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Posts Tagged ‘Letterpress Printing’

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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Bella Viva Business CardDeanne England, the incredibly talented interior designer and owner of Bella Viva Interior Design, called me one day out of the blue. She was surprised to learn that my studio is only an hour-and-a-half drive from her northern California office. She was looking for someone to design her new logo, business cards, stationery, etc., and had found my website and blog, liked what she’d discovered there, and suddenly we were chatting excitedly away like two old friends making plans.

As with all interior designers I have worked with, she had many, many ideas and concerns, and at the same time she was wonderfully open to my input. After establishing a mutual recognition and rapport, we hung up on a note of simply infinite possibilities as I zoomed into my favorite space: the trance of design. Where does that thing come from? How does it work? Honestly, it’s the biggest mystery, and I love it.

Bella Viva Business Card BackOne of my favorite parts of the work I get to do is designing monograms. It just knocks me out. For Deanne, I drew a lot of little doodles all over everything I saw for the next few days. I had envisioned something very crisp and modern, yet classical — but I did NOT envision what eventually emerged out of my doodles, not at all: A playful little “flower,” a nestled b and v, very hand-drawn looking. To tell you the truth, I was a little scared even to show it to Deanne because it was so far away from what we had talked about! But I got up my nerve and pushed the button anyway, because I really loved it. The worst that could happen was I would go back to the drawing board, right? So there it was, traveling to her via a brave little .pdf attachment. Fingers crossed, I awaited her response…

close up

And guess what: SHE loved it too. LOVED!

The next step was designing the typography, which came together so naturally. And then deciding on colors: Deanne was definite — seafoam green and gold foil. That too was surprising…and perfect. These incremental decisions have so much importance when you are in the designing mode, patiently moving toward a final product. Each tweak, each gradation of color, each space between each letter…all come to mean so much to how a logo lands on paper and in how it is perceived by prospective clients. Everything has to ‘speak’ of attention to detail, to beauty, to rhythm and proportion, and mood, and a million unnameable things that play into what finally happens. This is the beauty of design and the beauty of collaboration.

In the end, we printed up an entire Stationery Suite for Deanne, all by letterpress and all just so beautiful. It included the amazing business cards you see here, letterhead and #10 business envelopes, thank you notes and envelopes for those,

Folding Thank You Note mailing labels, great big black envelopes with personalized mailing labels for sending out samples and unfolded sheets of paper, and the amazing press kits, which required a LOT of very special techniques to make them work.

Bella Viva Press Kit FolderEverything but the folders was printed on our venerable Heidelberg Windmill presses, as always, by Rhea Rynearson, the best letterpress printer I have ever known (and you should know her too), using age-old knowledge, intuition, and deep reverence for this 500-year-old craft we keep alive every day at Studio Z Mendocino! We are so grateful to have clients like Deanne England, who understand the power that resides in great creative design and beautiful printing.Inside pocket of press kit folder

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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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Bella Viva Business Card

Bella Viva Business Card — Seafoam green ink with gold foil stamping

Interior designer Deanne England recently contacted Studio Z Mendocino because she wanted a new look for her branding of her business, Bella Viva Interior Design, and a new business card. She found us online, and we were both surprised that we live and work only an hour-and-a-half from each other. From the first minute we talked, we knew there was a special spark in the quality of our communications. We “got” each other in the special way that makes you know things are going to be really exciting if you get to work together.

Deanne wanted something elegant that also showed her slightly quirky side too. We talked about the myriad possibilities, the infinity of choices doing any design project … and then I set to work over the weekend.

Right off the bat, I drew this little conundrum of a mark…a flower, maybe?…but if you look closely, you will see the initials “bV” for Bella Viva hidden in the leaves. She loved the mark, even before she saw the initials; then she loved the game of having to look and find the little mystery. She also was very clear that a “seafoam green” be included somehow. The card you see above is the result of our very flowing, mutual creativity.

If you have ever worked with interior designers, you know that there is no detail too small to suffer over until it’s perfect, and that is how we are about printing too. We got along like peas in a pod. Her meticulous attention to keeping things clear guided the project to its happy conclusion.

Ms. England works with clients in both northern & southern California on full scale remodeling & building projects, as well as design consultations in property investment evaluation, home staging analysis, professional organizing solutions, and even event design. Deanne is available by appointment only and welcomes all inquiries regarding her work, design philosophy, and design process. She can be contacted at 626 722 7809.

Deanne was immediately in love with the feel and look of Cranes 600 gram, super-thick Lettra, which takes the “bite” of letterpress techniques like nothing else, and feels wonderfully substantial in the hand.

