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Archive for the ‘Couture Letterpress Invitations’ Category

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A happy birthday party for her husband brought our long-lost, always-wonderful client, Helen MacKenzie, back to us last month. As usual, it was a total pleasure brainstorming with her over the perfect wording, perfect image, perfect design for a party that would feature a bagpiper at the entry door, balloons covering the ceilings, gracious and non-ordinary catering, and a good reason to get out your tux…or kilt.

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The first things she told me, as we began our explorations, were that David loves, I mean LOVES, penguins! And he LOVES RED. Oh boy, appropriate clues revealed. I started searching for penguin images, and, as Helen observed, the thing that’s generally wrong with penguin images is that they are either too cute or anthropomorphic, or too realistically penguinish. I found the perfect thing on Etsy, from poordogfarm, in Pennsylvania: this Penguin Queen had just the right insouciance.

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We tipped her onto our gorgeous 600 gsm Lettra paper with a brilliant RED letterpressed “dent,” which framed her ironic and regal presence quite dashingly. Rhea Rynearson, our printer extraordinaire, applied deep impression to the raised text, giving each letter a little shadow, the shadow we live for in Letterpress Printing. Rhea is the most talented printer, and I’ve known a lot of printers, including even ME.

Gleefully inviting friends to a Swanky Soiree, admonishing them to Dress To Kill (Rhea’s favorite thing she ever had to apply to paper!), and sending the thick, luxurious, practically frameable invitations to invitees’ actual mailboxes gave the entire affair an air of the absolutely-cannot-miss-this, and at the same time, just hilarious fun, which, Helen tells me, carried over to the real party. A blast was had by all.

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laser die cut cage for wedding invitation

We were commissioned to print the letterpress wedding invitations for a Canadian couple. It’s a little convoluted, this story, because the pedigree of these invitations spans a continent, borders and imagination: The designer (Nicole at Duly Noted) and the stationery store (Duly Noted, in Halifax, Nova Scotia) are in Canada, as is the laser-cutting company that accomplished the incredibly complicated filigree seen above (Laser Creative in Ontario, Canada). They gave me permission to put their photos on my blog. The part played here at Studio Z Mendocino in northern California was to print the invitations and the Rsvps and Rsvp envelopes on very thick white paper in gold foil and black ink. I think it’s incredible and extraordinary in every way, and honestly I wish i had designed it! How utterly gorgeous can you get?

Here is the Rsvp and Envelope. All pieces were printed by Rhea Rynearson on Heidelberg Windmill presses. Black pieces were laser cut at Laser Creative.

Rsvp and envelope

Rsvp and envelope

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InvitationInvitations and Rsvps were printed on 600 gram Lettra.

Closeup of invitation

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Attorney Marc S. Albert opened his law offices in Queens and Long Island, New York, earlier this year to the fanfare of this letterpress printed announcement from Studio Z Mendocino. We used white opaque foil on slate-colored paper, for a gray-flannel-meets-Cary-Grant-chic-meets-Old-World-meets-New-World mailing piece. We mounted the printed piece on a slightly larger backing sheet of black cover stock, giving it an attractive, attention-grabbing frame and more substantial “hand.” For even stronger effect, we printed the back flap of these textured Americana A-7 envelopes in a matching gray ink.

When announcing the opening of a new office, it’s imperative that the announcement’s envelope make people want to open it. So much mail gets tossed before it arrives at the desk of the final recipient, so the “packaging” of an announcement like this needs to look very inviting…like  an invitation, not a bill! The address should be hand written or calligraphed and real stamps should adorn the upper right corner. These measures will insure it will get a closer look than other ordinary bulk mailings.

Be sure to include a business card inside the envelope too, so your contact information gets stored forevermore. This is effective marketing for attorneys at law, understated and beautiful, yet it unabashedly stands out from the crowd. At the same time, an announcement like this should never be flashy or “advertise-y” looking. It must inspire confidence in your abilities and talents, and your attention to detail. And a little creativity showing in it never hurts, reinforcing a message of resourcefulness. A really fabulous business card furthers the effectiveness of the message as well. We recommend letterpress printing on very thick paper (of course) for maximum impact.

Post, and get ready for the phone to ring!

