Archive for March, 2010

Thomas Sanderson came to me with his logo already designed. (Yes, of course, we are happy to print other people’s logos, as well as our own designs we do here.) Thomas’s cards are printed in black ink, deeply impressed, with the extra attraction of stunning turquoise blue edge painting.

They  stand out in so many ways…the cards’ unusual shape, the third dimension of letterpress’s signature impression, super thick Cranes Lettra paper that feels so substantial in the hand, the long, horizontal rectangular shape, and the little flash of color along the edge of each one, that is so very arresting.

Here is a little house Thomas built of his business cards too.

This type of design lends itself perfectly to fine letterpress printing. No gradients, no screens, just well designed typography and interesting line art. Very much fun to do this card and to work with Thomas. Even when our clients come to us with their logos already in place, we can discuss and guide them to the most interesting use of our techniques and materials, many of which cannot be accomplished by any other means than letterpress. Cranes paper, for instance, cannot be printed by any other type of press. It is too thick to get pulled through the rollers. Thomas loves them, of course…what’s not to LOVE???

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Fabulous Floridian Photographer, Lara Rios, just emailed me that her new business cards had arrived and in two seconds flat she had already blogged about them. I love what she has to say about the power of branding and the importance of great design. Here are her words, with which I could not more heartily agree. Thank you so much Lara for your kind words about our letterpress shop too. It was such fun to consult with you about the colors and possibilities. I am so crazy about how they turned out too.


Ok so right now I’m jumping up and down with my new business cards. My vision is becoming a reality. Everything I’m planning in my head I’m finally touching, feeling, enjoying! I Loooove my business cards; I know I said it already. Photography is my passion and obsession but honestly the process of creating a brand that represents me as an individual, as a person it’s soooo much fun. I’ve been a graphic designer since 1993 (that makes me feel kind of old – Here’s my portfolio by the way) and all these years I’ve been helping other people shape their dreams into a graphic reality. I’ve done a million logos, stationeries, brochures, websites, presentations, you name it. NOW IT’S MY TURN. I’m designing for me. A brand and image that represents LARA, after all, put in Jasmine Star’s words, brides are looking for photographers not photographs, and I totally agree. Clients are going to hire the photographer they’re going to feel identified and comfortable with. So showing who I am as a person will help my future clients and specially brides, identify and connect with me through my brand; the photographs come later, and they come naturally in the process! Well, I hope you like my business cards because tomorrow I have something even better & bigger to share with you!

Oh! Last but DEFINITELY not least I have to thank Zida at Studio Z Mendocino for printing my business cards. They are a fine letterpress located in California and I couldn’t stop saying wonderful things about them. Complete personalized attention. Zida was working with me Friday night and Saturday to get my cards done! I love them and you have to visit their website and blog to see the awesome work they’ve done for other photographers as well! Thank you guys soooo much!

With Love, LARA

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JennAffairs salmon-edged black business cards. Photos by Pablo Abuliak.

The first question many people ask me is,  ‘How much will my new logo and business card cost?” This is a loaded question. More to the point, what do you want these things to do for you? What is it worth if it is so powerful that it increases your business? The second question many people ask is, “How long will it take to make me a new logo?” Super loaded question. Sometimes it takes one minute. Other times it takes a year and a half.

In the case of Jennifer Chapman, South Carolina entrepreneur extraordinaire and total new BFF, the more pressing question was the second one. How long. Jenn had found my website and loved what she saw there. Her dilemma was that her fabulous new Charleston showroom location was opening in a few weeks and she still had not found The New Branding. What could I do and how fast. After talking to Jenn for not very long, I was hooked. We decided on a price for the work and to tell you the truth, I was stumped. I wanted to do a monogram but “J” and “A” are really hard letters to put together in an artistic way. What to do? She needed these fast and she would also need a rack card or brochure to take to a big show she had signed up for. All within two weeks. Could I pull this rabbit out of this hat?

A couple of nights later I woke up in the middle of the night with this arrangement of letters in my dream. JA! OMG. I drew it in the notebook I keep next to me at all times and in the morning executed it on my computer and sent a PDF to Jenn. She was mad for it almost immediately. I had the idea to put it on black, super-thick museum mount with gold foil and Caribbean Sea blue foil (for the dots that cross the A and top the J, plus her tag line, “Fine Floral & Event Decor”) that would shimmer and shine. Then I told her about edge painting.

It was a crazy scramble to collect all the things we would need to make these cards and ship them to her in time. Edge painting for the show was out of the question, but guess what…we got the cards to her AND the rack cards in record time. This black letterpress card with foil stamping and edge painting has resulted in much attention to the new shop, which features Jenn’s gorgeous floral arrangements and wedding and event decor rentals,  like candelabra, furniture, tabletop and accessories for big events and small.

The first shipment of cards arrived in the nick of time for her show, but of course they had black edges, not salmon pink. The remainder of the cards got shipped to the edge painters and then to Jenn a bit later, in time for her next show. According to Jenn, people are stopped in their tracks by these beautiful cards. This is the point. This is what we go for. Will the business card do the job of making you and your business memorable.

Successfully utilizing the spectacular latent power of a great business card’s potential is not so much about the cost per card, nor is it in the amount of time from conception to completion that is the main question. It is really about what is my business card doing for me and my business. Is it the ambassador I want out there working for me, doing the delicate diplomatic work of reminding potential clients to call me up and give me a job. Jenn’s cards are so unusual, so fabulously amazing that people won’t put them in their purses. They ask permission to keep them. They want to talk about how the logo looks like a chandelier or the Eiffel Tower or a tent, and how perfect and how fun, etc. They are little pieces of art that speak volumes about Jenn’s taste and attention to detail and her giant store of creativity. Yes, each card costs over a dollar, but if that dollar brings in a $1000, or $3000, or more job, what is the value of that card, that dollar? Priceless.

