Archive for September, 2009

Vanessa Wedding Cover_Page_1

Vanessa Gomez and Michael LaGatta will be married and have their receptions very soon in two, not merely one, fabulous destinations. The first will take place in Yountville, California at the superb Auberge du Soleil, and the second in MacCallen, Texas (The City of Palms), both in November. Above you see the front of their folder for the first celebration. It’s made from shimmering burgundy colored Stardream, with a band of paper and medallion that is letterpress printed with a yummy grape image we adapted here for her. Inside, the invitaion is tipped on (mounted) on the right panel, and all the extra pieces (directions, Rsvps) are tucked into the band on the back of the cover. Mary Meermans did the calligraphy for her envelopes.

Vanessa Wedding Cover_Page_2

Below, for the second, and much less formal event, is the Script Card invitation Vanessa tucked into a green #10 envelope. This one is for a Mexican Fiesta in Texas, and uses the historical town’s favorite trees as its motif.


These two invitations show the flexibility with which Studio Z Mendocino approaches design and printing. The first invitation is of course our specialty, letterpress printing. The second one, we did digitally, almost like an ultra-festive rack card/invitation. Totally fun and happy and much easier on the budget.

Here at our little printshop on the Mendocino coast, it’s a “wedding” of the very old and the most up to date, OK? We love that part! We also love working with Vanessa on her wedding invitations, all of them! You can see lots more of our spectacular custom letterpress wedding invitations at our web site studio-z.com. Or call for information at 707.964.2522. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

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Troy Covey Business Cards 2

Letterpress printers, like Studio Z Mendocino, traditionally have had a hard time printing big solids with knocked out (the letters are paper color) type, and we assiduously advise against it. Like, it’s against the LAW, OK? But just look!

Troy Covey brought us this great big idea for his business cards, and we took the bull by the horns and made it happen. We are proud of these cards because, not only are they incredibly impressive and bold, but they were a feat of letterpress bravery and prowess, maybe even sleight of hand, maybe even, how crazy can these letterpress printers get and stay out of jail?

I am quite sure that nobody who gets one of these cards can possibly know about the breaking of the LAW or the holding of the mouth just right as the oatmeal-thick ink smooshed around on the Heidelberg press’s form rollers. What regular, non-letterpress-printer-type people, perceive is the DIMENSION of it, the impression into the uber-thick Cranes Lettra 600 gsm paper, the way TROY COVEY stands up out of the gorgeous crimson, actually stands up so you can feel it with your fingers. It’s hard to understand it, just looking at the photos, but once you get your hands on one, you know there is something very powerful about this work. It’s a subtle, ephemeral difference that sets it apart from everyone else’s business cards. It is, in more ways than one, impressive.You can see the impression’s little shadow a bit more in the next photo.

Troy Covey Business Cards 5

Troy Covey Business Cards 4

When you make a card like this by letterpress, it is necessary to run the heavy coverage in a separate run from the lighter coverage of just the type on the back. So, even though this is all the same color, it was considered, and billed as, a two-color job, or a two-run job, if you will. If you try to run everything at the same time, either there will be too much paper texture bleeding through on the solid side or terrible gloopiness on the light type of the back side, destroying its integrity. So, although I am still discouraging this type of illegal activity, I wanted to gloat and brag a bit about the skill we bring to the fabulous craft of letterpress printing.

If you have something like this up your sleeve, you should take pains to make the knocked out type bold and big. A big solid with 6 point sans serif type in white would not be a successful plan, in most cases.

May I say, too, that I have been a letterpress printer since a million years ago, and I have know some truly great letterpress printers in my time, but I have never met any printer as good as Rhea Rynearson, who has worked here with me for almost half her life. Persnicketiness doesn’t tell half of it. She is an extraordinary craftsperson and it is amazing what she is capable of doing.

One more of Troy’s photos for good measure:

Troy Covey Business Cards 7

Thank you, Troy, for testing our mettle. We do love a challenge.

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As part of the ad campaigns I have been creating for the Mendocino County Lodging Association and the newly named Visit Mendocino County, Inc. I was charged to design a 10 x 10 foot booth. Look!!