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Super intensely talented photographer Gerald Carvalho did everything right. He hired Ross Tanner at Flosites to design his new brand. He hired Studio Z Mendocino to print them. A triple whammy of beauty-making folk. And now he says, “I love these cards so much that I hardly hand them over to any random people until I absolutely love them LOL :)”

The golden color of his iconic “G” logo on the front is echoed along the sides with identical golden (not metallic) edge painting. We used, of course, Cranes 600 gram Lettra for the thickest, richest “hand.” Deep impression and impeccable typography convey a sense of Gerald’s artistic skill and attention to detail. These photos alone bear out his talent.

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Seth Sirbaugh is a terrifically talented graphic designer whose new letterpress business cards carry the message of the new “tribe” brand he’s developed, in the most stylish way imaginable. We did two versions, which you see pictured above. The first was the more complicated. We used French’s Gray Durotone 80# cover, a mottled, slightly gnarly-in-a-chic-kind-of-way sheet. It’s not very thick, so to add substance (and mystery), Seth had us make a “sandwich,” laminating the backs and fronts of the gray Durotone, with a “filling” of pumpkin-colored Durotone. You can see the little, subtle, yummy orange stripe when you turn the card sideways.

The fronts of the cards were printed in black glossy foil with the “tribe” logo and the uber-hip tagline, “design. cultured.” I love that. The backs have the contact information foiled in white opaque foil. With darker colored papers, white ink will not block out the background color entirely. There is always some bleed-through, so to alleviate that, we always use opaque white foil, which is much more opaque.

The entire laminated card is still not as thick as, say, 600 gram Lettra, which we use most often here these days for our most premium jobs. He didn’t want them to take up that much room in his wallet. At first. But then there was a small crisis, which I won’t go into right now, which allowed us to make another, smaller batch of cards on white 600 gram Lettra. On this run, we edge painted them in the same pumpkin-y orange. And, oh la la, baby. How can he decide which version to pass out?

Working with a designer of the professional caliber of Seth Sirbaugh is a pleasure beyond pleasure. Collaboration is always necessary on a job (jobs) like this one. He had the vision and I acted as mediator between that and making the vision into something he could hold in his hand and be proud and assured that it represented him well. When the crisis occurred, Seth was gracious in the extreme. Often, with letterpress, patience is a virtue, and Seth’s virtue showed up in the form of little wings sprouting from the shoulders of his tee shirt.

It’s not usual to get to give a design two entirely different treatments like this, so as a way to show off the amazing versatility of letterpress’s many virtues, there could not be a better example. The entire mood is changed, the vibe, maybe even the clan, in these two very different versions of the same design.

We all wanna be in Seth’s groovy tribe!

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I love love love Annette Thurmon’s wedding dress designs. They are sooo dreamy and gorgeous, and I am lucky to say that Annette is also a dreamy and gorgeous client of mine.

I got to work with Annette when I did her business cards a while back, and today she posted an interview with me on her beautiful website: Chaviano Couture.

I hope you will go see her beautiful designs and read my interview!

xo Zida

 

 

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Three color letterpress folders: gray, black and papaya colored inks on 300 gram white Cranes Lettra . Papaya envelopes with a jazzy stamp. A fabulous menu and guest list.

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It’s not too early to start planning your Kentucky Derby party for 2012. I know, Animal Kingdom has hardly stopped sweating, but believe me, a Kentucky Derby party worth its julep is going to take lots of creativity and lining things up in advance. You don’t want to get down to the wire and suddenly find the best party planners have already been booked, or that the guests you counted on have already responded to another save-the-date.

You might want to emulate this invitation we created to a Kentucky-Derby-theme birthday party that happened last December here in California. We printed them letterpress on super thick white paper, which we mounted to a gorgeous, deep red backing sheet. That formed a frame and gave the piece even more presence. Then we put it into a deep red BOX. The mailing labels mimicked the horse theme and we tied the whole thing up with a skinny little brown ROPE. We included also in the box instructions about its being a surprise party, and a directions-to-the-venue card. Everything went into a FedEx box and was delivered one-day-air.

The tickets were also printed letterpress on the same super-thick white stock, replete with a perforated stub to make them look even more official. I love the idea that they were sent in a subsequent mailing in #10 Cranes square flap envelopes, which only added to the anticipation for all the fun.

.The party was a hit and everything went off without a hitch, so to speak. Perfect food and drinks, perfect place, perfect guest list, perfect everything. And it was a complete surprise. A perfect winner.

