Tag Archive for 'eclipse black'

Fame Speakeasy Invitations

The fine folks over at Fame Retail hold an annual open house for industry friends and clients, building the theme around the booze and munchies they plan on serving each year (you may remember these bingo cards and these fair themed beauties). This year, with a nod to 1920′s prohibition, their team created a speakeasy theme across a set of cards that included mustachioed gents, pin-curled ladies, icons of delicate linework, and plenty of liquor lingo.

The card set was comprised of two stocks, Neenah Classic Crest Solar White 110C and Wausau Royal Compelments Eclipse Black 100c. The white cards were letterpress printed with a blind (inkless) impression before we ran them through the press for a pass of  black ink. Silver ink and a tonal letterpress varnish were used on the black cards.

To top it all off, these invites just won PaperSpecs Gallery’s Take Note Award. Be sure to check out the nice video posted on the PaperSpecs blog.

Ilumini Photography Arts Business Card

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.

 

 

An Oversized Wedding Invitation

Local Minneapolis designers Ned Wright and Laura Belle were married a couple months back in a small backyard ceremony. Both being designers, it makes sense that they started their journey as man and wife by collaboratively designing the invitations for their big day.

Comprised of a main invitation card and an additional information card, this wedding suite combines unusual materials and several print processes. The main invitation is an oversized card (7.5″ x 10.5″) of 145 lb French Packing Board we custom duplexed to 100 lb Wausau Royal Complements Eclipse black cover stock. Studio On Fire letterpress printed the text on one side and then sent the piece off for foiling (white and black) on both sides.

The information card was also oversized (10.5″ x 15″) printed on one of our house stocks, Crane Lettra Pearl White 110C. Black ink is used on both sides, with an additional tonal ink used to create visual texture on the outside of the card. Once the card had completed printing it received several score and perforation lines, allowing the RSVP to be separated and returned.

As a special bonus, the couple had a great video made of their wedding weekend that they agreed to share.

 

Letterpress Love With Baker Associates

We’ve worked with BAKER here in Minneapolis on a few really fun letterpress projects over the last year or so. And they’ve designed some beautiful things for pressing. Most recently, their second installment of the bird themed holiday ornament cards rolled off the press. It is a little bird (a good luck Cardinal) with an ornate frame that die cuts and punches out of thick 60 point blotter stock. It is printed two color each side.

Last years card for Baker was a die cut bird ornament as well. The same production specs, but featuring a punch out owl.

Also in the last few months, we worked through the letterpress printing of the new Baker identity on their business cards. And is was quite the undertaking. They have an interesting post about the process of icon development here. Each employee has their own icon and each card has four color ways. With over 60 employees that was a lot of icons and business cards! They are a custom duplexed 200lbC black and white stock in an undersized narrow card format. (1 x 3.5 inches) BAKER is printed in silver on the black side and the white side receives the four different color variations.

BAKER is a Minneapolis based Branding + Design firm specializing in package design. On the web: bkrdsn.com or tweet: @bkrdsn

Villainy Black Business Card, Gold Edge

These cards designed by Villainy and Associates really make you stop and turn the thing over in your hand. The understated typographic design gives the letterpress production value emphasis. It’s simple and pseudo executive – flashy without being too flashy.

We printed letterpress metallic gold for the information and letterpress varnish on the logotype. We like using a varnish on dark stocks for a tone on tone effect. That gives a slightly better legibility than a totally blind, inkless impression. The stock is a thick 200lb Wausau Eclipse Black with metallic gold edge coloring.

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.

Burn and Crossbones Business Cards

These cards were designed by the Thorburn group here in Minneapolis. They are letterpress printed with a silver ink on both sides of a custom duplex black and white stock.

Custom pasting of a duplex of paper stock is a good way to make a project with look and feel unique. It’s very often the best way to get both the colors and stock thickness desired for a project. And lets face it – most of the stocks available from paper companies as pre-duplexed options are pretty fugly colors and/or texture combinations. This stock is Wausau Royal Complements Eclipse Black 100lb cover pasted to 100% cotton Neenah’s Crane Lettra Flo White 110lbC. For production, these two papers were pasted together, then letterpress printed.

As an end note, I worked at Thorburn several years before the jump to full time operations of Studio On Fire. Check out the Thorburn site here for some solid design work.

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.

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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