It was design on a much bigger scale than usual (from business cards to billboards in 60 seconds) so it was a fun and interesting project for me. Mendocino County is overflowing with richness: our beautiful blue Pacific, of course, the interesting little towns and villages, the vineyards of our Anderson Valley wine country and our splendid redwoods — getting the message in a non-jumbled way is the trick. We used shots from our incredible local photographers, John Birchard and Rita Crane to tell the story.

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Here at Studio Z Mendocino, every day brings a new opportunity to bring people to their knees with beauty. Here is a letterpress business card we did for the stellar New York City photographer, Mercedes McAndrew. We love the monumental & stunning red “M” deeply impressed into our favorite paper, 600 gram white Cranes Lettra. Here are some photos Mercedes sent us just now. We only have one word to say about all this: WOW…


Minimalist WOWWWW!!!


It’s surprising that even though we printed these up ourselves we are still wowed by the power and gorgeousness of letterpress printing. One more:


What the heck, one more really:


Thank you Mercedes. We loved working with you!


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We just finished…mmm… I can only say… “manifesting” Jason Huang and Andrew Chan’s Table4 Photography edgy black business cards. I can’t just say “making” or “printing,” not even “creating,” because those descriptions would discount what happened in terms of the actual alchemy, the back and forth collaboration, the excruciating registration, the painstaking, pure, insane marksmanship, letterpress mastery and problem solving mojo of everyone involved.

The verdict is…”O M G!!!” from Jason.

Then they send me this MOVIEhttp://table4weddings.com/blog/2009/09/18/new-bling/


How cool are photographers allowed to be by law?

OK. So here is what is going on: Black, super-thick (over 1/16″ thick) Museum Mounting Board goes through the Heidelberg Windmill three times: One time for gloss foil for “Table4 Weddings,” so it is just pressed in very deeply with only the shine of the foil, no color, merely the shadow and mystery that can only belong to Huang/Chan. Second time for their names, in turquoise metallic foil. Third time for the actual information, in a sort of not-too-shiny silver foil. That is the letterpress printing part, three foils. Then we have to die cut each one. And then we send them to the edge painters who live far away. This is the coup de gras, the extravaganza of all business-card time. Brilliant turquoise matte ink applied along the edges of each and every card. ACK! It’s too great! See their web site at www.table4weddings.com.


I want to edge paint everything in sight from now on. My business cards, my stationery, the soles of my shoes. May I just tell you that Edge Painting is Rocking my World.

Here are Jason and Andrews own words from their blog:

We just received our gorgeous new custom cards from Zida and Joseph the other day and are soooo excited to share them with you all!

We knew we wanted something unique, cool, letterpressed, and black. We put together a few designs and sent them to Zida, and, since we don’t know the ins/outs of lettepress printing, she responded with ideas of her own. We spent a few weeks going over design and pricing until we ran out of temporary cards (below) and had to act.  We decided our business cards would be something that would set us apart from everyone else, that even if you didn’t like our work, you’d feel bad about throwing it away.  We chose a thicker stock and a non-traditional shape so it would stay on your desk, not in your rolodex (anyone still use those things??)

The cards would be a 3 run project. One run for the blind embossed “Table4 Weddings”, one for our foiled names, and one for the foiled info. We also wanted to experiment with edge painting, which was a little trickier to execute, but Zida made it work somehow. In the end, these are the fanciest cards we have ever owned and now we’re almost too scared to hand them out. Check out the sexy photoshoot we had with the cards below.  Aren’t they yummmyy?  Read about the technical info on her blog here.

Thank you Zida for giving us cards that we want to show off to every person we run into! Now, who wants one???

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Tim Sohn, a wonderful SF photographer, just sent us these incredible photos and these very kind words about the business cards and stationery we just designed and printed for him.


“’Wow! This is nice!’ That’s the reaction I get every time I hand out one of these beautiful letterpress business cards designed by Zida Borcich over at Studio Z Mendocino. Several months ago I started to explore rebranding Tim Sohn Studios and knew that there were two things I wanted – a new logo to represent our style of photography and stunning business cards that would reflect our commitment to high quality products and services. One day I happened to stumble upon Zida’s blog and saw her amazing work on other business cards. When I spoke with her over the phone, she understood exactly what I was looking for and there was no doubt she would deliver an amazing logo design and business card. The logo is in the symbol of an “S” for Sohn. The two circles represent wedding bands that are being joined together. The design was so good, I went ahead and ordered script cards and envelopes to match.

