Archive for the ‘Letterpress Business cards for children’s photographers’ Category

I used the term Less-Is-More to describe the design of Laura Gordon’s scrumptious new letterpress business cards. By that reference, of course, I mean they are impactfully minimalist, pared down to the essentials, yet packing so much substance onto a two-and-a-half-inch surface that it just bowls you over. Less is more, indeed. Then, I thought it would be interesting to track down the etymology of that phrase and came to this:


The notion that simplicity and clarity lead to good design.


This is a 19th century proverbial phrase. It is first found in print in Andrea del Sarto, 1855, a poem by Robert Browning:

Who strive – you don’t know how the others strive
To paint a little thing like that you smeared
Carelessly passing with your robes afloat,-
Yet do much less, so much less, Someone says,
(I know his name, no matter) – so much less!
Well, less is more, Lucrezia.

The phrase is often associated with the architect and furniture designer Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe (1886-1969), one of the founders of modern architecture and a proponent of simplicity of style.

When applied to letterpress, the mandate of “simplicity and clarity” goes without saying. The letterpress aesthetic expresses this as a matter of course; the technique itself demands it. Sometimes, though, I am so thoroughly struck that it shakes me up, as in the case of Laura’s amazing letterpress business cards.

Nothing could be simpler than a name foiled onto a square, thick surface in gold metallic: To the point, no?

The contact information beautifully typeset on the back: Clarity. Simplicity. Beauty, too.

But it is more than that. It is the totality of the form of it, the luxurious feel of the super-thick 600 gsm Cranes Lettra paper (environmentally friendly 100% rag paper made from recycled scraps from clothing manufacturers), the way the gold foil and black ink interplay on the page, the typography and the type form itself, impressed into the sheet in moderation, not smashed in with all the might of the Heidelberg press that did it. Nothing overdone, nothing excessive. Yet everything is in proportion, everything tells more than the sum of parts. Even with the distinguished, conservative design, there is this little edginess implied that also reflects Laura’s work, some of which you can see in these gorgeously shot photos, and more of which you can see on her Facebook page. Go see!!

What i am trying to say is that THIS is the essence of what you want in a business card. It says more than it says. It means more than it means. It looks like the simplest thing in the world, and then you realize that it makes you FEEL something. There is something thrilling about it, strong. It’s white space. It’s the Golden Mean. It’s timeless fashion, not fickle trend; eternal proportion, not fad; edginess that comes across classy rather than trying-too-hard. Air is where the soul lives, in jazz and blues and all music, and in graphic design as well. All that white space is the air and these are soulful, simply.

Edginess (pun intended).

Here are architect Dieter Rams’ ten principles to “good design”

Good design is innovative
Good design makes a product useful
Good design is aesthetic
Good design helps us to understand a product
Good design is unobtrusive
Good design is honest
Good design is long-lasting
Good design is consequent to the last detail
Good design is concerned with the environment
Good design is as little design as possible

At Studio Z Mendocino, when we do business cards or invitations or web sites or stationery for a client, I think of the process as a conversation. It is a back and forth that determines how things will turn out and it is a big relationship that develops as we go along. Thank you, Laura, for having this beautiful conversation with me that led to such a stunning result. I love your work and I loved working with you. Next up: Laura’s thank you notes!

Read Full Post »

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!

Read Full Post »

Kinsey Meredith Piscatelli had us do these exciting, thrilling, iconoclastic, super-fun, sexy, yet somehow uber-classy letterpress business cards for her photography business. She brought the design, which she did herself, all ready to go and we helped her decide what papers to use, colors and materials. Black|white duplex paper with white opaque foil on the black side, zipped up by metallic acid green foil, and on the back, basic black type for her URL.

Love, love the sassiness, playfulness, snappiness of these fantastic expressions of Kinsey’s big, wonderful attitudinous personality, which you can clearly discern in her work and in her wonderfully fresh approach to all things art|life|love|creation.

All photos by Pablo Abuliak.

Read Full Post »

Studio Z Mendocino was very pleased and honored to be one of the sponsors of napcp’s fantastic photography retreat at the Meritage, in Napa, California last month. I got to go over and make a small presentation and then to meet so many fabulous Children’s Photographers. Schmoozing was of the utmost during our bus ride to the wine tastings after breakfast. Alice sent me these shots of the pieces we provided to the event, designed by the amazing Jane Johnson.

