I bet you thought we forgot, but have no fear, our annual calendar collaboration is here! We’re just wrapping up our busiest year to date (and recovering from a bout of plague that swept through the shop), so it’s debuting a little later than planned, but holy hell, did our guest illustrators really nail it.
As it goes every year, we here at SOF choose a theme, color palette, and paper stocks before asking 5 illustrators to create custom artwork for two months each. The theme for this year is Folklore: Legends, Heroes, and Myth, so we ended up with some killer characters. Roman gods, fairy tales, literary heroes, and woodland creatures are just the tip of the iceberg. Huge shout-out to our illustrators: Valerie Jar, Brian Gunderson, Drew Millward, Tyler Gross, and Mattson Creative.
As for the technical specs: these bad boys were letterpress printed with four inks on our largest Heidelberg cylinder press. We printed all twelve months and the outer wrap on one press sheet, French Poptone Whip Cream 140#, and then trimmed everything down to final size (the wraps also received an additional run through the press to get scored). The easel stand was letterpress printed with a tonal ink color (to give it that rad woodgrain effect) on a custom duplexed stock consisting of French Speckletone Kraft 100# and French Speckletone Chocolate 100#. After printing the stand was diecut and hand assembled.
These are for sale now in our online store! As an added bonus, use the code SOF2015 to get $10 off! (Code valid thru the end of Jan 2015.)
We like to make things. it’s one of our shop mottos. On a daily basis we make things by pushing the limits of modern letterpress: using the photopolymer plates that we fabricate in-house to produce hairline strokes and the tiniest of type. In an effort to push our boundaries and break free from our routine (tiny type be damned), we recently decided that we were going to go big. Steamroller big. Intrigued by the steamroller events we had seen pop-up around the country, we wondered what would happen if we incorporated such machinery into one of our notorious open houses. This was going to take more than just a sketch, we decided the only way to find out if we could pull this off was to actually rent a steamroller, take to the parking log, and run some shit over.
A design announcing our future print fair/open house (currently scheduled for the spring of 2015) was designed, sketched onto a sheet of plywood and turned into an oversized wood plate. A team effort, the plate was hand carved in just under a week using a dremmel and hand chisels. Ever the historical nerds, we wanted to throw a nod to Gutenberg and the origins of letterpress by integrating moveable type into our parking lot shenanigans. Knowing we were going to run things over with a steamroller, this type was going to have to be big. Really big. In the end we had custom 19” tall letters CAD cut, adding the backer boards ourselves by hand. Creating the type was only half the battle, how would all this type sit on the asphalt? How would it all lock up? The final solution was building a massive, 16’ x 4,’ custom wooden base with rails, which would allow us to screw down the oversized letters and move the type on the fly. Once the prep work was completed, we spent two days typesetting and inking in the parking lot of our northeast Minneapolis studio with two steamrollers (renting those is a whole other story). In addition to our hand carved plate, we printed several panagrams (sayings that include all the letters of the alphabet), really getting the most mileage out of our custom moveable type. Family and friends floated in and out, acting as extra hands when needed; the weekend wrapping up with us having the confidence that we can pull this off (or at least attempt it) in a public arena. We’re currently planning a print fair for the coming spring, we’ll loop you in when we have more details.
The prints from this test are on display in the gallery at the Hamilton Wood Type museum, where we’re also going to be teaching a workshop this weekend. To top everything off our buddy Brendan Lauer came by and made this video for us as part of his 50 Videos/50 Weeks project. So rad.
Studio on Fire’s Steamroller Print Fair from Brendan Lauer on Vimeo.
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When we started planning what we were going to take to the National Stationery Show we decided to create a desktop calendar with all 12 months illustrated by Studio On Fire (no need to fret, we still plan on making our traditional calendar with a slew of illustrator friends). This special edition for 2015 features illustrations of some of our favorite things around the shop (though we must admit we struggled to make the entire thing not about food… we love food).
As for process, we sent the calendar stand into production first, giving ourselves enough time to duplex the stock (French Steel Grey 100# cover and French Banana Split 100# cover), letterpress print, diecut, and hand assemble each one. Simultaneously, all of the pages were letterpress printed with four inks (including one fluorescent and one metallic) on one press sheet (French Sweet Tooth 140# cover). The pages were then cut down, nestled into the stand, and packaged in the final letterpress printed wrap.
We ended up depleting most of our inventory at the show, however we do have a handful of these available for purchase in our online store.
All projects produced in our shop are custom. If you are interested in obtaining a quote for printing or design services, please use the request an estimate feature on our website.
Rolling into our store just in the nick of time for Christmas (so would that be in the Saint Nick of time?) is our annual Studio On Fire Letterpress Calendar.
Each year our studio picks a theme, a color palette, and paper stocks before recruiting crush-worthy illustrators to join us in creating custom art for each month. We claimed the January and July pages for ourselves before inviting Brian Gunderson, the Jolby dudes, John Malta, Sasha Prood, and Karolin Schnoor to round out our cast of contributors for 2013.
Artists were given the theme of Lucky Number 13 and asked to interpret it at will, resulting in a multitude of superstitious icons and ironic illustrations. We designed the tri fold outer wrap by stealing bits and pieces from the monthly illustrations, collaging them in a long strip to be trimmed off the press sheet and later used for packaging.
The calendar pages and outer wrap were letterpress printed with four inks all together on a large 26 x 20 size press sheet of Mohawk Milkweed 160C. After printing the individual months were trimmed down to a finished size of 3.25 x 5 inches.