I’m so excited to hand these cards out. If you see me around, be sure to ask me for one. You have to feel it!”


Here are his Script Cards, which he can use as thank you notes, invitations to coffee, to paper clip to a bunch of proofs. They fit into his #10 Envelopes and are useful in a million ways.



We printed Tim’s business cards on 600 gram Cranes Lettra and his script cards on 300 gram Lettra. The extra huge square flap envelopes are Cranes Crest, all in Flourescent White. We love the soft, fluffy texture that takes the bite of letterpress so beautifully. Happy note writing, Tim. From experience, we know that when people receive their script cards and other thank you notes, there is a gigantic spike in thank you note writing. You just can’t help wanting to express your gratitude on such amazing paper. Thank you, Tim. It was our pleasure to work with you. Z

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If you could get a $10,000 job for an outlay of one greenback dollar, how would you describe your investment? Pretty great economy of scale. Or even a $5000 job for an outlay of $1.80? Still a pretty great ratio, no? Photographers and wedding coordinators, interior designers, contractors, lawyers, a zillion kinds of people are getting jobs of that scale every day, and they are getting them over their competition, to a large extent, because of how they present themselves. What do their clothes say about them? Their manners?

And, pertinent to this post, what is it their business card is saying? What are they leaving behind to remind people of themselves? A scrap of uninspiring paper with their phone number poorly printed on it, or a thick, impressed, well designed bit of information that speaks volumes about who they are, their attention to detail, their aesthetics and all with the implication of what kind of work can be expected of them.


In an economy in which people are thinking “thrift, thrift, thrift,” spending money on anything besides groceries and medicine gets a long, hard examination. But it’s important to remember that people do not live by quick print alone. Art, beauty, simplicity, graciousness:  these are qualities civilization requests.

Probably the most-asked first question I receive from prospecting, possible future clients is: How much are these letterpress business cards going to cost?

After doing this for thirty-five years, I still have a hard time with this question. Not only because each job requires its own estimate that takes into consideration the number of processes it will require, the time, the supplies, outside vendors, the quantity, the number of different pieces — but also because I think I have a resistance to naming the number, as if these were just some commodity off the shelf.


I consider the letterpress business card a piece of art that works for its owner. It’s art with a mission, and the mission is attracting business to its owner. So it’s a lot more than a little piece of paper. It’s a representative, and it is powerful. It has the power to create curiosity, to sway opinion and it has the power to stop people in their tracks. I have long believed and seen the evidence, that there is a lot of power in letterpress printing, and that is its great value. It’s a hand craft and it requires a lot of patience and skill, not to mention time.  So, when I answer the most-asked question with, “Well, they are coming in around $.80 a piece, or $1 a piece, or $1. 30 a piece for the first thousand, not including design, many people take a little pause. It sounds like so much, and it is so much. Yet, the amount of work and talent and experience that goes into it…well, you would not believe it…And, will the cards you designed yourself and got printed by your neighborhood fastestcheapestprinter get you the kinds of jobs you want to attract? No guarantees, but ask people who have cards we have printed how they work, and what it feels like to pass one to somebody and watch the reaction of wonder.

The question, perhaps, might be, “What will these cards do for me and my business.” And the answer, perhaps, might be, “What do you expect them to do for you and your business?”

If two companies are competing for a job, and both are equally suited to it, their prices close, equally personable people, the business card you leave behind could mean the difference between getting the job and going home to do a little more PR. Letterpress printed business cards should be viewed as an investment in your business, like any advertising or marketing you spend money on, and one that will reap rewards for years to come.

Ben Chrisman Business Card

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Les Ham Bus Cards

You can mean business without going to the button-down zone. A case in point: Pinstriped business cards impart a subliminal zing with a thinking-out-of-the-box asymmetrical layout and name stamped in light catching gold foil. Printed by letterpress on thick white paper — we used 300 gram Lettra instead of the ultra-thick 600 GSM for this; an international traveler does not want to pack that much bulk — in black ink, one side only. Letterpress printing on the gorgeous, soft paper invites a deep impression that in turn deeply impresses. Boring does not have to equal businesslike. And flat does not impress like the tactile experience of letterpress printing’s signature texture, which leaves a stylish “pillowing” effect around each letter or image. Here, the stripes, too, have their own debossed dimension. Handsome, impressive, strong.

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