Archive for August, 2010

Why I feel like Miss America this morning: Just got one of my logo designs and favorite business cards on The Card Observer.

This is such an honor. I am THRILLED, and especially because Jenn Chapman is one of my favorite people. Just had to YELL when I got the message from Dave that JennAffairs made the cut.

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DeShelia Spann, a fabulous fashion and wedding photographer, has a similar problem as I: she has a name that people are not sure how to pronounce. The upside of this is practically the same as the downside: well, it’s that we both have weird names. People remember us, even if they don’t say our monikers with the right accent. How you say DeShelia is this: DeSHEELA. How you say Zida is this: ZEEDUH. So see, we were immediate best friends when she called me not too long ago looking for letterpress business cards. Sharing that kind of life experience makes you know something about each other. It was so much fun to work with DeShelia. She knows what she wants and is very flexible and open, and totally down to earth and great to be around. No wonder people love to work with her. We did!

DeShelia posted a blog post today about her new business cards that absolutely gave me goosebumps.

Here are DeShelia’s own, very poetic words:

And I Fell in Love

Wed. August 25, 2010 Posted in MY LIFE, PEOPLE & PLACES

In my business I strive every day to exceed my clients expectations. Well I can honestly say I know how that feels because someone just exceeded mine. About a month ago I sent a tweet out to my fellow colleagues and friends asking them to share any recommendations they had for a good letterpress company. I’ve been working to update my brand and really liked the look and feel of letterpress for business cards and stationary. A few tweets later, the name Studio Z Mendocino came across my screen.

I decided to check Studio Z’s website  and  blog to see some of their work. It was definitely what I’d been looking for. After having several great conservations with Zida, the studio owner and designer, I knew she understood my brand and the direction to grow it. We decided to start with my business cards since I’d be heading out for a couple important events (more on that soon).

I’ve been excited to see the finished product since I signed off on the proof. Last Thursday, my friendly FedEx delivery man, dropped a bit of happiness off to me. I saw Studio Z on the box label and began to rip into the package. I caught a glimpse of my new business cards…..and I fell in LOVE!!

The super thick Cranes Lettra 600 gsm we used for DeShelia is the perfect base for her strong, feminine logo. We printed it in a gray blue ink that matches her web site colors, deeply impressed, of course. The little shadow cast by letterpress’s impression is what sets this type of printing apart from any other techniques. It’s unmistakable distinction engages prospective clients like nothing else. We can’t wait to hear what happens in NYC to our fashionista photographer client whom we so love to work with.

DeShelia Spann, Photographer

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Kip Beelman is a photographer and a sweetheart. There is no question about it. The guy is pure creativity and unmitigated, self-taught skill, endowed with an eye for the astonishing and a talent that also has in it an aspect of all-heart-ness. It’s something you can feel the minute you read his “about” page on his blog, and when you hear his voice on the phone asking about getting some letterpress printing done. Oh, you have not had that experience yet. Well, I did, and, after the initial getting-to-know-you conversation revealed he’d had my Moldovan genius friend, Ross Tanner, design his logo and do his website and blog, the prospect of working with him became even more enticing. I love that Ross and knew collaborating with these two was going to result in a very special project, a funky triangle of artistic partnership. My special psychic powers were not off, either. It was a blast to work with the spectacular Ross-candy logo and Kip’s good nature and laser-perfect feel for what he wanted. He surprised me by requesting that I use a raspberry pink ink. “You’re a guy. The K with a crown on it looks like a masculine, kingly thing. But you want it pink.” Yes, he wanted it to appeal to brides and their moms, his main demographic of clientèle, ergo: pink. I suggested a further refinement: metallic, deep raspberry pink FOIL. OK. ok ok ok! Then I ventured a little further out: How about edge painting? Yes, OK. It was no holds barred on the square business cards. Look what happened:

We did his business cards on Cranes Lettra 600 gsm, the gorgeous, super-thick paper we favor over all else these days, and matched the edge paint to the foil about as perfectly as it is humanly possible to do.