Bella Viva Business Card Back

The backs of the cards had to be as pretty as the fronts, and they are.

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For more than 30 years, Jet-1 has been a recognized leader in the aircraft sales, charter and management businesses. Taylor Phillips, Vice President of the company, which is in Naples, Florida, recently came to Studio Z Mendocino to upgrade his business cards so that they expressed the kind of excellence his company has always stood for. We used Cranes 300 gram Lettra for these, instead of our usual 600 gram because Taylor didn’t want the cards to take us that much room in his wallet. Everything is printed on one side of the cards.

There is just nothing as classy and fabulous as a letterpress business card.

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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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I’m hardly even going to say anything about these cards because Serena Severtson made such a complete and articulate blog post about branding as it relates to business cards this morning. I am just going to let that do all the talking: click HERE for her post.

These are photos Serena took of the beautiful letterpress business cards we made for her using her own design, and my suggestions and input about materials and other questions — a great collaboration. Pearl foil gleams up the dove, gray and Tiffany blue inks give the lowdown, and Tiffany blue edges finish them off with elan. They are smashing on super-thick 600 gram Cranes Lettra. Best of all, Serena LOVES them! Go see!

Wonderful to work with the very talented Serena to such a great result!

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Mike Tseng‘s fabulous new black-on-black business cards take “basic black” to a whole new level. Super-thick black museum mount in a slim rectanglular shape provides the foundation for the black gloss foil-stamped swirling background pattern designed by Flosites, and matte charcoal ink for his name. Though everything is subtle, it is also somehow extravagant and ravishing.

Mike says, “Thanks again for the cards, people are blown away when I give it to them!” Well, ahem, I told you that would happen, Mike. Blown away is always the reaction we go for. We love that.

Perfectly yummy…

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Making progress on the seemingly never ending schlepp of moving my shop after twenty-five years of making and archiving a zillion letterpress jobs. Every file drawer and shelf presents yet another little jog down that old Memory Lane. Good thing the Kelley House came in with their SWAT teeam last week, Carolyn and Betty, to go through the flat files and many nooks and crannies to find the most historically relevant pieces for their archives. WoW — were they efficient. And they loved everything so much that it made me feel very happy to have done what I have been doing all these years. They ended up taking boxes and boxes of my design and printing work with them and, guess what: there will be a Zida Borcich Collection there, at the Kelley House, and at the Guest House Museum in Fort Bragg, as well as an expanded collection at the San Francisco Public Library Rare Books Room.

There is still a ton of paper and stationery and cards and whatnot downstairs but the free scrap paper left the shop yesterday, headed for grammar school classrooms. Several file cabinets, a huge desk and many, many pounds of type and ornaments have found new homes, but OMG there is still so much more to do. People will be coming in this week to move the heavy equipment out. I have been going through the galleys of standing jobs and collecting fonts that need their families back, putting into boxes type for people who have bought up my larger collections to finish them off. Extremely time consuming, may I say. But what treasures. I was struck the other night about one a.m. at what beautiful typesetting we have done over the years. Complicated, exacting, persnickety to the nth degree. So much care and love in the knowledge we keep in our fingers, our eyes. All the work that has filtered out into the world, creating who knows what ripples in people’s lives. Someone just sent me an email about having sent one of my Ladies Who Lunch cards to a fellow and now they are going to get married. Ripples!

Today I will tackle my desk with the help of my friend indeed, Cynthia Wall, AKA Angel from Heaven Girl. She helped me so much all day long yesterday. My other Angel from Heaven Boy, Ed, will leave for a day or two but he worked so hard and lifted so much heavy stuff over the last days I don’t know what I could have done without him. All of this is arduous and satisfying, wistful and joyful, disappointing and elating all at once. Itis a process I would not want to miss for the world. So happy to be doing it now and getting ready for whatever comes next. Many good-byes: Good-bye, little 1924 C & P. You are so beautiful. I hope you get to work more than you have in my shop the last years.

Good-bye type all dusty and gnarly and elegant. Good-bye little yellow house with all your memories. Good-bye Good-bye Good-bye. I know you aren’t supposed to put a hyphen in Goodbye anymore but I am feeling old fashioned to-day. But anyway, it’s not good-bye to everything at all. I will keep designing and Rhea with keep printing, just like before, only in new places. I am just feeling a bit nostalgic today so thank you for indulging me.

Off to the move again. Please tell yr friends to come by and get some stationery for Xmas presents or whatnot, OIK? There is so much beautiful stuff and it’s so crazy cheap you won’t believe it.

I love you.

 

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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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