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