Archive for July, 2009


Just got blogged by our client, Gavin Wade. We made these fabulous super thick black cards for him, using a pewter foil and white foil. You can’t use ink on the black paper very successfully because that dark paper will bleed through. When you use foil, it’s completely opaque and you can get these amazing effects. It’s excitng reading Gavin’s blog notes:


WOW! We just received our B-E-A-utiful new business cards! If you haven’t checked out our new logo, these cards were designed to accompany the new look of Gavin Wade Photographers!

We’ve rebranded after less than a year and can’t wait for this logo and our new card to be the carrier-pigeon for our business into the foreseeable future! You’ll have to see it for yourself, but man alive are we proud to hand these guys out to our brides! Even our banker that we met with over the weekend emailed us, saying that he’s had it on his keyboard for the past two days and people have been asking about it left and right!

We have to give a huge thank you to Zida over at Studio Z Mendocino for these gorgeous letterpressed cards! It was a total custom job, and Zida was so fantastic at working with us every step of the way. Even the boxes she delivered them to us in were amazing! I’d highly recommend her to anyone who wants to have their cards stand out amongst all others ūüôā

Also, we need to give some love to Ross and everyone over at Flosites for their creative design of our logo and business card layout! They make sure you’re completely satisfied with your design, and that meant the world to us!

It was so much fun to work with Gavin, especially becaue he got engaged right in the middle of our work together and I got to read all about his wild plan for popping the question. So happy. I have the best job in the whole world because I get to work with these glorious human beings. Thank you, Gavin. I know these cards have a certain letterpress power. Ask your banker!

I wanted to mention too that, yes, we do lots of business cards, but don’t forget our fabulous wedding invitations, our incredible ad campaigns, our rack cards and stationery, our everything printed media. It’s kind of one stop shopping.

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Studio Z Mendocino is proud to have designed all the printed advertising for this year’s upcoming ART IN THE GARDENS, the primary fundraiser for the Mendocino Coast Botanical Garden, the only botanical garden in the United States that is situated right on the coast. It’s a beautiful day of Art and Craft, with Pacific vistas, masterful gardens, great wine tastings, food yumminess and community love fest-ing, and, guess what, you still have time to get tickets for the August 1st affair. Here are some of the pieces we created using featured artist, Julie Higgins’s ravishing painting, “Back to the Garden.”

This is the rack card:

AIG Rack Card_Page_1

And this is the paoster:

AIG Large Poster FINAL 18 x 24

We also did this post card:

AIG Post Card_Page_1

We are all so excited for the big day to arrive next Saturday. Will we see you there?

As a designer, there is nothing more exciting than feeling into an event and a piece of art and matching the typography and layout to that mood. My experience with this image, Eve in the Garden with her pomegranates and figs, and the ubiquitous raven… the glowing color palette that just reaches out and whacks you over the head…now, that was what I call FUN, that was happy. Never mind that I totally adore Julie-Higgins-the-person, anyway. This is my first go-round getting to play with her scrumptious work and also my first time to work with the Botanical Garden here, so I feel doubly blessed.

Make sure you get your tickets soon: www.gardenbythesea.com

And if your business or non-profit is planning an event for the next year, please don’t hesitate to call my studio here on the Mendocino coast to see what we can do to increase attendance and get noticed. We love this type of thing very much and get very good results.

Here is the invitation to the unveiling of Julie’s painting:

AIG Unveiling Invite

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It was exciting to work with Stephen Dohring on his new super-thick, black Museum Mount business cards because he had definite, strong ideas and at the same time was wonderfully flexible. Once again, the full 1/16 of an inch thickness of the paper takes maximum punch, with no flicker on the other side. We used a silvery foil on front and back and as you can see, they are stunning show stoppers.

Stephen also ordered script cards and square flap Cranes #10 envelopes, plus 5.5″ x 4.25″ mailing labels he can put on big black envelopes and boxes. We used gorgeous Cranes Crest 28 pound¬†papers for everything, and printed in dense black ink, the essence of letterpress printing…


The third dimension of letterpress printing showed off his gorgeous logo to full advantage. This is the essence of letterpress printing. It says what it means and means what it says: It says, “I am serious. I pay attention to detail. I have an eye for quality.” You can see Stephen’s amazing eye at stephendohring.com.

