Archive for May, 2010

Wood type from the Studio Z Mendocino Collection. Photos by Pablo Abuliak.

My little collection of wood type is one of my great treasures. Instead of mink coats and diamonds, I have lead dingbats and ornaments, and six inch tall letters made of hard wood. To me, they are more beautiful than almost anything, any piece of art.

Imagine, then, my utter bedazzlement to learn, from an email a friend forwarded to me today, that there is a museum dedicated to wood type out in Wisconsin. Here is the link to the fabulous and amazing thing: Hamilton Wood Type Museum

I suggest you go see this site immediately. Better yet, if you are in that neighborhood, you might want to drop by and give them some money! They are trying to keep the doors open on this American Printing treasure. Here is one of their broadsides;

You can watch this  soon to be released movie trailer about it: Typeface the Film.

I’m so happy to know about this!!!

Read Full Post »

Lynn Michelle posted this fabulous entry on her blog about the very fun relationship we developed over the course of redesigning her new letterpress business cards and how the cards came out in the end, which, as her title implies, are quite beyond “satisfactory.”

Here is HER description of what happened:

Hello Gorgeous.

I learned of the amazing Zida of Studio Z Mendocino several years ago and while I craved letterpress business cards, I wasn’t really ready for them. This year I’ve felt my brand take on new legs and really blossom so I knew I was ready to put that icing on the cake.

My phone conversation with Zida began with a simple statement “I want them to be awesome”. She laughed and asked me to keep talking. From my last batch of business cards I knew that I wanted my trademarked phrase to stand on it’s own. “We shoot fabulous people”. Yes! I want that  stand up straight & tall on its own and to start the whole juggernaut into motion.

Zida suggested a red metallic foil. Yes!

Zida suggested a red edge painting. Yes!

From there, Zida ran amuck with ideas and styles for the back of the card. I had warned her that I was picky to the point of impossible. She took my feedback and went back to the drawing board and each time each design brought me more glee until we ended up here :

And I exclaim with a joyful “YES!”

Yes, yes…they are so amazing, even more amazing when you hold one in your fingers and feel the gorgeous paper, the gorgeous impression, see the way light flashes on FABULOUS people, the subtle impact of the brilliant red edge. You could miss it but you won’t. Altogether gorgeous.

Because she had been through several unsatisfactory iterations of her business cards, kept being disappointed or underwhelmed, she was a little leery of even trying it again. In our preliminary phone calls she wanted me to know, actually warned me, that she was basically “impossibly picky,” that she knew for sure what she did NOT want but could never actually tell me what she DID want. Etcetera.  I was not scared (well, maybe a little bit scared), and just said, basically, Give me some hints, Lynn, and if you give me an inch I will go ten thousand miles to get to your dream design. This is my mode, anyway. Failure is not an option. I actually discovered that (don’t tell anybody) Lynn Michelle is a total cream puff, incredibly talented and fun to work with. It was a deductive process. I would send something to her, she would say Leave that out, leave this out. I would send another something. She would say no, no. I would say How about thus and so?? and she would say hmm hmm…Anyway, it was an productive back and forth collaboration that resulted in perfect yumminess, as you can see.

When you decide to go forward with the INVESTMENT of a fabulous letterpress business card, you want to have a sidekick standing beside you who will listen and act on your wishes. You also want an expert who will be able to advise and bring her own creativity to the project, and who can guide you through the intricacies of what’s needed for these techniques. At Studio Z Mendocino, you get the result of thirty-five years’ experience and experimentation in design, typography and letterpress printing. We bring knowledge of what will and won’t work with the classical technology of letterpress, as well as a willingness to stretch beyond what is known and practiced. “Impossibly picky” is our métier, so don’t worry. We understand picky. And we understand gorgeous, too. Thank you Lynn Michelle, for being one of our favorite clients ever.


The benefits of having a card that leaps out at potential clients, grabs their hand and makes then send you a text message or punch in your number to tell you you got the job cannot be overestimated.

Read Full Post »

NAPCP is children’s photographer Alice Gung Park‘s newest brainchild: a national association for Professional Children’s Photographers. NAPCP’s just-finished blog is a fabulous compendium of content, a must-see for new parents (and not so new) who are looking for photographers and information.

