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Archive for the ‘Branding’ Category

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We just finished designing and printing letterpress business cards for a wonderfully talented new arrival to the Mendocino Coast. Karen McGrath brings many years of knowledge and experience in planning outdoor spaces in Redding, California, where her client base included residential and commercial property owners, contractors, architects, interior designers, and fans of every stripe. Her intelligent use of space and luxurious landscaping instincts will be put to good use in our cool, moist climate. She’s excited to work with our coastal cornucopia of cool weather loving plants.

And she loves her new Studio Z Mendocino letterpress cards like crazy:

MGC side view

We printed them on 600 gsm Lettra in a very deep, forest-y green ink, then foiled the word GARDEN in some kind of indescribable pale green metallic foil. You can see the gleam in the rather moody photo above.

The backs are printed in ink except one little botanical dingbat is done in foil:

back bc

The frosting on this delicious cake was a green edge, which perfectly matches the foil.

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MGC front photo

Deep, deep impression, super-thick paper, chic-but-slightly-whimsical typography, a bit of bling, a certain spirit in it: the cards describe Karen’s outgoing personality and gorgeous work. We aim for this effect, this matching what we do to graphically signal what you do with subtlety and verve, and are always gratified when we nail it for our clients. We feel lucky that Karen has chosen to move to the coast, too.

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Knoxville photographer David Payne called one day last year and wanted to talk about business cards. I can talk about business cards all the live-long day, so we had a  conversation that ranged from printing and design to photography, cars, weddings, and the fact that I’ve long wanted to visit Knoxville, Tennessee. Etc. When two talkers get on the phone, you can expect some communication to occur.

Specifically, he was ready for a drop-dead-amazing business card, had encountered the Studio Z Mendocino website and blog, and thought I was the right person for the job. That’s always a lovely thing to hear, of course, and it was a pleasure to describe what my work is to someone as perspicacious as this new customer/friend David Payne is. He really got it — like, everything! I think that’s why he’s a great photographer, too. He gets it. He feels it. And he intends it. IT being excellence, devotion, a work ethic, aesthetics, the power of image and beauty, the pleasure of conversation.

I immediately got to work designing his new logo, which is a ‘dp’ inside a box that you can spin on its head and it’s still the same. We went back and forth with some ideas about color, type faces, and what you see above is the happy result, printed perfectly by Rhea Rynearson.

When the actual printing part started, though, that’s when we ran into some snags.

We got busy ordering his gorgeous, super-thick Cranes Lettra paper, the foil die and beautiful, sheer pearl foil, the film for the type on the back, the plates, the this, the that…minutia that make up what happens with letterpress that we are so used to and that usually goes very smoothly. Not every story has a straight-through trajectory, however. There were some illnesses, there were this hitch and that hitch, and in the end, I can only say, sorry… it took a long time. David was never-endingly patient, bless him. He was incredibly nice and understanding about every single thing and just kept his eye on the prize that he wanted. In the end, after everything, they got delivered and he sent me this email:

“Cards came in. They are PERFECT!!!!!!!”

 

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gold edge cardsMonica Wellington’s impossibly fabulous SPLENDIFEROUS women’s clothing boutique, on Fort Bragg’s most fashionista-friendly Laurel Street, needed a new business card. The last one I had designed for her was a little bit funky (thick kraft paper), a little bit swoozy (ultra-wild typesetting), and had served its purpose well for several years.

IMG_0478Super cute, right?

Now, almost out of the old ones, she wanted something to match the way Splendiferous! had evolved over the ensuing years, to 2016. Monica wanted to keep the dandelion puff we’d always used, and she still loved “Splendiferous” spelled with an exclamation point in place of that “i,” in the middle, but it needed a new, sleeker, chicer, more uber interpretation that befit how the shop is now: Ultra-glorious.

2016 bc black front

Monica couldn’t make up her mind whether she loved white paper or black paper. Each gives off such a different vibe. So, of course, in line with my motto, If it’s worth doing, it’s worth OVER-doing: I printed her new designs on BOTH–half on white Cranes Lettra 600 gsm, and half on black super-thick, thick, thick, amazing Museum Mount papers, and then, of course, we gilded the lily…

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Oh, gee. What can you say? Gold, metallic edge gilding.

On the white paper, we used a pearlized white foil for the puff and on the black paper, we used gloss black foil for the puff. Everything else was in gold foil. Everything else was just, you know, splendiferous.

Here’s the back.

2016 bc back

Next time you are in Fort Bragg, you HAVE to go shopping there.

You can order YOUR over-the-top, gilded-lily business cards from Studio Z Mendocino whenever you’re ready for the Next Step. 707.964.2522. These cards are very expensive, it’s true ($1.70 each for 1000 — and no, getting 100 doesn’t work to lower the cost, those would be well over $5 each), but they are worth every cent for the astonishment these little pieces of art provoke in potential clients, the curiosity, and the perfectly fitting vibe. If you’re going to have an ambassador out in the world representing you, it had better be capable of the heavy lifting your high-end clientele expects.

