Archive for January, 2010

I designed this logo for Louis Bock, Chance Creek Winery‘s owner/winegrower many years ago, but only recently turned the design into a  business card for the busy Redwood Valley entrepreneur. I used a black/white duplex paper (the back is white) and gold foil, which gleams like a little piece of jewelry. Here are several more shots of his business cards.

Classic typography and a beautiful icon, perfect impression, a mellow gleam eliminate any need for more description. The card carries its own potency. This paper is quite a bit thinner than museum mounting board, which reduces the overall cost considerably, plus having the white back gives extra options for putting information on the reverse side or even writing things there, too. The intensely black color is attractive with any number of foil colors. Gold is rich and jewel-like: who is not a fan of a little impactful bling now and then?

It’s a pretty day on the Mendocino coast so I took Lou’s cards out to the calla lily patch to shoot them. I don’t recommend edge painting as much for this paper. It shows, but not as much as the hunkier museum mount, and, of course,  if it’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing.

Gold foil on black is a timeless, opulent combination. I highly recommend it as often as possible, as I do Lou’s Chance Creek wines, for which I design and print labels. Extraordinary, organically grown, beautiful wines.

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It’s very incredible how different media can change the mood and tone of a business card’s message. In this post you can see the same design, Kim Ashley’s AK Photography card, in many guises. The view above shows black ink that had to be run very heavily for coverage, on 600 gram white Cranes Lettra. Below the same design is in gold foil on a khaki green, very thick mounting board.

Rhea used the same plate to apply a mirror-like silver foil onto black Museum Mount 4 ply.

And this is what is looks like in pearl foil on a khaki-beige colored super thick museum mount.

Foils come in a number of finishes for each color. Although you don’t get as many choices as with a Pantone ink color book, there is enough variety to express subtle differences. This is pewter foil on black.

And  you can see what copper foil looks like.

Lastly, Pearl foil on black gives yet another dimension to the same materials.

You might notice that the effects produced by foils are what the makers of Photoshop intended designing effects like satin and drop shadows, except with letterpressed foils, the effects change with the angle viewed and the lighting. It’s a more dynamic thing, and very intriguing to me. We can guide you in the many available approaches to your next letterpress business card job. Think about what you want your look to express about your work and your aesthetic. Does a direct, classic, matte look tell the most about your style? Or do you like a little gleam, a little bling, or even perhaps a lot of bling? The sub-message is all there to explore.

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MY business card…just sold me a job! An artist hired me because of your artistry. Thank you forever. Big hugs & love, Cathy

    Simplicity itself. Cathy's cards were printed in turquoise and gray inks, front and back, on Somerset Watercolor Paper

The rave review I just got from Cathy Carpizo, my friend and client who is a gifted organizer in southern California, echoes the comments I get from so many of my clients. That is, that interestingly designed, beautifully printed letterpress business cards are worth their weight in diamonds in terms of landing business. My wedding photographer clients tell me, “I am booking jobs left and right. At shows, when I pass these out, brides just stand there with my card in their hands and their mouths open. They often say it’s the business card that sold them on me!” All this is tremendously satisfying to hear on my end. One of my aims in my work is to make the most beautiful, clever, artful things I can, but an even more inspiring aim is to make an effective selling tool for my clients. It’s the message that defies words, telling so much about you in one glance…

Here is the back of Cathy’s cards so if you need to get organized in the New Year you can hire the most amazing and creative person on the planet for that job:

The price of letterpress, indeed, is higher than that  of many other forms of printing. The price of a good logo design and good typography exceeds that of DIY or that of a friend who just got a new program and wants to give a design away. Is it worth it to have a professionally designed and printed business card at upwards of a dollar apiece? Does it result in more business, better branding, more confidence when you present yourself? That dollar can attract more and better clients and pay for itself thousands of times over. Ask Cathy.

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We recently had the pleasure of working on business cards for Seattle photographer Matt Land. The cards we printed for him echo Matt’s hip, true-life, documentary style, and he designed the typography himself. We used a silver foil next to an opaque white foil on super-heavy Museum Mount paper that is over 1/16 inch thick, for an incredibly sexy, subtle, soulful result.

Matt went to Mexico right after he got his cards. He told me in an email that he kept thinking he would get over his new cards but he just couldn’t. He loves them. Here is a shot he sent me from the Yucatan.

What tickled me the most was when he emailed me that, “I finally get to make the Studio Z blog!!” Like, I am so trendy. Haha. I can’t stop smiling about that comment.

I really love these photos Matt just sent to me. So much. Also, having the same kind of pull to that region of Mexico…it’s really so cool to feel the way making 1000 business cards has this crazy impact in the world. Where do they all end up? What do they do when they land there? What actions are caused by them? A thousand different answers, a thousand chances to be remembered. It’s this feeling of interconnectedness, my own mission/vision of making the world a more convivial place by making bits of paper that communicate so much more than somebody’s phone number. This is what I love most about what I do.

Can’t you just taste the fun Matt had getting these kids to pose with his Matt Land business cards? It makes me want to take a trip to Mexico right now, this minute.

