Tag Archive for 'business card'

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Perfect Pressed Plaid

These over sized plaid pattern business cards were designed by our good friend Mark Saunders for his new solo creative venture PlaidLab. They use some great vibrant colors and the overprinting inks make rich and saturated secondary colors.

We letterpress printed them on heavy 220lb Cover Crane Lettra Pearl White. We usually run smaller custom business card orders two cards up on a small press sheet, so it was easy to provide some variety by including two different patterns. The magenta color is the same on both cards, but a color change from orange to blue on one plate gave the cards even more variety. One thing we did to keep the quality of the type crisp and punchy was to print it as a separate pass. By printing the same color in two passes we could run the large graphic plaid with heavy ink density and light ink density on the type. Mark was shooting for something about the size of an iphone, so the final cards were round corner die cut to an over sized 4.5 x 2.25. See comparison pic alongside a standard 3.5 x 2 inch business card for scale.

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.

Blind (inkless) Letterpress Business Card

These cards, designed by Jacob Ward have a heavy blind (inkless) letterpress impression on one side and black ink on the other. A blind hit needs a substantial amount of impression since it is relying only on the change in paper surface without any ink color to define the graphic. The large type size really pops on this card. If you have a good monitor and click through the pics below, you can see that even on a 220lb cotton stock there can be small amount of impression show through on the reverse side.

Squarespace Poster and Business Cards

The simplest looking things can be deceptively complex. This is a tricky little business card and a typographic poster for Squarespace New York. Designed by their Creative Director Tyler Thompson. The design shows restraint, making the logo treatment the hero. And the format is a square card of course.

So why is the business card tricky? It is custom duplexed stock, letterpress printed, laser die cut and edge colored. We custom duplexed Neenah Classic Crest Solar White 110lb Cover up to a 220lb thickness. Then we letterpress printed them several up on a press sheet. A larger press sheet means we can economize the laser cutting by doing more at a time. The laser cutting can leave some scorch marks, so the sheet is masked with a paper tape that peels off after the cutting is complete. Then the sheet is trimmed up into cards and edge colored in black. That 220lb thickness shows off the edge and has a nice smooth surface. The poster is on Crane Lettra 110lb Flo white, pressed in a single PMS blue.

Chef Business Card – Mini Menu Format

This card designed by 3 Advertising repurposes the folding menu format in miniature as a business card, complete with it’s own mini envelope for presentation.

We custom duplexed Neenah Classic Crest Epic Black 80C together with Neenah Classic Crest Classic Natural White 80C to make a 160lb sheet. Then we letterpress printed silver ink on the black side and gray ink on the natural white side. The cards were die cut with a heavy matrix score for folding such a beefy stock. Neenah Classic Crest Antique Gray 80T paper was printed with transparent white ink and custom converted to the mini envelopes.

Fabien Barral Business Cards & Note Cards

Here is another fantastic project designed by Fabien Barral over at Graphic Exchange. He brought in wonderful organic drips and brush strokes that interpret with a unique sculptural quality under letterpress impression. We put down a lot of letterpress printing on this sheet. It’s a good way to make a project affordable – - spread the cost over several items all on the same press sheet. The paper stock is Neenah Classic Crest Solar White 165lb Cover. The sheet contains four business cards and three large note cards. We printed a slightly contaminated opaque white ink for the tonal white effect, also a dense black ink. For our white ink, we usually put just a

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hair of silver in the opaque white to give it a little tone. It also has the benefit of creating a stronger sheen difference between the inked impression and the uncoated paper stock than you would get with a blind (inkless) print. After printing this project went to live in French customs for a little while. And that should answer another question we get a lot – Yes! we do ship international all the time. Just let us know if you have any specific customs needs for your country.

Rad!

Conrad Lim, a photographer out of LA, had some ideas for an identity and we made it happen. He was pretty darn excited that the letters R-A-D were smack dab in the center of his name so it was pretty clear where we needed to go with it.