2016 white front

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Bella Viva Business CardDeanne England, the incredibly talented interior designer and owner of Bella Viva Interior Design, called me one day out of the blue. She was surprised to learn that my studio is only an hour-and-a-half drive from her northern California office. She was looking for someone to design her new logo, business cards, stationery, etc., and had found my website and blog, liked what she’d discovered there, and suddenly we were chatting excitedly away like two old friends making plans.

As with all interior designers I have worked with, she had many, many ideas and concerns, and at the same time she was wonderfully open to my input. After establishing a mutual recognition and rapport, we hung up on a note of simply infinite possibilities as I zoomed into my favorite space: the trance of design. Where does that thing come from? How does it work? Honestly, it’s the biggest mystery, and I love it.

Bella Viva Business Card BackOne of my favorite parts of the work I get to do is designing monograms. It just knocks me out. For Deanne, I drew a lot of little doodles all over everything I saw for the next few days. I had envisioned something very crisp and modern, yet classical — but I did NOT envision what eventually emerged out of my doodles, not at all: A playful little “flower,” a nestled b and v, very hand-drawn looking. To tell you the truth, I was a little scared even to show it to Deanne because it was so far away from what we had talked about! But I got up my nerve and pushed the button anyway, because I really loved it. The worst that could happen was I would go back to the drawing board, right? So there it was, traveling to her via a brave little .pdf attachment. Fingers crossed, I awaited her response…

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And guess what: SHE loved it too. LOVED!

The next step was designing the typography, which came together so naturally. And then deciding on colors: Deanne was definite — seafoam green and gold foil. That too was surprising…and perfect. These incremental decisions have so much importance when you are in the designing mode, patiently moving toward a final product. Each tweak, each gradation of color, each space between each letter…all come to mean so much to how a logo lands on paper and in how it is perceived by prospective clients. Everything has to ‘speak’ of attention to detail, to beauty, to rhythm and proportion, and mood, and a million unnameable things that play into what finally happens. This is the beauty of design and the beauty of collaboration.

In the end, we printed up an entire Stationery Suite for Deanne, all by letterpress and all just so beautiful. It included the amazing business cards you see here, letterhead and #10 business envelopes, thank you notes and envelopes for those,

Folding Thank You Note mailing labels, great big black envelopes with personalized mailing labels for sending out samples and unfolded sheets of paper, and the amazing press kits, which required a LOT of very special techniques to make them work.

Bella Viva Press Kit FolderEverything but the folders was printed on our venerable Heidelberg Windmill presses, as always, by Rhea Rynearson, the best letterpress printer I have ever known (and you should know her too), using age-old knowledge, intuition, and deep reverence for this 500-year-old craft we keep alive every day at Studio Z Mendocino! We are so grateful to have clients like Deanne England, who understand the power that resides in great creative design and beautiful printing.Inside pocket of press kit folder

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Lynn Winter Edge Gilded Business Cards

Studio Z Mendocino is extremely pleased to announce that we are now able to offer mirror-like foil edge gilding for our business cards. We are extraordinarily happy to show you our first job featuring this insanely over-the-top adornment.Lynn Winter's Gold-Gilded Business CardsThe amazing creative genius Lynn Winter, recently returned to the Mendocino coast from Louisville, Kentucky, had never seen anything like our super-thick, black foil-stamped business cards. She loved them so much that she would require nothing less than to have me make her a new logo and put it on a bunch of cards, to properly commemorate her new life and new home. Over a glass of wine and a very long heart-to-heart-getting-to-know-you, I doodled this name-ish thing: Lynn…ULynn…Lynniverse…

Lynn Winter's New Logo

Which she loved. First thing. That’s how Lynn does things: she KNOWS; then she ACTS. So, OK. How fun…I told her how I would like to do it up, and, next day, made up the final layout, imagining it in two gleaming, unusual foil colors: celery and coral, stamped on 2.5-inch square, black cards. Done. Yes, she loved it. Then I told her about our newest embellishment option: gold or silver foil edge gilding. Yes. Do it. Sight unseen, she said yes, must have…gold…

Soooo…we did. And here it is. And she is just gasping around. Nobody can believe them. They are so incredible that I won’t even try to be modest. They just ARE incredible. As one of her friends just said, “I will just go on home now and frame this.”

Gold Foil Edge Gilding

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Kingsbury Garden Designs Digital Business Card with AkuaFoil

Dorrit Kingsbury (adore her name) of Kingsbury Garden Designs emailed me one night a few months ago with the most arresting message: she had been studying my blog and website. She said she knew every single thing on them. And she just knew I was the one who was supposed to design her new logo and make letterpress business cards. It was another one of those things: I could tell, just from talking to her that first day, that we were destined to do something really wonderful together.