The National Association of Professional Child Photographers (NAPCP) is a member-based association representing and promoting the community of professional child photographers. The NAPCP provides a valuable platform for seasoned veterans and rising professionals alike to share their experiences, hone their craft and raise their professional visibility.

NAPCP connects parents searching for child photographers with its members by providing a comprehensive directory and informative articles on what to expect from their professional photography experience.

Alice had us letterpress her adorable design (we do print other people’s designs, yes)  onto our favorite lush 600 gram Lettra paper, and then die cut them … three inch circles won’t be lost in a wallet, so cute nobody will put them away. The National Association for Professional Child Photographers launched its web site today, so stay tuned. It’s SO exciting and SO smart. Wait till you see.

Here is what Alice said about her cards on her blog:

Prior to leaving for WPPI, my favorite printer Studio-Z sent me a batch of circle-die-cut letterpressed business cards for NAPCP. I {heart} letterpress and my new cards. Of course, the circle tends to remind folks to use coasters with their drinks, but I don’t care. I absolutely love the way they turned out…

Us, too, Alice! It’s really unusual for a letterpress printer to put down big solids of ink with little dropped-out type. It’s actually against the immutable laws of letterpress. But, as the famous California letterpress printer, Lewis Allen, once told me, “Sometimes you have to break the law.” It was worth the risk. Beautiful mavericks!

Read Full Post »

One of the ten reasons best friends were invented: So they can stay under the porch with you when you don’t have a date.

Life has not been the same since our Ladies Who Lunch cards went into their long hibernation. Schmoozing, commiserating, inviting friends to shop, do lunch, to make whoopee or a date for drinks have all been severely underfunctioning without the  preventive maintenance our multi-purpose cards provided for so many years. Since they have been holed up in our basement acting shy, people call or email or wander into the shop looking for their favorites and we are happy to let them have a few to tide them over. We finally realized that it is dumb to deprive the world of such a rich lode of resources for the invitationally challenged, and so, guess what: Weep no more: The Ladies Who Lunch are back, and you can buy them online right now. Just go to our web site: studio-z, click on the line that says “buy Ladies Who Lunch Cards online,” and go shopping. They are available by the piece or by the dozen, or even by the gross, so let us know which ones you have been dying for and we will send you a little parcel that should assuage your long held LWL hunger in no time.

YOU WHAT??? Let me slip into my shoulder pads — I’ll be right over!!!

All the collections are there: Lovers and Lovees, Girls Club, FUN-damental Get-Togethers, Best Friends Forever, Fun by Any Other Name Is Still Fun, Friends and Soulmates, Brilliant Holiday Get-Togethers, Wish You Were Here, and all your other faves. Remember “Let Us Prey,” with its strip-of bacon-skirt and lipstick that looks like refried beans? It’s there. Ditto “You’re a Total Goddess — Life would be so unmagical without you in it,” cheek by jowl with “Hello Sexy,” “Dog,” and everybody’s favorite, “I Don’t Want to Be Mad Anymore.”

Now you can buy all the cards you meant to buy but didn’t, catch up on your condolences, apologies, party-giving, lunch-doing, mash-note-sending, and actually do all the socializing you wanted to do but were unable to find any Ladies Who Lunch cards to smooth the way. Life is good.

Happy Anniversary! You make it look easy.

With something for almost every occasion and some occasions you never thought of, we look forward to your urgent order. Studio Z Mendocino: Ladies Who Lunch

Read Full Post »


love this Pizzuti Studios image from the SnapKnot site

I wanted to let my photography clients, and potential clients, know about a new website that I think is fantastic. I’ve never recommended a site in my blog before, but I found the idea and its execution so exciting and full of promise, that I have actually arranged with the SnapKnot team to give you a coupon for 1/2 off on your first month. So, you can try it out for the first month for only $24.95, and if you love what it does for your business, you can continue to be enrolled at the regular rate. All you have to do is put in the coupon code ZIDA1 when you sign up.  (Say” Thank you, Zida”!)

I met Mike and Reid of SnapKnot at WPPI, in Las Vegas, in March. They had just launched the site and were meeting scads of photographers who saw the potential and wanted to be included. As we all know, building business is a numbers game: the more people who know your name, the more likely it will be that you will be contacted and have the chance to convert them into clients. SnapKnot shows your work to the world in a sophisticated showcase. Sorted by region, by price, the website tells prospective brides about you and your vision, and lets you be seen by so many more people than your blog or website, all by itself, will be able to gather. I hope you will go see what they are doing for photographers, and see what happens when your business is highlighted there. Please let me know your findings too.

love this Studio EMP image from the site

Here are the main points about what SnapKnot can do to amplify your business visibility and profitability:

SnapKnot allows engaged couples to find the best wedding photographer to suit their needs by answering three basic questions about potential photographers:

What does your work look like?

SnapKnot is a photocentric site, and effectively showcases wedding photographers’ work. Brides can compare and contrast photographers side-by-side.

Where are you located?

There is an easy search and filter function based on a bride’s city or destination, so a bride can choose to look at wedding photographers only in her desired area.

What is your typical budget range?

Brides are able to filter wedding photographers based on their budget/price range. SnapKnot will only display wedding photographers who fall within the selected budget.

Wedding photographers can choose either a Free or Premium listing.A Premium listing is $49.95/mo. (only $24.95 for the 1st month if you use the coupon code “ZIDA1” when signing up).Premium members receive all Free features, PLUS:

  • Front four exposure

  • Priority placement

  • Larger display

  • 5x exposure in multiple cities

  • A dozen images

  • Connect with your leads in real-time

  • User dashboard stats

  • Logo upload

  • Paid advertising

  • Upgraded social media marketing

  • If you are curious to see what will happen should you join them, you can find out right now. Be sure to let them know the coupon code, which is ZIDA1 (zida and the numeral one), when you sign up, to receive your 1/2 off offer for the first month. I’m so happy to share this with you today.
  • love this Lucero Photography Inc. image from the site

  • Read Full Post »

    photos by Pablo Abuliak

    I hardly need say more than this: From Leah Garchik‘s column yesterday:

    The birthday of Denise Hale – a date carved in marble, but whoops, the sculptor forgot the year – was celebrated Saturday night with a masked ball hosted by interior designer Ken Fulk and Kurt Wootton at their goth, glitz ‘n’ glam Seventh Street digs, which, as several knowing guests noted, used to be the home of Mr. S Leather. This was not a fundraiser but did mark the creation of the Denise Hale Fund at the San Francisco SPCA. One in the row of strapped, shaven and bare-chested guys arrayed at the party entrance said he was there for charity. The designer himself had paid taxidermic homage to all God’s creatures in decorating accessories that included zebra skin, antelope heads and a giraffe. (Since I am fond of these things myself, we’ll assume they died of gallbladder conditions.)

    Over the course of the evening, the crowd morphed, beginning with society/civic power players who were mostly the honoree’s pals (among them the Newsoms, the Gascons, Mark Leno, Michael Tilson Thomas and Joshua Robison, Ann Getty, Jo Schuman Silver, Nancy Oakes and Bruce Aidells), and moving toward Fulk and Wootton’s South of Market pals, including the entire cast of “Pearls Over Shanghai,” who arrived, still in full costume and makeup, just before midnight. Picture fishnets, glitter, bustiers, sequins, rhinestones, more, and you still haven’t pictured enough. If there had been an accidental spill of mascara on the way there, the environmental disaster would have been big enough to cover the state of Texas.

    Framed images of the honoree abounded on tabletops, along with clusters of candles and huge bouquets of white lilies. Paula LeDuc catered, and the drink of choice was the Halestorm: basil-infused vodka, lime juice, branch of thyme; the honoree wore Ralph Rucci. On the middle floor, Connie Champagne, Paula West and Fauxnique sang. On the top floor, Hale stood just inside the balcony – wherein a silken tent had been built – surveying the masses, most of whom were dancing to a DJ.

    The beat throbbed; glasses crashed; revelers screamed. Forget soiree, this was a party.

