotic perspective regarding what I thought I wanted with the design. Seeing the final product makes me proud and thrilled at the same time. I love looking at the gorgeously fat and rich business cards with my simple yet elegant design. I’m so happy with everything and am really enjoying my newly printed works of art!! Thanks again!  H

Thank you, Hilary. We love how everything came out too. Satisfaction all around!

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Matt Land is on a trip to Mexico and promises to send me more photos of the letterpress business cards we recently made for him at Studio Z Mendocino. This is the INCREDIBLE teaser photo he sent me today. I love it so much I could not wait to show it to you. I too have a thing for Mexico…there is just no place like it. My favorite destination. I can’t wait to see what he sends next.

Matt’s cards are foil stamped in two foil colors: a pewter-y silver and a shinier silver on super thick black Museum Mount. They are the ultimate in understated cool. Here is what he said from the road:

Hi Zida,

I just wanted to drop a line, I’m still down south on my trip, but wanted to send you this and say once again that I love the cards, they are perfect!

I really do enjoy shooting weddings, but there is something about Mexico…so this photo is close to my heart, and where i hope the business that these cards brings me, will keep me traveling to.



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From Shari DeAngelo: I want to tell you how wonderful the cards are.  It’s absolutely fascinating to watch people’s reaction to them.  I cannot tell you how much I love them.   LOVE them.

Shari DeAngelo’s new logo is quite unlike anything I have created before. Shari wanted everything to look organic (and chic), as well as BE organic (and chic). This was one of those Divine Intervention things. I drew the tree and showed it to Shari and that was it. For the heck of it, I made a posse of other trees but I knew the first one was the real beauty. I could tell by how hard my heart pounded when I finished it.

It was tremendously satisfying to work with Shari on her new branding because she had a very clear idea of who she is and what her brand means, yet was amazingly open to the creative process and what it brought forth. We used khaki colored Museum Mount, pressing the tree in pearl foil and her name in gold foil on the front, and brown ink on the back. We went for an unusually deep hit on the front side to give it an almost bas relief effect. This paper is so thick that it can take this kind of treatment and not put too much of a flicker of impression on the back side.

We made thank you notes and envelopes for Shari. Above, you see the big, triangular back flap of her envelopes.

Out of the offcuts from her cards, she had us make little hole-drilled hang tags, which she uses in a multitude of ways. All of Shari’s packaging is green, green, green. Nothing wasted, nothing that is not recyclable and recycled. She uses burlap bags for her dvds, rafia ribbons for tying, and eco-packing for shipping prints. It is this kind of conscious monitoring that will save the world, one decision at a time. She thinks about every single thing she sends out and its impact on the environment, all the while retaining her vision and aesthetic.

By nature, letterpress printing has always had a much smaller footprint than other forms of printing. There is much less paper wasted in the make-ready process than any other type of printing, and we save almost all the scraps, either for running smaller jobs or giving to the schools for kids to do art projects. And because we use smaller quantities of everything, more recycled and cotton papers, less environmentally objectionable solvents, our shop fits more snugly into the way we all ideally think about our beautiful planet. No print shop is entirely free of toxins, but with soy inks, smaller runs, less electricy useage and recycling everything, we do as much as we can, as consciously as we can to make the least impact on the environment that we possibly can. It is a pleasure to work with clients like Shari, and like DeAnna Reposa of Simple-Peace.com, who take this as seriously as we do.

These shots of Shari’s cards speak for themselves. Green is beautiful. Thoughtful design is beautiful. Inspiration is beautiful. Collaboration is beautiful. Eco-chic is beautifully chic. These qualities show up in the reactions of prospective clients who receive them, in the eye of the beholder, and in the heart of our beautiful world.

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Everybody is drawing names and worrying about what to get for so-and-so, who needs so many things (or already has everything he or she needs). Not another necktie! And slippers…nuh uh… Cozy jammies are always nice, but maybe there is something even more appealing and creative, don’t you think? A fabulous and elegant solution to the yearly dilemma could be a Gift Certificate for Graphic Design and Letterpress Printing from Studio Z Mendocino. You still have time to order one and have it delivered in time for the Holidays, all gussied up in a pretty colored envelope, letterpress printed on premium paper, in the amount your budget allows.