The process was one of discovery at first. Thinking about what she loved, what she did not, what she wanted her logo to express. Ideas she had about her name, avoiding a stuffy effect because of that rather formal name, Kingsbury Garden Designs, things like that. We talked a lot and then of course, after a while, it was time.

I went into my trusty creative trance and something started “coming through.” I don’t really understand or know about how this thing happens, but suddenly, there was this mark, which I dubbed “The Leafy K.” It was green, it was leafy, and I was trying not to get too attached to how much I loved it because it was NOTHING like what we had talked about and I was not sure Dorrit would feel equally crazy about it. Here it is:

Kingsbury Garden Designs Letterpress Card

But guess what: she was. There was a good deal of fiddling around with colors, shape and size of the cards, typeface (the marvelous and lively Koch Antiqua, in the end) and then Dorrit had this iconoclastic idea to make The Leafy K pink. But of course! I did it, and it was perfect. We decided on a leafy green for the edge painting on the letterpress ones. That is what you see above: Pink Leafy K with gold foil outlining and gold foil lettering.

The digital version has a pink foil effect on The Leafy K, with a sort of blackberry-deep-purple lettering and of course no edge painting, and it’s on glossy paper. The two, shown side by side below, are the same, but very, very different.

Kingsbury Letterpress and Digital Cards, side by side

Each has its uses and Dorrit says, “WeeHoo! My beautiful letterpress cards … are lovely, elegant, delicate and regal!!! …

“The letterpress ones are more subtle than the digital cards.— Here’s a surprise… I love the gold!!  It is what makes the design delicate and regal at the same time. It really Works!

“And… It’s interesting that, now, I really love the foil in the digital cards (call me crazy) and miss the richness of it in the letterpress leafy K.  WHO KNEW?” Yes, Dorrit is really happy with them — both of them — and says people comment on her logo and cards all the time. (Are we very surprised?)

So, we will have to work on getting everything into one card when we reprint them after she runs out… much of this work is hunt-and-peck, guessing and hoping, because you can’t always tell exactly how a certain technique will work on the paper, or whatever, and sometimes you have to treat it as a very exciting experiment.It will be beautiful to try the pink foil on The Leafy K next time we do the letterpress ones, and see if it’s possible to love it even more than we do now.

It was such a treat to work with Dorrit on this brand design and business cards. We got to know each other through this process, as happens so often. I feel I have a very talented, wonderful new friend.

She has new lawn signs and a new sign for her truck, too. If you go to her website you will see how her work is so lush and textured, and how it relates to this leafy K two-dimensional symbol of it: http://kingsburygardendesigns.com.

Kingsbury Leafy K Business Cards

Her website describes her work as: “Modernist Design with classical sculptural influences for garden and outdoor living spaces. Serving Atherton, Palo Alto and the Peninsula.” It is really Dorrit’s incredibly gorgeous personal vision, her own art form, and it is a wonder. This job was a true collaboration and a true pleasure…with a truly amazing result.

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Design: Zida Borcich; Letterpress Printing and Foil Stamping: Rhea Rynearson.

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Bella Viva Business Card

Bella Viva Business Card — Seafoam green ink with gold foil stamping

Interior designer Deanne England recently contacted Studio Z Mendocino because she wanted a new look for her branding of her business, Bella Viva Interior Design, and a new business card. She found us online, and we were both surprised that we live and work only an hour-and-a-half from each other. From the first minute we talked, we knew there was a special spark in the quality of our communications. We “got” each other in the special way that makes you know things are going to be really exciting if you get to work together.

Deanne wanted something elegant that also showed her slightly quirky side too. We talked about the myriad possibilities, the infinity of choices doing any design project … and then I set to work over the weekend.

Right off the bat, I drew this little conundrum of a mark…a flower, maybe?…but if you look closely, you will see the initials “bV” for Bella Viva hidden in the leaves. She loved the mark, even before she saw the initials; then she loved the game of having to look and find the little mystery. She also was very clear that a “seafoam green” be included somehow. The card you see above is the result of our very flowing, mutual creativity.

If you have ever worked with interior designers, you know that there is no detail too small to suffer over until it’s perfect, and that is how we are about printing too. We got along like peas in a pod. Her meticulous attention to keeping things clear guided the project to its happy conclusion.

Ms. England works with clients in both northern & southern California on full scale remodeling & building projects, as well as design consultations in property investment evaluation, home staging analysis, professional organizing solutions, and even event design. Deanne is available by appointment only and welcomes all inquiries regarding her work, design philosophy, and design process. She can be contacted at 626 722 7809.

Deanne was immediately in love with the feel and look of Cranes 600 gram, super-thick Lettra, which takes the “bite” of letterpress techniques like nothing else, and feels wonderfully substantial in the hand.

Bella Viva Business Card Back

The backs of the cards had to be as pretty as the fronts, and they are.

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