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Archive for the ‘Letterpress Printing for Graphic Designers’ Category


Brookstreet Pictures
, Ottowa and LA movie company, had designer Chad Harber design their new business cards, and Studio Z Mendocino printed them. They are amazing: Black gloss foil on the front of the extra-thick 600 gram Lettra white card stock for the logo — so that got a little shine — and matte black ink on the back for the contact information. We finished them off with round corners and black edge painting.

Fabulous, edgy, chic and professional, deluxe business cards for a very edgy movie company.

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Meier/Ferrer designs contemporary, modernist furniture that has been featured in a slew of national and international magazines. Their look is clean, hip and ultra-chic, which matches perfectly the design Andrew Cinnamon did for their business cards, and which Studio Z Mendocino printed on our venerable 1952 Heidelberg letterpress. It’s that meeting of the centuries that I love so much: the Twenty-first to the Fifteenth, to be exact — Thank you, Mr. Guttenberg for giving us the means to impress all these five hundred years.

We printed deeply the hard-edge typeface Andrew adapted for this purpose onto super-thick 600 gram Lettra paper. Dense black ink. One side only. And let the typography tell its own story with no fanfare other than its own audacity. We also made script cards for them. Four by nine cards that fit into a #10 business envelope or can be paper clipped to a sheaf of design mock ups with a little note. Love love.

 

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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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The great big “L” monogrammed  on Leo Druker‘s oversized letterpress printed business cards strikes as bold a statement as the Washington DC photographer makes with his work. Leo came to Studio Z Mendocino with his logo already designed. We conferred with him about the best materials to use, how to give the cards their majorest WoW factor possible and came up with these beauties.

Printed on a 2.5 x 4 inch sheet, and weighing in at 600 grams on super-thick Cranes Lettra luxurious stock, these are not cards to fool around with. They mean business. We printed them in two tones of charcoal gray ink, then, to put the upper cut into the already big punch, we edge painted them in the darker of the two grays. As Leo has told me several times in emails: they “are getting rave reviews from every person who looks and/or touches them.” Well, we are not surprised. They are stunning.

I wish you could feel them. Substantial. We love strong beauty and these are that.

If you really want to make an impression that lasts when you leave, you could not choose a better vehicle than cards like these. You will not be forgotten easily.

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Jessica Chapman of Brio Media wanted business cards with a very big WoW factor. Here are Jessica’s own words:

I absolutely had to do a quick post about my new business cards from Studio Z Mendocino!  Zida did such a wonderful job guiding me to finalize the design for the most “moxie,” getting them to print, and even getting some edge painting done!  These are certainly not your typical, cheaper business cards for sure, so I will be hoping on a good Return of Investment as I start to WoW people I will pass them out to!

Keeping in line with what we were taught in a recent workshop, I kept it simple, clean and classy by steering away from any temptation to do a card that included images.  Also, for the WoW! effect, I went with a square shape on thicker black museum mount with silver foil stamping and light gray edge painting (much of this thanks to Zida’s recommendation).

Needless to say, going with a classic black with the edge painting makes a statement!  So black that you won’t be able to write on it, and so classic and sturdy that even if you don’t book me, you’ll keep my card around for decoration!

The Wikipedia definition of MOXIE is: “courage, daring, and energy,”

I think this describes Jessica, her beautiful work, and her new business cards equally.

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EmmaRose Photography, in Nova Scotia, Canada, just got her new letterpress business cards done up by Studio Z Mendocino and is very, very happy about them. I am not even going to say anything in this post, actually, except that I totally LOVED getting to work with Emma Rose. She is a creative geyser and completely fun and adorable and energetic and a great photographer and mom. Sheesh. Here are her own words and her own incredible photographs (taken hours before the big show we got them to her in the nick of time for) of her own spellbinding business cards, designed by her own amazing self:

Hi Zida! I hope you got my voicemail yesterday thanking you from the bottom of my heart for these beautiful little pieces of artwork… I just couldn’t wait to photograph them and share the photos, my blog is up just now! Will send photos asap, hope to work with you again!!! xo Emma.

Hi Folks! Yes, I’ve been in blogging hiatus, but I’m back! I have been biting my nails in anticipation of this blog… thinking of how I will make these photos, when I would be able to blog about this event… my new business cards have arrived! Just in time for this year’s biggest wedding trade show in Halifax, Brides 2011, at the World Trade & Convention Centre. I think this is my 7th year at the show and I’ve got a completely new booth this year, one I’ve been planning all year…

OK, back to the business cards… I have to admit first of all that I’ve become a tiny bit obsessed with the work of Zida Borcich… she’s the owner one of the blogs I watch and more importantly a letterpress and design studio, Studio Z, in Mendocino California. “You watch a letterpress blog?” you say to yourself? It might sound a bit crazy, but I’m drawn to all kinds of art, and Zida’s work is so much more than printing, it’s ART. After I came across her website and blog I just HAD to have her do some cards for me. It’s been a journey, with my thrifty, controlling and perfectionist sides battling with the sides of me that want extravagant top-of-the-line things, and the sides of me that want to encourage other artists and allow them to do their work in the best, freest way possible. There was inner conflict, let me tell you! In the end I did the basic design and Zida lovingly tweaked it for me, gave me her opinion (thank goodness), and was one of those people I wished lived down the street so I could run in and hug her for this amazing art-on-paper that is the end result! Who knew you could do such lovely things with a sheet of paper. I can’t believe it’s just paper!