Your special someone will appreciate having personalized letterpress printing and creative work done up by the designers and crafts people here at Studio Z Mendocino. To get some idea of the array of work that is available, go to our web site www.studio-z.com or look around on our blog for more recent work. A calling card, correspondence papers, stationery, a new logo, extraordinary business cards for the entrepreneurs on your list, or even something toward the bride and groom’s upcoming wedding invitation.

Name the amount you wish to give, send us their names and addresses, and we will take care of it from there.


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Cappuccino-colored, opalescent foil on khaki-colored, super thick Museum Mount, sculptural impression, edgy design

The insanely talented graphic designer B. Ryan Hunley just sent me an email with a description of the work we did together that resulted in these sculptural, edgy letterpress business cards. I share it here with you:

Zida: I cannot thank you enough for your incredible insight and understanding of the creative process. Throughout the design and printing of the cards, you were incredibly accommodating of my incessant questions and indecisiveness. You have the unique ability of working well with creatives, sharing your knowledge and thoughts while still staying true to the original vision.

As a creative professional, it was important for my card to be an impact piece. Everything from the weight, the texture, the composition had to push an image for the Second Street brand in addition to serving the utilitarian role of a business card. Thanks to your wide ranging resourcefulness (both tangible and intangible) I think we were able to work together to create something that exceeded my expectation, a rarity when dealing with fickle creative types. This is a testament to your vision and professionalism. Thanks so much!

Ryan Hunley, Art Director  Second Street Creative   317.426.9799  www.2NDcreative.com www.twitter.com/2NDcreative

Thank you so much for your complimentary words, Ryan, and beautifully written note. It moved me very much to read it. I  feel appreciated and very happy to receive such praise. Slightly blushing right now.

We went for a bit deeper impression on Ryan’s cards than we ordinarily would. It was an artistic decision, and it works with this crazily thick paper, which takes the sculptural quality of letterpress to the outside edge of the possible.

It was our pleasure to work with such a great design and designer, and a great and fun collaboration. Always, stretching what we know is the most fun part of what we do at Studio Z Mendocino.

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As a Letterpress Printer, I have a certain standard to uphold in my own business cards, don’t you think? We are always fooling around with our next iteration. Sometimes it is vertical, printed on cream colored paper, sometimes a little folder, 2.5 x 2.5, with a lot of info printed on the inside. A small book. The last ones we did up went on to, of course, Cranes 600 gram Lettra, long, skinny, a little flash of gold foil. I love them but they are missing one thing: EDGE PAINTING. When I run out of these, guess what’s next…yep, can hardly wait! Remember Jason Huang and Andrew Chan’s? I’m jealous now…

Edge painting really IS the new black. Dreaming of what color I will put on mine. Carmine? Puce? Maybe just Table4’s turquoise… or FUCHSIA!!!!

Anyway, here is how the back of my present card looks:

My name in lights. Well, in ink. There is just something great about passing out cards that make people go…Hey!

You know?

One of the great perks of having your own press is that you get to play. While printing up the last batch, Rhea Rynearson, my fabulous presswoman, threw on some gray museum mount and put silver foil on instead of gold. Ohhh!!! Then she threw on some khaki colored museum mount and printed it in burgundy ink and gold foil and that was beautiful, too. Sorry I didn’t take a photo of that one. She even went really crazy and printed a tiny few on this amazing kiwi colored paper that I adore. They are all gone now, sadly. That was the limited edition.

One thing this illustrates is that a good design will work in a lot of ways, and it needs to. When I design a new logo, I always go for maximum flexibility. You will be putting it not only on business cards and stationery, but rack cards, on your web site, your fax sheet, your ads, your TV show, your window, engraved on your granite column and, of course, on your delivery truck. Each medium carries its own strictures and limitations. That is a lot of work for a logo to do so it had better be adaptable.

With my own branding, sometimes it’s one color, sometimes something else; sometimes it’s stacked vertically, sometimes horizontally. I even change out the decoration on the Z. I know it’s breaking the immutable law, but call me a maverick. If it needs to be black and white, I make that work too.

As I was telling a client the other day, a logo is a TOOL. It should not rule you, you get to boss it around. That’s my Sunday morning wisdom so far today. Stand by. There may be other gems coming from my fingertips in a minute.

Another perk of being a Letterpress Printer is I get to collect Letterpress treasures like these flowery initials. So yum.

Here is how I decorated my Z on my digital rack card. Call the cops!

Letterpress Printers, like everybody else, want to hand you an over-the-top little thing that tells you about what they do in the most fundamental way. A business card becomes a form of semaphore: turning traffic your way in a blizzard of other people’s less interesting offerings. Call today!


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Plain old chipboard gussied up to Green

When Julia Conway, foodie extraordinaire and co-owner of Stella Cadente Olive Oil Company, came to me for her new business cards, I showed her some very gnarly chipboard with lots of organic matter evident in the texture, thinking it would look great with their distinctive Stella Cadente logo. She loved the idea and loved the finished product just that much, as did Lewis, her business partner.

Texture, color, thickness — Chipboard adds up to a great look for business cards that represent hand crafted, sustainable foods and other environmentally pertinent products

I reworked the layout, turned it on its end, and played matchmaker between the muscular paper and environmentally sound intention of Stella Cadente. Black ink (soy based, of course), front and back, impressed with enough bite into the 100% recycled paper to give one more bit of third dimension to these yummy cards.

— Totally recycled, super thick paper —

Stella Cadente flavored olive oils are one of life’s non-guilty pleasures. Nothing but big, gorgous flavor to put on everything from your salad to your baguette, even in your cake. Meyer Lemon, Persian Lime, Rosemary, Basil…How can it be so perfectly good for you as well?

How many foodies do you have on YOUR shopping list?

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The Bracebridge Dinner Company — Photo by Lani Spicer

Last summer I had the great pleasure of having dinner with Andrea Fulton, producer, director and star of The Bracebridge Dinner at Yosemite, and her partner Lani Spicer.

Andrea Fulton

It was a very fun dinner party with our friends Howard Ennes, who invited me in the first place, and Cindy Frank, whom I have known and loved for years, at a little restaurant that overlooks the Noyo Bridge and the fishing boats making their way in from the day’s work.

We had such a great time that evening, I invited Andrea and Lani to come visit my shop on their way out of town the next day. They did come, though later on, Andrea told me she had not really been that interested in seeing a printshop, but they decided they liked me enough to make the stop. When they came in and saw all the work and designs and samples we have around, Andrea and Lani both kind of flipped about everything.

We ended up spending a couple of hours showing and telling, laughing and screaming, and then sending them off with piles of samples to show to her business partner, Margo McCarty. It turned out they had been trying to get a business card they really loved for ages, and when she saw all the stuff in my shop it seemed they had finally found the person who could give it to them. They had.

Fast forward several weeks…all three of them made a field trip to Fort Bragg to see what I could come up with. They had certain elements already in place, like the jester’s hat, and strong ideas about what they wanted the card to “say,” that impression that had to have so much in it about their incredible work.

It’s not usual to have this happen, but we spent most of the day working away, all putting in opinions, dreams, ideas, on all the elements, sort of “design while-u-wait,” with a wise break in the middle when they all traipsed off to get a coffee and ended up going on a shopping spree. When they finally got back with valises full of clothes, I had came up with a design they absolutely adored.

After our day’s labors, we all went out to dinner again to celebrate our long collaboration and happy success. These foodies are definitely my kind of people!

As you can see, we printed the cards up on our favorite, super-thick, 600 gram Cranes Lettra, using black ink and copper foil on both sides. The cards embrace both edges of the personality of the amazing extravaganza Christmas pageant, held each December at The Ahwahnee in Yosemite — the opulent, artful, delicious side…AND…the funny, goofy, tongue-in-cheeky side as well.

We are beside ourselves to be going to The Bracebridge Dinner at Yosemite this year, the SIXTIETH anniversary of the show. The experience of doing these business cards with Andrea, Margo and Lani was so much more than a business transaction. We all ended up falling in LOVE with each other. How can I possibly be so lucky in this life and work I do? I dunno. I am so happy about it though.

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