We have been doing lots of wedding invitations in boxes over the last few years, and the idea in this post can be adapted to any number of party or reception themes. Boxes come in a big array of colors and we can choose gorgeous contrasting ribbons to tie them up and an infinity of different ways to make them uniquely your own.

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The two most-asked questions I get from email inquiries are what you see in the title of this post. The answers depend on so many things that it’s almost impossible to pin it down. But I want to address these questions because having these cards is a kind of spendy proposition, and it takes more time than most printing, but it can be so worth it because the cards say such good things about you when you are out of earshot.They tell a big story about your talent, your attention to detail, your fabulous aesthetic and hipness quotient. They get more attention and they get more jobs. They are audacious and they are convincing. They are worth it, in other words.

As beautiful Lara Rios said the other day…”Everything goes up and nothing ever goes down.” That is too true. Paper costs have been out of sight the last couple of years. And we use such extra-special papers that it’s even truer for us.

So, what does it cost to get your hands on some of these fabulosity-drenched business cards? Let’s say you already have a logo that you love. Let’s say it is a two color design, which can translate to two ink colors or two foil colors or one of each.

If you get 1000 cards made up with two color runs, printed front and back, on super thick 600 gram Lettra or on even thicker black or colored Museum Mount, it will usually come in around $1100 or $1200. Adding a third color run will add about $225 to $250 for extra dies and printing to that price. Edge painting is additional too.

Yes, I know. It starts around one dollar per card, plus. If you think you would like to save money by getting fewer cards, it is something you need to think hard about because, in printing, it’s always “cheaper by the dozen.” I mean, cutting the quantity in half does NOT result in half the price. This is because the prepress things are in that price no matter if you get one or ten thousand. In the end, getting MORE cards actually saves money in the long run.

Five hundred of the same sort of card will not be $600, but will be more like $800+, so the unit price, in this case, goes up to $1.60 per card. This will make you really think hard about giving your cards away, which defies the whole concept of getting your name out there. So we recommend doing more than less, if you possibly can.

Now, the question of how long it will take: I have done cards in one day, in five days, and I have taken a YEAR to get cards out the door. This usually depends on the customer’s ability to make a decision and we were not working on the card every minute of that time. I promise.

We usually like to say it will take between two and half to four weeks, depending on what is lined up on our press schedule and what processes have to be done to the card, how long it takes to get paper and dies lined up and so forth. If they will be edge painted, that adds one and a half to two weeks to the timeline. Sorry this is so nebulous, but it is the truth. We can really go fast if everything is in place but sometimes it is not so super fast.

If you need a new logo, that too is not easy to pin down. Everything is custom, so we would need to talk about your needs before venturing an estimate. But we do logos and branding and websites here, too. Just ask.

I hope this is helpful and that you will call soon. 707 964 2522 We would love to work with you on your next business cards and stationery, your invitations or announcements, your website or branding.

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This is why I am in business: I get these incredibly talented clients; I get to work creatively with them on really fun, exciting projects; they come back for reprints and we get to connect all over again, over something even MORE creative and fun. Stephen Dohring is a case in point. A wonderful photographer from Tampa who had us do black Museum Mount business cards with silver foil the first time around. Now he wanted a different look, sort of a black-and-white different, and this is the result. Here in his own words is how he feels about the new cards, with their chic, understated, lightened up beauty:

This is my second investment in my cards with Zida and I am excited to hand them out. My first thick museum mount letterpress foil card was very unique in my area, wedding professionals would say things like “Oh you are giving me a stack” when it was only one card. or they would try and open it. Vendors at events would hear about my card and ask me for one. Of course I want people talking about my photography but when you network you can’t show your images, so giving them something to remember me by is the next best thing.

For my new cards I wanted them a bit more feminine with a softer feel and non-traditional shape.  I love the simplicity, the detail with the painted edge, and how the logo will look soft and elegant and then catch the light and pop with more impact. All of those are elements I like to see in my photography. My new cards are just one part of my branding that can say a lot for me all by themselves.  There is no way they will get lost in a pile of other cards and are unlikely to ever be thrown away.

Thanks Zida!

What more can I add to that? Thank you, Stephen. I absolutely adore how these came out. I think the lighter palette will appeal to brides and their moms even more than the black ones did, although they were also very amazing. These, though, printed on Cranes Lettra 600 gram paper, with gray ink and pearl foil are plainly The Bomb, as we used to say. Elegant, sexy, demure and commanding all at once.

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