To make the stand we first duplexed Mohawk Via Vellum Safety Yellow 80C to Decorated Paper Brilliance 12pt Tinsel Holographic to create a thick custom stock. After imprinting the stands with a tonal letterpress varnish they were custom diecut and hand assembled with the holographic stock on the inside (allowing a hint of holographic stock to peek out when the support of the stand is kicked out on your desk).
As a special bonus we are offering free DOMESTIC USA shipping on the 2013 calendars thru December 16. Enter coupon code FREESHIP (all caps, one word) in your cart.
If you’re curious, previous years can be viewed on our site: 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008.
A husband and wife photography team, Finessence Photography had just adopted a new moniker and was looking for a fresh look when they approached us to handle their rebrand and produce their print collateral. While we spend a lot of time (happily) printing for other designers, it’s always a treat for us to act as the design firm behind a project that hits our pressroom. For the business cards we created a custom stock, duplexing Crane Lettra Flo White 110C and Beckett Concept Mohagany 130C. The rich mahogany stock was a great way for us to counterbalance the ultra-feminine flourish filled “F” we created for the main logo with something a little more masculine. A custom brown ink was mixed to match the mahogany
stock for the crisp letterpress printed type sandwiched between two bands of a sculptural teal pattern. We were also able to use one of our favorite finishing techniques, giving the slightly undersized cards a splash of teal edge coloring. After completing the business cards we proceeded to create a photo folio and gift certificate to round out their set of presentation materials. The structure of the photo folio is a call back to the flimsy paper sleeves drugstore prints used to come in, but this version is a bit fancier. A custom steel rule die line was created, which included an interior diecut to hold the business card, letterpress printed with two inks, hand assembled and kept closed with a velcro closure. We’re also pretty proud to say this system was a winner in the 2010 FPO Awards.
Designed for the ARTCRANK MSP 2012 show, our newest poster is an ode to all the radial objects in our life. With a bicycle wheel at the hub of the design, a hindu goddess, a space station and even a nipple made it on to the final print (not to be confused with the aureole that also appears, but we digress).
These were printed on one of our six Heidelberg cylinder presses (insert bragging here) on Crane Lettra Flo White 110c stock with one ink. Every print also got a blind hit of our studio seal, which required a second inkless run through the press.
Yes, you can buy one in our store.
Utilizing their existing logo, we designed and produced these cards for Ilumini Photography Arts, a wedding and fine art photographer based out of Hawaii. After creating a type lockup for the contact information we designed a custom diecut that would elegantly frame the ornate “I” logo.
Letterpress printed with metallic silver ink on Neenah Classic Crest Solar White 110C and a tonal varnish on the Wausau Royal Complements Eclipse Black 100C, these stocks were duplexed after printing before receiving the final diecut.
With warmer weather starting to slide in, we designed this pair of prints to celebrate summer’s tastiest treats. Featuring wieners (tube steaks, anyone?) and ice cream sundaes, these were printed with three inks on French Poptone Whipped Cream 140C.
Sorry, we can’t split the set, only sold as a combo meal. Available in our shop.
For those of you who might not know, printing has a pretty shady past. At one point it was considered the work of Satan (how else could you explain being able to reproduce the Bible so easily?), which is how the profession earned the nickname the “Black Arts.” In full disclosure, there are some who claim this moniker came about because printers were often covered with black ink. Could be, but we like to believe the story with a bit more mystery behind it.
Enter the newest addition to the Studio On Fire shop: our homage to the black arts. Silver ink on a 100% cotton black tee shirt, this is a perfect purchase for anyone wanting rock a little bit of printing history. Buy it here.
Jane, from the family/design/lifestyle blog See Jane Blog, approached us to design and produce some fresh cards for her before she headed off to the annual Alt Summit blogger conference in January. Jane was great to work with, she had a few ideas and elements she wanted included but really lets us run and create something that would look great letterpress printed. Some of our favorite features include the custom diecut (designed to accentuate her signature asterisk) and the thin linework pattern (referencing back to her patterned blog header).
Production wise, these were printed on Crane Lettra Flo White 110lb cover stock that was custom duplexed to a 220lb weight after printing. With two inks, a blind impression and a custom diecut, the presssheet for these cards ran through the press a total of four times.
You can also read about these in a lovely post over on Jane’s blog.
We are very involved with the Minnesota chapter of AIGA and always try to enter their annual Design Show that comes around each spring. Last year we were honored to win the “People’s Choice” award (voted on by those who attended the show) for our Golden Rule Poster. As per tradition, the winner of the People’s Choice is asked to design the show materials for the following year–we gladly accepted the job.
Under direction of the AIGA MN Design Show committee we were challenged to make an interactive object in lieu of the usual poster. Charles Youel jumped into the project as writer and after several meetings, sketches and cups of coffee, we came up with an idea to send a pair of cards with punchouts that could be used to actually build something on your desk. We had to go through multiple rounds of prototyping to adjust the construction and functionality of the die, but we couldn’t be happier with the end result.
The set of cards (everyone receives two, for a total of 16 punchout pieces) were letterpress printed with two inks on Neenah Classic Crest Solar White Eggshell 100c, custom duplexed after printing to make 200c. To achieve the our final product, every card was trimmed down and run through the press two more times after printing to diecut with two custom dies–one used to create the slits and one to cut the shapes. A custom envelope was also designed and produced before the whole set was sent over to Shapco for insertion and mailing.
Be sure to check out the hash tag #designshow on Twitter as people tweet their creations and enter AIGA MN’s 2012 Design Show–online entry opens March 5th!