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!
The first weekend in October marked the 31st annual AIGA MN Design Camp. We have been involved for several years now, in 2008 we designed the conference materials and last year we hosted a letterpress workshop. This year we worked behind the scenes with Ideal Printers to produce the impressive system of materials that were designed by Target inHouse.
First off the press were promotional materials which were mailed out to over 1300 AIGA MN members. We printed the cover of the promo book on Domtar Colors Green 110 Index stock. To achieve a consistent solid black in the pattern while still holding the type crisp we split the black plate into two passes- one pass with heavier ink density for the pattern and lighter ink coverage for the text. After adding a hit of silver those covers ended up running through the press three times. The promotional poster was printed on Cascade Rolland Natural 70 lb text weight with a run of black and a custom green ink mixed to match the green Domtar stock. All of that was shipped out in a kraft envelope we imprinted with return mailing address and indicia.
Upon arrival in Nisswa campers received a tote bag filled with goodies such as tee shirts, pennants and more letterpress printed event materials. The guidebook, full of interviews with speakers and details about weekend activities had a Domtar Colors Salmon 110 Index cover that we letterpress printed in two passes of black and a hit of silver. The partner guide, detailing all of the event sponsors, had a cover produced in the same manner but on Domtar Colors Blue 110 Index. A special bonus this year was a custom sketch book, state facts and suggested uses were printed with black ink on Neenah Environment, Desert Storm, 80C. A map of ‘Navigating Up North’ was also produced, a poster style piece printed in two colors on Cascade Rolland Natural 70 lb text.
Of course we couldn’t resist adding a little extra letterpress goodness from Studio On Fire, so we whipped up a set of four coasters, printed with 2 fluorescent colors on an Ahlstrom blotter stock, that were slipped into the bag of each camper.
AIGA Minnesota put together a short video about our studio on their emerging designers web site. Check it out:
Bon à Tirer // Taken from the French, “bon à tirer” is a technical term used by printmakers to indicate the final proof of a print, the standard against which all others in the edition are judged.
We got some shirts printed up by the Hot Snot Print Shop for the AIGA event last week. We’ve also got a bunch left- so we’ll be putting them up on our web-store next week along with the “Birds of Sadness” poster Ben did for the Sweet Hair show a few weeks back. We’ll be sure to let all you fine folks know once they’re ready to be purchased.
The shirt was designed with our good old tabletop manual proofing press, strong wood type and a steady hand.
Last night we had a rockin’ time showing off our studio space and letterpress shop to Minnesota AIGA members. A big thanks to Minnesota’s AIGA chapter for giving us the opportunity.
We talked about the relationship of letterpress and design, did some Q&A, drank some Pabst Blue Ribbon and wrapped up the event with a little coaster project on press. Take a look at the coaster sheet – it’s 60pt Ahlstrom blotter paper. We pre printed a couple colors before people arrived. Then, we had a different color set up on both of our Vandercook presses. Everyone got to pull a couple prints, then we die cut the sheet into the set of four coasters. Lots of paper touching and good times had by all. Thanks Kayd Mustonen for taking some pics to share.
We’ve been busy with an AIGA student event this last weekend called Portfolio One-On-One. It’s an event for design students to tour studios in the Twin Cities, have their books looked at and attend some short workshops. We had a group through our studio to see the press room and we also did a workshop about “Planning design with specialty production techniques.” Good times.
We also printed a booklet cover for this AIGA event. We hit the bejesus out of an 80lb cover stock and thought we’d show what the other side looks like. Granted, we don’t run everything this heavy. But a thinner stock with a heavy impression is going to have more show through than a thicker stock with the same impression. On this booklet, nothing was on the reverse side, so it did not matter that the impression was extra hard.
A note about tours – We have student groups from all over the country take tours of our shop and we are happy to do it. However, none of them have ever sent us a box of chocolate with a thank you note. That is until Brigham Young University. Thanks BYU. And to all the other student groups inquiring about tours – we now expect some edibles! ;-)
As the name would imply, a stylist has to have style. This morsel was designed by Westwerk Design and was just featured in the Minnesota AIGA award show. And check out Lara’s site for some really succulent looking food photography.
The letterpress printing is tasty too. The card was printed four colors on the front and a single color on the back. However, we washed up the press four times and did all four single colors on the back as well That gives a nice variety to the presentation of the card on table display on photo shoot sets and studio events.
A heavy ink flood is not the greatest application of letterpress – there is no impression to the information side of this card. We even held on to the tiny 5 point type reversing from a solid. And yes, that many color changes certainly adds up cost. But hey – this job hand eight wash ups!
There is a practical reason to do this kind of solid on a letterpress if you are happy with the more mottled (salty looking) and varied way a letterpress lays this much ink. The reason is stock thickness. Offset printing, which is the best process for printing solids, is usually limited by the thickness of paper for smaller press sheets. To run a thick stock (these are 165lb Neenah) on an offset press gets expensive because you usually need to hire a larger size offset press to handle the stock thickness and have a big press sheet. That just doesn’t make sense for a short run business card project. And most smaller offset presses which could less cost just can not take the stock thickness rattling through the press – if they can get paper to feed through at all. Putting the card stock on a letterpress makes paper feeding possible for a short run job. Offset printing – eat me.