One of my favorite things, among many things, about the retreat, was getting to meet THREE of my clients in person. Alice Gung Park, Jane Johnson and Eydie Nelson.

Alice wanted to show how thoughtful details mean so much to the success of an event or a business. Our letterpress printed programs, place cards and thank you notes, printed on premium papers in three colors, reiterated their brand and their attention to every beautiful thing. And of course, their big round business cards were a hit. What does printing say about your brand and you…a lot, without speaking a word!

Read Full Post »

photos by Dana Goodson

Fabulous Florida Photographer, Dana Goodson, just got the new stationery and business cards Studio Z Mendocino made up for her, and posted these photos on her blog last night. I am so thrilled with how she shot them. She had to get out her macro lens for the shot above. Beautiful. The only thing that could beat them would be for you to hold one of her cards in your hand. We used our favorite Cranes Lettra 600 gsm, foil stamped her name/logo in a shimmering aqua foil, added edge painting that matches the foil to a T. They are amazing and lovely. Here are Dana’s own words (which partly quote me too, so they are kind of some of MY words too. Oh, I love those double ups!):

I received my new business cards and stationery about a week ago.  This has been a project in the works for about a month or two and it has been worth every second of waiting.

Zida of Studio Z Mendocio is the person behind the beautiful creations.  I was referred to her by fellow photographer, Shari DeAngelo out of Philadelphia, whose business cards I thought were the prettiest I’d ever seen.  I was in the process of revamping my business materials and knew I wanted letterpress but also something beautiful and rich in texture.  It had to be classy and a little different than your average business card.  Zida had the perfect suggestion and from the first phone conversation with her, I knew that she was the person for the job.  I felt a connection with her and I knew she would put everything she had into making my cards and stationary beautiful– just for me.

With her permission, I’m sharing a little about her story in her own words:

“In my house, there were hardly any books or newspapers. I practically LIVED at the library in our little town after school every day, checking out stacks of Nancy Drew mysteries each week, but I never thought once about where printed things came from, had no idea even what a print shop was, until I was twenty-six years old. The first time I was sat down in front of a California case full of lead type by my soon-to-be-mentor Al Moise and instructed to set a job, I began (literally) dreaming about type and typography. He offered me a job two days later and I worked for him for over ten years, the master printer who changed my life. Having my own shop now for twenty-five years still gives me a shiver of excitement and wonder every time I think of it.”    -Zida

The stationery cards have a pretty metallic foil for my logo.

Thank you Zida for your vision and giving me the most beautiful cards I could imagine.  I love them and loved working with you!  You’re aweseome!


Hey brides!  Zida does letterpress invitations.  If you want gorgeous invitations for your beautiful wedding day, contact Zida.

I particularly appreciate all the kind words Dana had to say about ME. THANK YOU, Dana. I appreciate working with you too. So fun and so productive. Love how everything came out!

Read Full Post »

NAPCP is children’s photographer Alice Gung Park‘s newest brainchild: a national association for Professional Children’s Photographers. NAPCP’s just-finished blog is a fabulous compendium of content, a must-see for new parents (and not so new) who are looking for photographers and information.

The National Association of Professional Child Photographers (NAPCP) is a member-based association representing and promoting the community of professional child photographers. The NAPCP provides a valuable platform for seasoned veterans and rising professionals alike to share their experiences, hone their craft and raise their professional visibility.

NAPCP connects parents searching for child photographers with its members by providing a comprehensive directory and informative articles on what to expect from their professional photography experience.

Alice had us letterpress her adorable design (we do print other people’s designs, yes)  onto our favorite lush 600 gram Lettra paper, and then die cut them … three inch circles won’t be lost in a wallet, so cute nobody will put them away. The National Association for Professional Child Photographers launched its web site today, so stay tuned. It’s SO exciting and SO smart. Wait till you see.

Here is what Alice said about her cards on her blog:

Prior to leaving for WPPI, my favorite printer Studio-Z sent me a batch of circle-die-cut letterpressed business cards for NAPCP. I {heart} letterpress and my new cards. Of course, the circle tends to remind folks to use coasters with their drinks, but I don’t care. I absolutely love the way they turned out…

Us, too, Alice! It’s really unusual for a letterpress printer to put down big solids of ink with little dropped-out type. It’s actually against the immutable laws of letterpress. But, as the famous California letterpress printer, Lewis Allen, once told me, “Sometimes you have to break the law.” It was worth the risk. Beautiful mavericks!

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts

%d bloggers like this: