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Archive for the ‘Graphic Designers and Letterpress Printing’ 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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Salvador Baby Announcement

This birth announcement for baby Salvador was printed on luxuriously thick and subtly textured 600 gsm Cranes Lettra so we could take full advantage of letterpress’s characteristic impression. The rectangular dent at the top makes a frame for the tipped-on photograph. Printed by Rhea Rynearson for us, the 100 5″x7″ announcements and matching envelopes were around $10 a piece, including shipping to Europe. Salvador’s parents told me that their friends and family loved it. And how could they not? It helps to have the most beautiful baby in the world, too.

The dent makes a frame

The dent makes a frame where the photo nestles. Tipped-on or tipped-in means a separate piece is glued to the paper, giving one more textural point of interest.

deep impression

It’s all about texture. The inked type sinks deeply into the very thick paper and leaves a little shadow around each letter and number. This is how you identify letterpress. A beautiful way to tell the world your darling new child has come into the world.

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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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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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Over the years, Studio Z Mendocino has created a lot of amazing business cards and letterpress printing, so you have to know we are not kidding when we claim this as one of the MOST amazing of all. Australian developer and general genius, Nathan Orbach, became one of our favorite clients, too, in the course of this very, very long process that involved quite a lot of Skyping in odd hours and quite a lot more, how shall I say, “translation” or “instruction” of the letterpress vernacular and techniques so he could really understand better and his designer could prepare the files properly. It was a tremendous and very fun-filled effort with a tremendous result.

After having discovered us online and subsequently receiving a big parcel of samples of our work in Australia via FedEx, Nathan had definite ideas about how he wanted the cards to look. Very specific about every detail, but without knowledge of the various ins and outs and weird limitations of what we do, his decisions made it necessary to work around numerous obstacles.

For instance, he wanted the paper to be exactly THIS dense black, but that exact paper only comes in eighty-pound weight, which was MUCH too thin for what he wanted. He wanted extra-extra thick cards with red edge painting. To accomplish this, it was necessary to print two separate pieces of the black paper and laminate them with something like chipboard sandwiched between them. This was just one in a lot of various negotiations that kept us in conversation pretty much the better part of six months. Or more.

In the end, we were all over the moon about the resulting cards.

The backs are as stunning as the fronts.

It all proves that we are always willing to go the last ten thousand miles. If a business card is going to represent you in the world, it really should say everything about you that can be said in two dimensions. In this case “Q” (Quest) to the Zed Power says exactly that: stop at nothing for the sake of perfectly what is wanted and needed in the situation. Plus, letterpress actually adds a third dimension of tactile depth and visual texture. Nothing more need be said.

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Susan Stripling is a wedding photographer whose astonishingly beautiful images, skill, inspired imagination and devotion to the craft have landed her in the midst of some of the most amazing nuptials ever. She just had Studio Z Mendocino do her new business cards and stationery. Susan has photographed weddings throughout the US, the Caribbean, South America, Finland, France, and the Bahamas. She’s been published in Inside Weddings, Martha Stewart Weddings, Grace Ormonde Wedding Style, Bride and Bloom, Modern Bride, The Knot, Professional Photographer Magazine, The New York Times Style section, Rangerfinder Magazine, Capture Magazine, Elegant Bride, in Trade Publications for Nikon USA, and Town and Country Weddings. Susan’s teaching career has developed as well; she has been seen at past Digital Wedding Forum conventions, gives private and group workshops throughout the USA, and has spoken at WPPI. Busy Susan, had Infinet Design devise her double-S monogram and we foil stamped it in gold onto her lux stationery wardrobe: business cards on very thickest Cranes Lettra 600 gram cover stock, and script cards in the same ultra-thick paper (think thank you notes, quick messages accompanying samples, etc., etc.) that fit into spectacular Cranes number ten envelopes with rather monumental square flaps. This is the blockbuster envelope we love to stuff:

Here is the script card:

Because it is foiled in a single color, with the monogram/logo on the front of the business card and only the website address on the back, overall costs were kept to a minimum, but the finished pieces carry all the gorgeousness and panache anyone could possibly desire.

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Corine Tran of Studio Tran, in Louisiana, called me before Christmas with a vision and a hope to get some awesome business cards made up for her photography business. After a couple of emails she casually mentioned, “I can’t believe you’re in Fort Bragg.” Mystified, I asked her why that was amazing to her — had she been to Fort Bragg?? — and she answered that she’d lived and gone to high school here! The Small-World connection and her warm personality made this one of those jobs that seems a little bit magical the whole way through. Right off the bat, she won me over completely be sending us a King Cake — the most scrumptious, sweet, way-too-tempting Louisiana Mardi Gras confection we ever tasted. OMG is all I can say. Also, YUM. I never even heard of a King Cake before and could not believe she did that!

Corine had to be veeerrrrry patient with us because, as some of you know, we were in the throes of moving out of our shop after twenty-seven years (more on this later, I promise), which took the better part of two months, but the upshot for the Transes was that it took a ridiculously long time to get the cards done despite the cake. Honest, we are not usually like this, but that move was taxing even our most angelic customers!!! Luckily, she was not in a huge hurry. We did send a few to her after they were printed but before they got the final embellishment, hot pink edge painting, so Corine and Beebe could attend a convention with some cards in hand (which, we hear, went over big anyway).

Her husband Beebe had already designed the truly inspired and beautiful “BC”monogram for their logo, and the vector files for the cards were all ready to go. All it needed was what Studio Z Mendocino does so well: letterpressing colored foils onto super-thick black Museum Mount paper and turning a lovely dream into an even lovelier reality.

The hot pink edge painting finished them off in the spectacular way that that one small detail can. The cards are completely off the charts in terms of beauty, charm, WoW factor and amazingness. Corine says, “We absolutely love the business cards. They are everything I wanted and had in my mind when I first set out to find someone who could make this happen! Thank you Thank you Thank you!  Everyone just ooohhs and ahhhs over them and asks where we got them.”

It was, may I say, my very great pleasure to work with Corine and Beebe and to produce these amazing little pieces of art. I am sure that anyone who works with them will feel that same way. I know the cards will bring you new and exciting clients. They are kind of magical like that.

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