It’s not just what happens once we ship them out either. The way we work seems to be some kind of magical juju that creates friends too. There is so much interesting conjecture and trial and error that goes into the planning of doing a card or invitation. Matt and I had a lot of conversations, a lot of interesting creative collaboration before these bits of information made it into his carry-0n. This too enters into the interconnectedness I feel so strongly. It’s a form of friendship and I treasure it very much.

I know for sure that I am not merely in the business of graphic design and printing. I am in the business of relationship, connection and communication. I thank Matt and all my incredible clients every day for giving me these opportunities and these life-enriching experiences.

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Stacy Naquin’s photo shoot of her recently completed business cards is completely like… VOGUE or something. I love it that the “models” were created by me and Studio Z Mendocino printer Rhea Rynearson. Stacy said the silver foil often gets lost in photographs and she wanted to show the amazing thickness of the stock, so she had Kim Ashford of AK Photography (another of my fabulous clients), take these shots. They are so gorgeous, I am in LOVE.

The backs are ingenious too…We had to avoid printing over the impression from the front side so this was my solution…

I wanted to capture the thickness, and also the silver leaf that sometimes gets lost in photographs.  I thought you’d be tickled to know: I handed my card to an interior designer, and he said, “Wow! you must be expensive!” I said, “i am!”  happy new year!” –Stacy

We printed the big rectangle in black ink onto sumptuous Cranes 600 gram Lettra then overprinted all the type, front and back, and the monogram I created for Stacy, in gleaming silver foil.

You can see all 31 images on Stacy’s Facebook images: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=366965&id=687980595&ref=mf

PS: I wanted to point out my NEW pix at the head of my blog. They are two photos by my son-in-law, Pablo Abuliak, which I adore. Yes, that is ME, singing Baby I Love You at Pablo and Alicia’s wedding. Pablo completely amazes.

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Jeannie Chapman has been one of our favorite clients for many, many years. We loved working on her Buffalo Road Design business cards way back in the ’90s, which used brown ink and copper foil. When she called last year to have us design a new logo for her husband Kenny Groth’s new roofing company, State Certified Valley Roofing,  in Clovis, California, she asked if I thought I could incorporate that copper foil into his new things too. We love the glint of metal, of course, since a little bling, even as it applies to a roof’s copper flashing, is always yummy, so I kept that in mind as I went into my creative trance over what a cool roofing logo would look like. The first drafts were just type, quite conservative typography, and went through a few iterations that looked like this:

Which is nice, but not the big whoop I was going for. I started doodling with the concept of a “roofline,” using lines and keeping in mind the copper element I would be bringing in. Not too literal, mind you, I wanted a bit of freedom in the line. So that phase started in this direction:

After quite a few drawings and fooling-arounds I came to this design, and, going with the idea of how roofs look, I decided we should print everything on chipboard and kraft paper. The finished piece you see at the top of this post and below came out in the love-love-kiss-kiss department:

Gnarly old chipboard, very thick, juxtaposed with a masculine aesthetic and just a touch of bling…YES!

Here are the stationery and envelope designs that ensued from the business card and logo musings:

The letterhead has a sort of “stain” of the roofline motif that stretches dramatically over the entire sheet:

We are crazy about this stationery wardrobe and Jeannie is too.

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Taylor Dutra, Fort Bragg entrepreneur, pizza house owner, daddy and, newly, MAC technician… Is there anything this guy can’t do? Taylor wanted us to make business cards for his new business that would stand out from the ordinary and make prospective clients want to keep them forevermore (rather than throw them out when they clean out their wallets). Super-thick, scrumptious black museum mount paper was foil stamped in shiny, light- and attention-catching silver foil. Clean and modern typography makes them extra-Yum. Almost as yum as one of his pizzas!

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We made Calgary photographer Gabe McClintock‘s letterpress business cards many moons ago but here we are in the new decade finally showing them to you. Gabe came to me with his wonderful PerspectivEye logo and business card design already in place so we just did the letterpress work on 600 gram Cranes Lettra.  His web site is by Ross Tanner at Flosites.

Some people think we only print our own designs but it’s not true. We often work on printing that comes all ready to go and done by somebody else. We just need to look at a pdf of the design to make sure it is letterpress-friendly. Not every design is, as I may have told you before. Big solids, screens, halftones, insanely small type knocked out of a solid color, gradients are all pretty much no-nos for letterpress success. We of course do break the rules sometimes but it can be a risky proposition. We can guide you in adapting designs too, and then sometimes you just have to forgo letterpress. Some designs just won’t go in the letterpress direction. But this design for Gabe was perfection. Deeply impressed, a very clean and graphic story. Everybody was happy with the outcome. Sorry it took so long to post it. These shots have been lurking in my files for ages.

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Marin County photographer Dave Barber of Zuma Weddings had us make these chic, minimalist business cards last year. They were beautifully letterpress printed in black and deep red inks onto our favorite Cranes Lettra 600 gram stock, for maximum impression with no flicker on the back.

The asymmetrical layout, no embellishment, less-is-definitely-more aesthetic trumpets Dave’s photojournalist style to the potential client. For me, this IS a logo. Just type. Ahhh…delicious.

These photos were styled by Gurumaan Kalso and shot by Pablo Abuliak.

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