Tag Archive for 'flood'

Duct Tape and Glitter Business Cards

Today’s post is brought to you by the color pink! Rubine Red, to be exact. Created by the fellas over at Duct Tape and Glitter, these cards used almost every production process we offer, printing with three ink colors (one of them a flood) along with a blind impression, custom duplexing after printing and finished with a swipe of edge coloring.

Despite the multiple processes these went through, we were able to keep an eye on the cost by printing the fronts and backs up on the same presssheet. By setting up the sheet this way colors that were common to both sides (like the Rubine Red) only had to be setup on press once, rather than once for the front and then again for the back.

After printing we duplexed the presssheet back to itself which created a hefty 220lb sheet and also allowed us to conceal any impression show through (impression area from the front the shows on the back of the sheet) in the middle of the card.

 

Hard Graft Print Collateral

Hard Graft, it literally means “Hard Work,” and boy does this European company live up to their name. Makers of beautifully designed and handcrafted gadget cases, this duo (one English, one Austrian) has a passion for what they do–and it shows. From designing the products and tracking down the finest italian craftsman (they used to make every single item themselves), to packing each order by hand, they are involved in every aspect of their business. We’re actually surprised they don’t have sheep in their back yard (then again, for all we know, maybe they do). Moral of the story–they care, these are the kind of people we love to work with.

To complement their 100% wool felt and leather goods, they designed noted cards, merchandise cards and labels for us to produce. The note card and angular merchandise cards were printed on 60pt Ahlstrom Blotter, which is what we traditionally recommend for coasters. Though the outcome is beautiful, these items were a challenge to run on press. Whenever you run a flood of color alongside fine type you will constantly have to fight to keep the text crisp while still making the flood of color as solid as possible. This project was especially tricky because the blotter stock is notoriously challenging to run solid areas of color on, there is no avoiding what we call a “salty” result–luckily this was the look they were going for. They were finished with a custom diecut, which helps the cards tuck tightly into felt pockets prior to shipping (see the picture below that Hard Graft was nice enough to send over of the cards in use).

The labels were printed on Strathmore Soft White label stock, receiving a kiss-cut after printing, allowing them to easily peel off the backing sheet.

Olli Salumeria Business Cards

Yael Miller, from Miller Creative, designed these gorgeous business cards for Olli Salumeria, a salumeria that makes dry-cured salumi in Virginia. Though the outcome is, dare we say stunning, these cards posed several production challenges along the way.

As a general rule, we don’t suggest using letterpress when the design uses floods of color and require clients to agree to our Solid Areas Disclaimer before we will proceed with their job. To achieve a nice solid coverage of color we had to run the ink heavy across the card, thankfully we had added some additional stroke weight to the artwork in the pre-press stage so the line work would not fill in on press. Another trick we used was lightly wetting the sheet before running- this cuts down on the appearance of saltiness and variation across the color.

Flood aside, take a look at that red. Yael refers to it as “Ferrari red,” and we can’t say that we disagree. The design actually specified a Pantone GOE color, which is not a Pantone book we match to, but since we custom mix all of our colors we were able to match a swatch that was mailed in for reference. We took one of our base red inks and pumped it up with a hit of fluorescent red to really get the color to pop.

These cards are printed on Crane Lettra 110lb cover that we custom duplexed after printing to make 220lb. By duplexing after printing we were able to run the flood without completely flattening the text on the other side of the card (not to mention we love any excuse to make a business card thicker). A custom diecut, shaped to reference a ticket or label, finished off the cards in an unexpected, yet refined way.

This project can also be found on FPODesignWorkLife, and Miller Creative.

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.

