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Posts Tagged ‘Letterpress Cards’

Catherine Carpizo's Business Cards with Coral Edge PaintingI’ve known Cathy Carpizo for many, many years. She has visited me in Fort Bragg many times and every time we meet, it’s always just so deep and good. We even met one night in Mexico City at a crazywild salsa night club that had metal detectors at the entrance and bottles of whiskey already on the tables when you came in. This, believe me is NOT how we usually act! But the music was amazing and the scene was out of the galaxy. I have made her business cards in the past but recently she called and wanted something new and different. We came up with this:

Coral EdgesThe palette is subtle: khaki and gray inks impressed into English watercolor paper that has a very beautiful and distinctive texture. And then, there’s this little WoW factor: coral edge painting.

Front and BackCathy does work for all kinds of busy, successful people who want to make their lives very efficient. It’s almost not like a business, it’s more personal than that, more a magic ride. It says “organizing” — but Cathy describes it as more like a sort of alchemy with her clients…what happens next is …the magic.

Her business cards have some of that in them, too. You can feel it and see it — it’s not a formula. She is spontaneous and intuitive, sensing what’s needed and wanted and getting busy making it happen. It’s work, work in the synergy that happens between her and her clients context, work that is so much more than “organizing.”

When she talks about what she does, I so get it. This is probably the thing that draws us to each other, love of the mystery of creativity, passion for mastery, being open to what is and what might be, sensing into how we can mediate between the desires of the client and the finished actual product. Just seeing her smile makes you want to get to work with her!

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Embossed pattern is a replica of Carole's wedding ring

Embossed pattern is a replica of Carole’s wedding ring

Sometimes being in business brings the nicest surprises. This is a case in point. Carole King, Ph.D. was my best friend in first grade. We were inseparable chums in high school, tooling around town in Lee Wanda Milbradt’s dad’s gigantic Cadillac (with fins half a block long) with all our friends at lunch time, being slightly (in my case, very) dorky, and considering each other the funniest people in the world. Then, for whatever reasons, we went our separate ways after graduation. Fast forward about thirty years to when Victoria Magazine did that article about me and my shop. Carole read it and contacted me and we never looked back. We are back to the old, dear friendship, made so much deeper for our long absence from each others’ lives. We see each other as often as possible and it’s that old familiar feeling. We love each other!

Carole loved reading the article in Victoria, too, and loved knowing that her old friend did letterpress printing. After re-finding each other, it was wonderful of her and her husband Dennis to come to the San Francisco Public Library twenty-year exhibit of my work several years ago. That was a fabulous show, may I just say. And it made her want some letterpress printing of her own. So, of course, she could have her heart’s desire from little ole me! She met my friend Cynthia Wall at that show and the cards I had made for Cynthia had an embossed image of her wedding ring design on them. It just sparked for Carole. She wanted HER wedding ring on HER business card.

The embossing

The embossing

We got an artist to render a drawing of the design (Carole actually sent her ring IN THE MAIL — I could not believe it) and we made the drawing into an embossing die. This is the second run of cards we have done for Carole (AKA Creeeollee), this time using a pool-aqua colored paper and deep navy blue ink. She wanted the backs to be blank so she could use that space for extra notes or whatever.

Carole recently told me that when she got her new cards she passed them out at a gathering and it’s all anybody wanted to talk about the whole time.

Magical powers of letterpress printing

Magical powers of letterpress printing

I have often suspected that my business cards have magical powers for drawing attention to their owners. See?

 

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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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Alexia and James got married in Mendocino last month in one of the great celebrations the town has seen. We were so happy to work with them on their invitations, which they wanted to be very luxurious and traditional, but with a modern flair. We kept a very muted palette of cream, cappuccino and chocolate brown, and of course printed everything by letterpress on our thickest, yummiest paper, 600 gram Lettra Pearl White. The motif of a graceful olive branch held it all together beautifully.

Everything about the wedding was so romantic, happy, fun and gorgeous. The whole wedding party went out on the headlands then paraded through the village back to the big white tent at the MacCallum House for dinner and dancing to a totally get-down funk band. Very much fun working with this beautiful couple on their amazing day.

Their folding thank you notes finished the wedding suite and they got lots of extras so they could use them long into their marriage for many purposes…invitations to dinner, thank you notes, quick messages to loved ones, announcements of important events, condolences, congratulations and happy birthday missives. There are still times when a nothing but a hand written note on real paper, with a stamp, in the mailbox, will do. Yes, really. And it’s great to have some beautiful paper to grab when the moment strikes. No more going to the store to look for that perfect message: you make up your own and put it on your own personalized informal, which is what this smaller folding note is called.

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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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Danny and Loreta Kash are the principles and great talents behind Danny Kash Photography, which operates out of Connecticut and is available for worldwide destination shoots. It was an incredible experience working with them to develop their new brand because they were so specific about the tone they were looking for, and at the same time so ready to listen to my ideas and inspirations. It was an ideal collaborative experience. Loreta was amazing…she sent me a kind of vision board to work from…showing colors and passions and attractions, moods, and just things that made her heart beat faster. She is so organized and creative at the same time. Look how fab:

It was always fun to confer with them on the phone, always excitement, curiosity into the mysterious process of creation. When I sent them this design, we all just KNEW: this was IT. They definitely wanted this gorgeous pale Caribbean blue-green color, and there were other accent colors we considered, like a sunny orange-ish shade, but in the end we opted for a charcoal gray as the second color.

We deeply impressed the type into 600 gram Cranes Lettra, with the contact information on the back to keep the brand really pure and important. This is my favorite way to make a card really sing. The edges were painted in the same watery-green-blue color, a little accent that pulls the WoW factor up several thousand notches, as we all know.

O, EDGE PAINTING!!!

And yummy shots of the business cards by Danny.

The flowing lines and swooshes of the “dk” monogram set an elegant, celebratory mood behind the classic-yet-slightly-quirky Roman typeface. It’s a fresh, distinctive look for two very special people. And it is always a big treat for me to participate in redefining a company’s graphic look from the ground up. An honor, and a super-fun and exciting adventure. I love the creative trance that brings me to a finished product like this. Do you like it?

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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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