I hope you can see in the photos the texture of the paper, though, and how the two gray inks are pressed into it and how the pink O is pressed even deeper and coated in a foil so that it shimmers in the light like a jewel… *sigh* My heart was beating as I opened the box yesterday… just look at the pink painted edges, the thickness of the paper! Stunning work Zida, thank you so much for your patience with my questions, indecision and do-it-yourself attitude, haha! These are real show-stoppers!

xo Emma.

Wait: I said I wasn’t going to say anything but really, I must. Which is: we printed them on our favorite Cranes Lettra 600 gsm, super-luxurious, super-thick paper, on both sides, in two gray inks and this hot pink metallic foil. Then edge painted them in the same hot pink. They are so very very extra-ordinary! As you can obviously see.

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I have been wanting to show you the business cards we did for photographer Ellen Anon for a while now. There is just no way to describe them or even to photograph them, though, that can really impart the amazingness of these beautiful objects, although Ellen’s photo above comes close. What doesn’t show is the way the color pops off and morphs as the angle of the card changes in relationship to light. This is because … well, let me start from the beginning:

Ellen called me one day out of the blue and wanted me to do some business cards for her. She is an award winning photographer who travels the world incessantly and takes the most staggeringly gorgeous photographs of the natural world and had stumbled onto my blog. I felt like I had known her all my life after the first phone call. We just clicked. It turns out Ellen is also the author of six books about photography and Photoshop, gives workshops all over the place and is interviewed for her expertise in these subjects.

We dug into the project immediately and it was the most fantastic collaboration. She started sending photographes to me and I was looking at them with a graphic designer’s eye for line, color, something that would give me that physical hit I get when I just know something is right. With letterpress printing, you really can’t have a four color image, at least not one you would be happy to look at. Photography and Letterpress Printing are two art forms that are in different galactic systems in terms of how color is laid down and of course many other factors, although there are many intersections, too, in the way we approach our crafts and how we perceive things.

Letterpress printing, particularly, with its deep impression into soft, non-shiny paper seems at odds with how a photograph can be interpreted. But that is the charge we set for ourselves. I wanted to incorporate one of her images into the design and logo, but it was going to have to be done in some very unusual way. I had recently finished Elizabeth Perkins’s business card that used a photograph of a grand stairway in England, turning it into a negative and printing that in white ink onto black paper. It was a very successful experiment and I thought I could use that experience to advantage for Ellen’s project.

Looking through her galleries was a great pleasure and of course an equally big puzzle. We looked at many images from all over the world together… wildly colored agricultural steppes in China, drama-queen trees, a crazy geyser in Nevada…all mind boggling, but when she sent me a picture of a river in Iceland that looked like a big tree branch, I just stopped everything.

This was IT.

So, how to turn a full color photo into something I could make into a letterpress image?

Yes…quite a question. Ellen went to work in Photoshop and so did I. We were burning up the airwaves with various iterations, nixing and mixing, then suddenly, there was this duotone…I said, what would happen if we turned each of the two layers into its own foil die? Then there was a moment when inspiration went out of control and I said, OK, the foils are going to be PEWTER/SILVERY and HOLOGRAPHIC TURQUOISE that turns into every shade of blue in the spectrum. That was also IT. We decided to put this glowing idea on black, super-thick Museum Mount paper for even more dramatic impact.

There were a lot of experiments that went back and forth to Pennsylvania — holographic blue with pewter, pewter and copper and even copper and holographic foil. They were ALL gorgeous! Everybody concurred. They were a big hit.

Because Ellen was hanging out of a plane high above an Icelandic landscape, trying to keep her camera from blasting out of her hands in the intense wind in order to take this shot, the many trials and errors, extra Skyping, and much discussing of ins and outs about the designing and printing of this image seems like almost, ALMOST, a piece of cake. Can you imagine? She is my hero.

Above, you see the original photograph and below, what we did with it to make it into her new logo and business card. Sheesh.

It was a very exciting and fulfilling project that got me and Ellen into the Friend Zone. There were a few doubts about whether the whole crazy idea would even work, as I conferred with our fabulous printer Rhea…the tension mounted and then…it did work and it is gorgeous.

We are all kind of gaga about the cards and the incredibly intense experience of working together toward such a satisfying ending. This is something, I am pretty sure, that has never been done before in the world. How cool is that?

Please go see Ellens work at ellenanon.com. Totally worth the trip.

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