    Studio Z Mendocino was honored to be the letterpress printer who did up the incredibly fabulous invitations that San Francisco design firm,  Markatos Moore, created for the party of this century, so far. Then, even more fabulously, we got to GO TO THE PARTY.
    But I am talking here about the invitations, so let me go on. And on…
    OK, they were insanely fabulous. The talented Markatos Moore design team had us print the invitations on big squares of 300 gram Cranes Lettra. Classically pertinent Roman type, black ink, understatement, understatement, understatement. THEN…EYES, looking at you. THEN a mask pinned just to reveal the eyes looking at you.
    Invitations arrived in a big square envelope with the tails of the mask folded over just so; as the tails dropped away: the gaze. The custom stamp was a vintage photo of the extraordinary doyenne of international and San Francisco society, Mrs. Denise Hale. Oh, it was too much. No, it was exactly perfect. The restrained typography married to the surprise ogling perfectly initiated guests into the excitingly juxtaposed experience of the party itself, as described by Leah G above.

    We also made up presents for the revelers to take home that encouraged them to visit the SFSPCA web site to contribute to the fund. We created a dapper little masked doggy, printed in black ink and gold foil, who reminded them of all the animals who benefit from the services of the SF Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: “Darling! Rescue Me!”
    He was given out to departing guests along with a CD of the dance music they’d just danced to and a few of our Ladies Who Lunch cards — Let the schmoozing continue!
    To the beyond-fabulous host, Ken Fulk (whose birthday, I hear, is today) and Kurt Wootton, honoree, Mrs. Denise Hale, to the sublime Creative-at-Large, Nelson Bloncourt, to Peter Markatos|Tyler Moore design team, I second our doggy’s emotion: Thank you for throwing us a Ball.
    Gorgeous photos of the madcap Ball may be viewed at http://megmessina.com/

    Read Full Post »

    Photos by Pablo Abuliak

    My friend Carole King and I were best friends in the first grade. When we reconnected after many years of not knowing what the other was doing, it was such a deep, old, sweet, special relationship that got reestablished that it fills my heart up every time I think of it. She asked me to make some business cards for her educational psychology practice that would incorporate the design of her wedding ring. I hired an artist to draw the design if the ring were stretched out straight and turned the drawing into an embossing die. The resulting card, I hear from Carole, invariably elicits comments and admiration.

    The third dimension of texture, available with the various techniques of letterpress printing, imparts something ineffable, an emotional pull, to each printed piece we make. With this card, the type is pressed INTO the metal-inflected navy blue paper with white foil stamping, while the ring design raises UP OUT OF the paper with what is called Blind Embossing (meaning no ink). Applied with a heated die, the relieved image actually realigns the fibers of the paper, for a high sculptural effect. Blind embossing is not effective on super thick paper like Crannes 600 gram paper, but on this harder, less thick, more calendered paper, it is fantastic.

    It was very special to get to work on a design and card for such a dear friend.

    Read Full Post »

    All I can say is, get your tickets early this year for the Mendocino Music Festival. As the designer and printer for the Festival these last three years, I’m one of the first to be privy to what’s coming. Lemme tell ya: It is going to be so fantastic. You can read all about it on their web site (designed by Studio Z Mendocino!!): mendocinomusic.com

    Every year for the last twenty-four, the Festival has mounted a gigantic white tent right out on the headlands on Mendocino Bay. Inside that tent, for a couple of weeks in July, occurs the most gorgeous, inspiring array of musical offerings you can imagine. From classical orchestra to opera, from world to blues, from folk to JAZZ, we get to feast our ears and eyes on music music music, making our world go round a little bit faster and happier in the middle of summer. I LOVE the MUSIC FESTIVAL!! Here is the inside of the ticket brochure I designed for this year’s Festival.

    Yummy, no?

    OK, I have to go get ready for the Ball. Oh, didn’t I tell you? I am going to a masquerade ball in San Francisco tonight! Wait till you see the invitations we printed for it. I will tell all when I get back to town. Meanwhile, get your tickets so I can see you here in July at the Mendocino Music Festival!!

    Read Full Post »

    %d bloggers like this: