Tag Archive for '200lb'

Point Form Business Cards

We recently printed these business cards, designed by the fellows at Point Form, a Canadian design collective.

A little tricky production was in order with their design.  The paper we used  is a 100lb French Poptone Sweet Tooth custom pasted (duplexed) after printing to 100lb French Poptone Lemon Drop for a final 200lb Cover stock. Pasting sheets after printing can add a little cost, but with a two sided card it is the best production move because we don’t need to worry about impression show through from a heavy letterpress imprint. Note that there is no indentation from one side to the other.

Paper Saw Blades

Since pretty much everyone needs a paper saw blade, we figured it was time to deliver. These heavy duty paper blades pop out of our latest promo card to fly through the air as a dangerous incarnation of business cards. You can toss them at pets, logs and trees, use them as coasters or keep them on hand to contact us for your next custom letterpress printing project.

(these are an upgrade from our previous ninja version)

Human Hand Varnish On Black Business Card

Straight from Hawaii, Human Hand sent us this fine business card design for letterpress printing. And we love the name. After all, human hands touching the tactile printing is what this letterpress card is all about. It is a subtle tonal varnish on one side and PMS 877 metallic silver ink on the other. The paper stock is our custom 200lb Wausau Eclipse Black cover weight.

Multiple Colored Paper Business Cards

One of the best ways to get lots of color in a letterpress project is to print a colored paper. For these business cards Cricket Design Works in Madison, WI chose three colors for some extra vibrant variety in their design.

The paper is all custom duplexed from French Paper Poptone colors. We love the color options and small quantity availability of this paper line. These cards are printed on Gumdrop Green, Wild Cherry and Blu Raspberry each pasted to Poptone Sweet Tooth White on the opposite site for a 200lb heavy weight. The cards were printed with a metallic silver ink first, then overprinted in black. The same artwork and ink colors were used for all three business cards on the press sheets. (Everyone received all three colors.) This made the project more budget friendly since all we had to do was change out paper stock while running the prints – no extra wash ups or ink color changes.

Space 150 v25 Business Cards

Space 150 is a Minneapolis based company that has made some waves in the creative community by reinventing its identity every 150 days. This version was designed by Evan Nagan. We’ve produced many previous Space 150 business card versions as well – see some of them here and here.

Like the previous versions we’ve printed, these business cards take some tricky production. They are printed three color offset on one side (flood of black, purple and blue) and 2 color letterpress printed on the reverse (blue and tonal white). They have a unique two color gradient treatment on their edges. The paper is Wausau Royal complements 100lb Bright White which is custom duplexed after offset printing to a final thickness of 200lb cover. For a great edge color effect we recommend a thickness of 160lb or greater. The thicker the better.

It’s a big task! Each identity version is cards for nearly 70 people…

Bahamas Cocktail Party Invitations

This is a letterpress printed invitation for a destination party, complementing a custom wedding system we printed a while back. These are also designed by the groom Scott Peiffer.

The card is a thick 200lb Wausau bright white. It was printed on a cylinder press with a light blue flood of ink with a red ink mixed to match the envelope color. We printed the same red ink on the envelope flap for a tonal effect. Note the nice pop through details of the paper left white.

Q&A – Contemporary Letterpress Printing

Studio On Fire principal Ben Levitz answered some questions on contemporary letterpress printing last week for “letterpress week” over at Oh Hello Friend. Here is the Q&A exchange:
Just what is letterpress?
Letterpress is a method of relief printing. It is the process of inking a type high reversed image and then transferring that ink to a substrate, making a print of the positive image. While previous generations relied on moveable wood and metal type, most modern letterpress is achieved with a plastic material called photopolymer. Photopolymer has bridged the gap between the computer and letterpress printing presses. A digital file with correct specifications can be moved to water wash polymer plates and printed on letterpress in place of handset materials.
So why Letterpress? How does letterpress stand unique as a printing method?
Letterpress used to be the primary method of all printing. Nowadays designers have so many printing options – digital printing, offset printing, screen printing – letterpress as a printing method is such a small part of todays printing industry. However, we’ll give you three good reasons letterpress is alive and well.
#1. Tactile Design – Like to feel what you see? That sculptural impression is a primary reason for using letterpress printing. This heavy impression is how letterpress has reinvented itself over the past couple decades. Things like text, line work and patterns offer an impression into soft paper material. As a designer, if you get the artwork right and pair it correctly with a material, the resulting impression is unmistakably letterpress. It is an effect unmatched by any other printing method.
#2. Unique Materials – Just try running a toothy 600gsm cotton stock through a digital printer. Maybe some thick blotter paper for coasters? A thick duplexed stock business card stock perhaps? Even thin onion skin stock or napkins? Yes, letterpress will print it all. Lots of special stocks that just won’t run through modern offset and digital presses. Letterpress offers material versatility that is unmatched by any modern presses. Just don’t ask for slick coated stocks, they don’t like to take an impression.
#3. Upscale Presentation- The materials we print on for letterpress generally cost more than going to any local quick print shop. And the time consuming nature of letterpress printing process means it is not mass produced. It has that artisan quality which sets it apart. The cost of each color makes projects printed with letterpress have a certain simplicity. Generally letterpress projects are only a couple colors. There are no slick gradients or drop shadows. We hear all the time that anything looks better letterpress. We’d say this is because letterpress makes people simplify the design.
What is your heart and passion behind letterpress?
Speaking as both a designer and letterpress printer for the past decade, I’d say letterpress is still gaining momentum as a production method. When people get a letterpress printed business card handed to them and turn it over in their hand, they feel it, look at it closer and consider it . It literally buys extra seconds in their hands. It is this notable pause that exemplifies letterpress printing as a breath of fresh air. As our society increase our digital communications and the time we spend in front of glowing screens, letterpress printing becomes an even more unique counterpoint. It is something we both see AND feel. We are tactile beings and letterpresses tangibleness makes us connect.
My passion behind letterpress printing and starting Studio On Fire goes back to studying original masters like William Morris, W.A. Dwiggins and Fredrick Goudy. These fellows truly understood and merged both design and production. A critique of todays design reality is that fewer and fewer designers understand the production method for which they are designing. As designers we have so many options, we’ve become generalists. At Studio On Fire design and letterpress are dating again. We are committed to making letterpress printing one of the most premium and relevant production methods for contemporary design. Understanding our niche letterpress market and offering production advice to the designers that come to us how we work. Merging design intent with letterpress printing keeps our work exciting.
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Biography – Ben Levitz, Studio On Fire
Company founder Benjamin Levitz received his BFA in Communication Design from the College of Visual Arts. He spent nearly a decade in the creative industry working with design leaders at Kilter, Larsen/California, and Thorburn design agencies. His creative expertise has focused on design as a branding tool for a large and varied list of national companies with work consistently appears in award shows and publications of AIGA, Communication Arts, Graphis, Print magazine and Type Directors Annual. He has served as an adjunct faculty member at the College of Visual Arts teaching advanced typography course work.
Ben’s tactile design sensibility led to the founding of Studio On Fire. The studio began in 1999 with a vision of uniquely combining design and production skills in modern letterpress work. Ben left the agency world in 2006 to run the studio full time. The Minneapolis studio currently produces it’s own design and letterpress projects in addition to printing custom work from for an impressive list of agencies and design firms across the United States.
See and read more at the company website studio on fire.

Six Speed Biz Cards – Crushed AND Burned

Six Speed sent us this design for custom letterpress business cards. They are a specialized events marketing company here in Minneapolis. And what could be a better business card job really – crushing AND burning all on the same press sheet.

The cards were letterpress printed on 200lb Eclipse Black Wausau with silver ink, then the press sheet was laser cut. The laser cutting was used due to the complexity of the cutting die and the size of the print run. Laser cutting does a really nice job, especially on darker stocks were the edge burn is less evident. With lighter colored and white stocks, a mask is sometimes sometimes required to prevent burning marks on the face of the sheet.

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A Study In Black Letterpress Business Cards

In our custom letterpress work we see an almost daily request from designers for white inks and/or light colored inks printed on dark colored paper stocks. Since white ink and light colored inks are not completely opaque, the ink will print on the paper with some transparency. This ink transparency is more evident the darker the paper color. This issue represents a learning curve for folks coming to letterpress print production for the first time. White ink does not turn out bright white and light colors will not print lighter than the stock color they are printing on. Metallic inks are a notable exception and will print opaque on colored stocks.

These card design offers a look at what letterpress printing CAN do. These business card were designed by Aadvark Brigade, Chris Straley Photography, and JDH Group. The designs shown are printed on the same black paper stock – 200lb Wausau Eclipse Black.

- The Straley card is black and silver ink.

- The Aardvark card is Opaque white and silver inks.

- The JDH Group is black, silver and metallic blue overprinting the silver inks.

The final cards turned out great and offer a nice comparison of  how the various inks letterpress print side by side. Notice how the white ink has almost a blueish appearance. The black ink gives a nice tonal effect and a metallic color overprinting silver offers some additional opacity to the color.

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Tone-on-tone white and black inks

We have a lot of requests for blind (inkless) impression with letterpress plates. However, a tonal ink is often something we suggest rather than a truly blind impression. If the stock being printed does not lend itself to deep impression, the artwork needs some legibility or the art work is on both sides of the sheet, a blind hit can be ill advised. The amount of impression needed to clearly read a completely blind hit will create impression show through on the reverse side of the printed piece. One of the ways we get around this is to mix a tonal ink, shown here on both black and white business card samples. By printing a tone, we can lessen the impression and dial up the legibility a bit.

The black stock is 200lb Wausau Eclipse Black. It is letterpress printed with a black and silver ink mix.

The white stock is 220lb Crane Lettra Flo. White. It is letterpress printed with opaque white ink contaminated with 877 silver.

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Old Red Hat Letterpress Business Cards

Scott Ray uses his favorite lid as his design monicker. He designed these cards using a colored paper stock and two inks. This card represents a couple really good ways to use ink on colored paper stock.

Using a colored paper is a great way to get a solid splash of color in a letterpress project without laying down a bunch of ink. But moving to darker colored papers presents challenges in printing. “Opaque” white ink really isn’t a great option since it really isn’t very opaque. With the exception of metallic inks, letterpress inks are transparent. So we used a metallic silver to print the lighter colored text. The tone-on-tone effect of printing a dark red ink on red stock is another great way to use ink on colored paper. The stock is 100lbC French Poptone which was custom duplexed to a double thick 200lb cover weight for a sturdy “thump factor”.

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