Jenn is so much fun to work with that I often call her up in the morning and have coffee with her over the phone. Sometimes I send her an email at 11 o’clock at night and she is still up…3 hours later in South Carolina…answering my email. She is amazing and funny and we have developed a friendship in a short span of time that I can hardly imagine happening…about as fast as the business card concept came to me, we are friends.

I love this business. I love the modern world that allows things like this to happen. I love the creative trance that brings such beauty and effectiveness for my clients’ work. There is no other process that is capable of accomplishing a card like this: only letterpress can print on this type of paper, and only a great deal of skill and experience can even begin to attempt the technical aspects of it.

When I show people these cards, they literally gasp. They turn them over and handle them, rub their fingers over the impression, turn them on their sides to admire the little flash of color. It is like a magic trick. Stunning. This is what we want to see in a business card. This is the real work a business card needs to do.

Next time, I will show you Jenn’s rack cards, and all the stationery and envelopes and other things we are making for her right now.

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What is it about argyle?

Photographer Chad Franz took the concept of a square business card to a whole other level when he designed these. We printed them on our trusty Heidelberg letterpress onto super-impossibly-thick, extra-gnarly chipboard, in tan and chocolate brown inks.

Chad went through several  iterations in the design process. I just sat back and critiqued, and loved what he was doing. But when he sent me this argyle idea it was too  much. I LOVE argyle but of course never thought of using it this way. Very fun guy to work with, plus he has a Z in his name, which, over here, is all to the good.

Here is what he said when he sent me these photos of his fabulous cards today:

Hey Zida,

Sorry this took so long, but here are a few shots of the cards you did for me!  I seriously dig them!

If you need anything else from me, just let me know!

Chad Franz


phone – 317.833.4833

web – www.chadfranz.com

blog – www.chadfranz.net

facebook – www.facebook.com/chadfranz

twitter – www.twitter.com/chadfranz

And also check out all the coolness at www.freezeframez.com

You might want to go see some of his work so I included the contact information. Here’s a footnote:

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I’m sorry you can’t see these in person. This is a box full of KIMI Consulting business cards. They actually GLOW…

Kim Walker came to me for a new brand, and a new look for her consulting business, KIMI Consulting, which provides program development, writing, newletters & web page content, plus much more in the arenas of creativity and ideas to her lucky clients. KIMI stands for Keep It Moving Innovations. Kim is also, on the side, a personal trainer, and just being in her presence makes you want to be her client.

My daughter Zoe and I met Kim for the first time at a gathering for our mutual friend Belvie Rooks (It was called “We Love You, Belvie!” so imagine what THAT was like), and we immediately were like BFF in the first five minutes, like, no kidding. I was excited to work on this project with Kim but had no idea what would come forward in my creative trance when we first talked. From a typographer’s point of view, “Ks” are fun to work with, but can be tricky.It’s the most interesting process in the world for me…like some form of channeling, because I have no idea where these things come from, but I do depend on their coming.

I tried a few ideas out, but nothing earth-shattering…then, this idea woke me up in the middle of the night. Luckily, I had my notebook and pen right next to my pillow and drew it before drifting off again. In the morning I recreated it on my computer and sent a PDF to Kim right away. I thought, “This is IT,” and, actually, I was right. I knew exactly what it was going to look like. Kim liked it a lot, and, after a minimal amount of tweaking, I sent for the dies and black paper and we were off and running.

Yes, the K is backward. Don’t worry!!! This is called engaging the viewer.

On the black, front side, we used two foils: an apple green foil,  that is just metallic-Pippin-APPLE-y and incredible, and a holographic blue foil that shimmers and morphs in every different light and different angle…the initials come ALIVE on the intensely black side of the duplex paper. The other side of the paper is white (why it’s called “duplex”), and all Kim’s information is in black  ink, with pale gray, crisscrossing lines that add movement and dimension to the Keep It Moving who, what, where & why.

Here’s what Kim had to say when I asked if she had received her biz cards on UPS:

I got my business cards 😀 !!!

Do you mean the business cards that I want to make a pair of earrings with or a perhaps a hip belt. Yes I got them and love them. So does everyone I give one to. Thank you so much.  Kim

Yes, that is the one…earrings, Yes!! Bling chic…

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The annual Wedding & Portrait Photographers International convention has already been swinging away for several days. I am getting ready to hop on a JetBlue blue jet, headed to the MFM Grand, Las Vegas, in a few hours, and I can’t even describe how elated I am finally, finally to get to meet so many of my fabulous clients.  For the last couple of years, photographers have made up a big percentage of my business. They call me up, we work together intensely, they are so talented and enthusiastic and beautiful, I send them their awesome business cards and stationery, WE LOVE EACH OTHER, and then we never actually get to look at each other in person or go have margaritas or go for a walk on the beach or anything. Today will change all that, no?

Oh, boy, People!! I can’t wait to say hi and see your real-live selves. So happyyyyyy!!!!

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I am a great fan of Lillian Cartwright’s work, and, luckily, she is a fan of mine. I was so pleased when she asked me to design some letterpress business cards for her. Minimalist tendencies and perfect impression into 300 gram Cranes Lettra paper give these cards their impact and chicness. Lillian’s work can be seen at her website.

Here is the back of her card:

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