Then we finished the project with not one, but TWO, kinds of stationery. This amounts to a Stationery Wardrobe in these modern, email-ish times. We made Correspondence Cards (large, horizontal, flat cards, with matching envelopes), AND smaller, folding Informals, also with matching envelopes. Each piece has its duty in the rapidly vanishing art form of handwritten correspondence, which, the savvy Kip knows, packs even more of a wallop because of its rarity. Kip even sent ME a thank you note and I was THRILLED to receive it, may I just say. How fabulous to get something in the mail that is not trying to sell me something or make me pay for something. That is the treasure of a hand written note. You jump to open it, devour with pleasure and blushes the compliment of appreciation expressed in a fine hand. Here is the actual thank you note, which I keep on my desk still:

Above you see the flap of his Correspondence Card’s envelope. Below is the Correspondence Card and the front of his envelopes, onto which we foiled his kingly K right next to where the address will go. Kip took all of the pictures here, by the way.

And below are the fronts of his smaller Informals’ cards and envelopes.

Below are the front and back panels of his folding Informals.

Here are Kip’s own words about his experience working in the triumvirate of himself, Ross and herself:

Through the process of working with Ross at Flosites and coming up with a graphic identity to match my brand, I had to apply some thought to what I wanted my business cards and paper correspondence to feel like. I’d been standing on the sidelines for awhile admiring the elements Sarah Rhoads, Fred Egan and the Popes were adding to enhance their brands. And what was the common thread between all of these guys (besides being great photographers or amazing people)? Ms. Zida Borcich and her letterpress at Studio Z Mendocino.

“Whoa” is the reaction each time I had one over.

Well, yes, Whoa, don’t you think? This is really such perfect branding, it could go into a textbook. Thoughtfully accomplished, each element building on the last, a careful choice of craftspeople to collaborate with and carry out the vision, and a brand that distills the essence of what he cares about, which, in the end, is love.

My pleasure, Kip!

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Muffy Mead-Ferro came to Studio Z Mendocino for personal stationery, wanting to find an image of Indian Paintbrush, Wyoming’s state flower, to use as their motif. We looked and looked for something charming and appropriate, but were unable to dig up any already-existing art for this purpose. Instead of stressing out about it, Muffy hired an artist she knew to draw something special for her alone. He came up with this elegant rendering in two colors, which we adapted for letterpress by having two wood-mounted magnesium plates made. What you see above is Muffy’s card laid atop one of those printing plates. As you can see, this is the green plate. Another plate, with the same crop marks on the corners, bears the crimson part, and that red goes on the press as a second run. This is something people often don’t understand about Letterpress, that each color is a separate run through the press. Of course, this makes things a bit more expensive, but we think the loveliness is worth every cent.

We use the crop marks to register the colors to each other, positioning the exactly-matching crop marks so that they fall on top of each other on each press sheet. We also print the front and back of the cards on the same press sheet, at the same time, then “work and turn” them. That means once the first side is dry, we flip them over and print the other side. Then we chop them apart on our big guillotine cutter, again using those ubiquitous crop marks that show where the cutting will take place, which results in  a bunch of two-sided cards, kind of like magic. This saves you money by allowing the same number of colors on front and back without an extra charge. Also kind of magical.

We printed Muffy’s stationery: small sized folding cards with the Indian Paintbrush image on the front, and her name, of course, and also letterpress printed a repeating pattern of the reduced Indian Paintbrush image on the envelope lining. They are very special, and I’m sorry I don’t have a picture of them to put up here. Check back later — maybe I will take one and post it soon. When we eventually did the calling cards, which she needed for her Wyoming address, we used the same motif, printing it onto 600 gram Cranes Lettra, our favorite premium, extra-thick, ultra-chic paper stock. As you can see, Muffy’s cards stand out in a crowd.

If you have a favorite image or motif that is dear to your heart, we often can adapt things like that to letterpress requirements. Even a photograph can be made into a high contrast image and used to enhance one’s business or calling cards. Ask us about our design services, typographic expertise, and ways we can translate your design dreams onto actual paper things you can mail and hand out. We are really good at magic!

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