We were thrilled to get his note when he received his parcel of freshly printed collateral:

“Got everything! Killer job. I thought I would be impressing people with my cards and thank you notes but now I think I am influencing them! lol¬†¬†¬† thanks again! Steve”

Thank YOU, Stephen, it’s our pleasure.

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Studio Z Mendocino designed the promotional advertising pieces for Mendocino Music Festival for the second year in a row. The logo we designed last year carries through everything, even though we changed the colors and musical image completely. When I do a logo, I like to make it as flexible as possible, so it can be played with in all kinds of ways while strongly retaining its branding mojo. The MMF logo is a perfect example of this. Big, bold lettering, all lower case sans serif, can be split up, run up the side, and really used in every way that’s required of a mark, with no question about who’s boss around here. Set over this year’s egg yolk yellow and deep orange color palette, it draws the eye with a vivacity that echoes the Festival’s eclectic appeal. I love this photo by Nicholas Wilson that shows the great white tent on the glorious Mendocino headlands.

Mendocino Arts Mag 3

If you’re in the neighborhood, may I say there could not be a better way to spend an evening (or two) here this coming week than to get a ticket to one of the concerts at the Mendocino Music Festival…IF you can wangle one, that is. During the first week, the tent was quite often sold out. Aside from the stellar posters and other things we did for them, this year’s concert offerings have been uniformly delicious…thrilling, inspiring, breathtaking, swinging…love, love, love!

Believe me, I hate to listen to people rhapsodize over music they just heard as much as you do, so please forgive my gush…

I have been Festivalized…Wednesday, The Seldom Scene brought down the tent with their full, fat bluegrass sound and harmonies that pulled us into the ecstatic zone. La Boheme made me cry all over the place on Friday night. Alexander Markov produced nothing less than rapture in the village both times he played his violin. And last night’s Big Band night was a triumph, particularly Julian Waterfall Pollack’s breathtaking arrangement of My Funny Valentine. Brilliant piano improvisation by Julian, jamming away with the full band, and his dad, Allan Pollack, the conductor, who blew a scintillating sax vamp that brought down the house. Ja’i Michele chanteused her sparkly red dress through a plummy lot of favorite standards with moxy and verve. This week’s lineup is amazing too. Particularly a coup to have Joshua Redman here from New York on Friday night.

It’s been fantastic to be involved in the promotion of this incredible community event this year and last, and especially to see that sales are actually up. People usually associate Studio Z Mendocino with letterpress printing, but you can also find us doing other types of printing and lots of design and ad campaigns and printed collateral of all sorts. I designed the posters, the ticket brochure, rack cards and a ton of print ads, plus the program cover. Above is one of the ads and below is the poster. We also did the Mendocino Music Festival’s web site, which you can go buy tickets from right now. If there are any.

8.5 x 11 Yellow Poster FINAL

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Parker Reposa, Foundation Photography Business Card

Parker Reposa is a gifted thirteen year old photographer from Corona del Mar. These are the letterpress business cards we made for him and his company, Foundation Photography. Printed on 600 gram Cranes Lettra in two colors of gray, understatement speaks volumes about the quality of Parker’s work.

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This is our little 1927 hand fed C&P (stands for Chandler & Price) printing press. We still use it now and then. It’s like one of those really feisty old grandmas who like to wear sneakers and go to parties…


I am having a Wayzgoose this year, to celebrate my twenty-fifth year in business. It will be held in my shop in Fort Bragg, on First Friday, November 6th. Sometime I will tell you what a Wayzgoose is, but you can look it up in the OED if curiosity won’t leave you alone. I’m too busy to go into it right now.

I was just writing a comment on a blog that put one of our business cards on a list of twenty outstanding letterpress business cards — http://bestdesignoptions.com/?p=5384#comment-7802

The author spoke about “ramming” the type into paper and I had to add this to his description:

Having been at this for 35 years, I have seen a lot of changes in the way letterpress is done. When I started, we just hand set everything in lead, one letter at a time, into a composing stick. I still have many zillions of pounds of type at my shop in Fort Bragg, California, if you are looking for any. (I have to sell some of it to make room for a new imagesetter, so call me up if you are interested.) Each letter is a separate piece of metal, so designing was REALLY hand crafted. In the process of my apprenticeship, the way type looks and acts was actually imprinted into the muscles of my fingers, so that when I started doing computer designing, the look of my design work retained the letterpress aesthetic very naturally through knowing spacing quite thoroughly in my body. It’s so exciting to see how letterpress style has developed over time and with the advent of photopolymer plates and younger artists coming into the craft, influences of modern graphic design, MTV, grunge and whatnot showing up in this living artform.

In those days, the idea was just to “kiss” the paper with the raised type, so barely any impression showed. You can see this effect in old letterpress books; you have to hold the printing in bright light and sideways to it to even see any impression at all. This was to make the type last, as they used to say, “for the life of the printer.”

When I came to the craft, many type foundries were still in business, though much of the letterpress business had lost out to more modern methods of offset printing. You must notice that since Gutenberg developed movable type, taking business away from the scribes and putting reading in the hands of ordinary people (royalty and rich people were up in arms about this and the scribes were up in arms about losing their jobs), printing has been this dynamic, inventive, ever-evolving thing, with digital printing now taking over where offset left off (offset printers are up in arms about this). It’s always a big revolution, but I have been so out of the mainstream that I once had a show called “Ten Years of Letterpress Printing In the Wrong Decade.” Now look what’s happened. Letterpress is so back in style they are blogging about it. Even I am blogging about it.

When I opened my own business, in 1984 (yes, this is my 25th anniversary), type foundries had already started to go under and I have seen almost all but a handful go extinct. Most of my lead type is now on its second or third printer’s life anyway. But every impression takes a little toll on the soft lead/tin/antimony pieces of type, so we used to really try to protect it from smashing, or ramming, as you say. It was a point of pride not to let the impression show too much. Nowadays, of course, people really put way too much impression on, but that is the style and I am all about style so we do it too, and I have started to embrace the look very much. I mean, if you are going to pay a dollar a piece for your business cards, you really want people to know it is letterpress! Letterpress has taken on a much more sculptural intention, the message is in the sculpture as well as in the actual information conveyed so you have this incredible amount of juju in a very tiny piece of paper.

We also never, EVER used to do big solids with dropped out type, but have been forced kicking and screaming to that as well, and now we do love the look, though technically, it is a harder thing to make it work and usually will have to be run separately from finer type so the fine type is not mushed up by the extra ink you have to carry for heavy coverage. We have been loving Cranes 600 gram Lettra, of course, for it’s cracker-thick weight, so it can take that kind of pressure without too much flicker on the back, as well as black and other colors of heaviest Museum Mount. My friend asked me why we just didn’t print along the edges, there is so much room there.

Wdcut Flower Pot

Anyway, I am going on too long for a sound byte (!) but was very inspired by these twenty beautiful pieces of art. I am so proud of belonging to this newly revered coven of letterpressers (letterpress is often called The Black Art, and anyone who does this work really knows what that means). I have seen its popularity rise and ebb a few times, and always just loved it so much every single day. It is some kind of magical thing, and has its own power, which is what people feel when they are handed a business card with such richness of art, beauty, history and craftsmanship layered into it.

Very best,
Zida Borcich
Studio Z Mendocino

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Baechtel Creek Rack Card FINAL

“To sit in the shade on a fine day and look upon verdure is the most perfect refreshemt.” Jane Austin

Jan Rodriguez, at the Baechtel Creek Inn and Spa in Willits, California, needed a new look, new ads, and new rack cards that really expressed the allure of her location, location, location, which is in the very Heart of Mendocino County, central to everything people want to see and visit, with the extra, added attraction of the beauty and serenity of her place. Her inn is so beautiful and luxurious, a surprise in the middle of a town that is not usually associated with indulgences like spas and gorgeous decorating. The resulting rack card we designed for her captures the mystery (and “verdure”) of northern California’s spectacular redwood forests. We used a photograph taken by noted Argentine photographer, Pablo Abuliak, who also shot the header photo on the beach for my blog. Baechtel Creek Inn and Spa offers a different take on “nature” and “nurture.”

Here’s the back of the rack:¬† Baechtel Creek Rack Card back

Next time you come to Mendocino County, you can make Jan’s Inn and Spa your headquarters for exploration into every corner of our incredible county. After your hike in the woods, you can get a massage and hot tub — what could possibly be better than that?

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