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Museum Board Business Card, Yellow Edge

A strikingly simple business card designed by Blok Design out of  Mexico City. Sweet type. We letterpress printed on some heavy 4 ply cotton museum board. Edged colored in a delicious yellow. A modern and materially elegant card indeed.

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NSS? Where Was Studio On Fire?

We’ve been asked several time now, “So how come Studio On Fire was not at the National Stationery Show?”

Simply because the lion share of our work as a studio continues to be custom letterpress printing for other designers around the country. We love printing custom work for other designers. We’re good at it and proud of the results. That is what we are focused on and the NSS is not the right venue to promote our services. While we do continue to have a product line, we are promoting it independently, selling to a small number of boutique retailers and museum shops. If you are a retailer and wish to set up a wholesale account, email us and we’ll be happy to send along our catalog.

Here is a sampling of our product from our Designer Series Deskline. We wanted the elements in our product line to feel sort of like a test print or sheet of make ready. Those always have such a wonderful randomness that is enormously difficult to capture intentionally in a layout. This design is Polkaville Party, designed in conjunction with two fine designers here in Minneapolis – Kelly & Kindra, both are currently teaching design over at MCAD.

There is monarch sized stationery with two letterhead designs included, a pinhole perforated dry gum label sheet, folding self mailers, stitched mini journals and a punch out tag and calling card set. All is printed with three color letterpress on cotton and recycled papers. The overprinting creates some sweet purple and greens throughout the prints. Product is for sale on our web site. We are currently offering free shipping within the United States.

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Flooding Letterpress Ink

This post shows a card we letterpress printed for Grass Fed Cattle Company designed by a good friend and design mentor over the years – Michael Skjei. We love the commitment to local farmers and free range meats. If you are local, give these guys a try.

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We seem to be getting an aweful lot of requests to print business designs with floods of solid color. It can work on letterpress – with a couple big caveats.

Will the color be consistent?

We will have a wider range of ink density variation in the print run than an offset press. We do not have computers sitting on press monitoring this, it is all by eye. We matching to a print at the beginning of the run and keep it as a target, adjusting as we go to keep everything as close as we can. But there will be variation.

The heavier the ink density, the more difficult it becomes to hold the detail of fine typographic detail. So if you are flooding, more robust type works better.

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Will my color print solid?

This depends on the type of stock and the color. Lighter colors and smoother paper stocks generally print with less “saltiness” in a solid area of coverage. Since letterpress prints with pressure, we are much more subject to the texture and formation of the sheet of paper to achieve an even solid.

Will there be impression on the text?

Generally, no there will not be impression. Letterpress works best with text and artwork that is pressing into the sheet. If you are looking for impression while flooding a color, this is not a great use of letterpress. Notice how the logo and gray ink have impression, the green flood of color does not.

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Is the cost the same?

A flood of color takes much more time to set up on letterpress than a card that has text only. Generally, this involves making ready the ink fountain and double the amount of makeready sheets to get color up to speed. Since we charge based on press time, printing a flood of color will cost more than  printing a text only design.

However, most small offset printers can’t make a 160lb or heavier sheet of paper run through their press. So that leaves letterpress as a viable method to print to handle these heavier stock thickness. You have to get on a much larger offset press to touch that kind of stock thickness, which means also means bigger quantities and costs.

So yes, we can print solid colors IF you are comfortable with the variations that are inherent to the letterpress process.

Back In Black

I’m back after a helluva week with some crazy virus. I miss writing this thing!

This is a sweet little business card designed by Andrew Young at Exclamation 101. The information wraps the card from front to back. We letterpress printed them on a thick two ply black museum board. Weight wise, it is about 200lbC which gives virtually no show through. We really like the finish on this sheet too. The impression takes with a nice crisp bite and the black is very dense compared to commercial papers.  The metallic silver ink offers great opacity on the black stock.

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Your Business Card Is Crap

We watched this last week and haven’t been able to stop pulling quotes from it.