Strathmore Gold Award – Bennett Stationery

V2 Creative in Las Vegas designed this system for the Bennett Family Foundation. We just received the Strathmore Gold Award for our production of the system. Each stationery element is letterpress printed for the text and with a beautiful blind inkless impression for the logo initials. It utilizes one of the Strathmore sheets we really like for letterpress – 110lb Strathmore Cover Bristol. This sheet has a bit of tooth to the finish and takes a crisp impression. Plus there are matching text weights sheets. The business cards are scored an fold open to present the contact information. The warm gray flood of color was offset printed (inside of folder, back of letterhead and business cards and insides of envelopes). When we manage production of a business stationery system, usually any offset printing is sent out and completed first. This allows us to properly plan full size press sheets. For instance, this project was able to combine

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the letterhead and envelope on the same offset sheet. Then we take the sheets back in house and complete the letterpress and finishing. And as this system shows, we do have the capability to letterpress print full size folders with our stationery system production.

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.

One Card For Three People

The esteemed fellows at Wilderness in Portland sent us an unusually simple business card for letterpress printing. Rather than load up the card with four telephone numbers, an email, a fax, a twitter, etc – they all simply share the same card. A nice solution for keeping cost down too. Wilderness is the new design trailhead of Aaron James Draplin, John Phemister and David Nakamoto. We can’t wait to see what they do next.

Of course, simple design doesn’t always mean simple production. We printed these on 220lb Pearl White Lettra, 100% cotton. Flooding a dark color like this on letterpress is difficult to lay down and keep consistent over the course of the print run – especially on a stock that has some texture to the surface. When we print a solid like this, we generally go to our Paul Bunyan of Heidelberg Windmill presses – the 13 x 18. Even so, there is still a salty, weathered look to how a stock like this will take a solid coverage on letterpress. But we like it that way, it ain’t offset.

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A Tasty Food Stylin’ Business Card

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.

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Murphy & Co – Offset & Letterpress Business Card

This well crafted card was designed at VO2 Media in Minneapolis for Murphy & Co. Design, designers of exceptional residences. But don’t let the simple look of this business card fool you. It’s design subtlety has layers of complexity in production. Here’s how:

The impression is not very deep and the paper is not overly thick. It is Neenah Classic Crest Avon Brilliant White 130C. The design on the front side has a subtle vignette effect around the edges which is printed offset (flat). If you look at the close up detail carefully you can see a soft line screen very light gray in color over the tone of the paper. The information on the card is printed in three letterpress colors – light gray, dark gray and a deep red. We matched the deep red letterpress ink to the offset printed ink on the back of the card.

The design on the back of the card requires offset printing plus an overall varnish to help seal the flood of ink. (When a flood of ink is printed on uncoated paper, darker colors and especially reds can have a tendency to rub of the surface of the paper. Sealing the sheet with a varnish or aqueous coating helps mitigate this ink transfer.)

Producing a card like this is not quick, which leads to a note about expense and quantity. This piece of paper required three passes through our letterpresses and two passes through an offset press, then a final trim of the press sheets. That is labor intensive with a separate set up, wash up and press run for each color. In an age of digital printing where you can pay by the number of copies, there is a misconception that a lower quantity will make a big difference in price for letterpress. In fact, a production quantity of 100 business cards or 1000 business cards really does not make a big difference in the cost of a job with these kind of production specs. Pricing for custom work all depends on how complex your production specifications are. We advise that the more complexity in your project, the more it will cost. A one color card letterpress card can be cost effective. But like anything well crafted, five times through the presses most certainly costs more.

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Six Degrees Of Colored Paper

Since letterpress doesn’t do a great job flooding a page with ink, designers must come up with production alternatives to bring in big areas of color. One of the things that can be done when designing for letterpress is combining different colored paper stocks. This works especially well for projects with multiple pieces that need to coordinate – like stationery systems, wedding invitations, etc. Our previous post on the Ocean House system shows a splash of color added to the back of everything via offset printing. Adding a contrasting paper stock for pieces like envelopes and cards can be a more cost effective production solution to still add color to letterpress and avoid  offset (or “flat” printing as people call it when comparing to letterpress)

This system designed over at Space150 by Jason Strong brings color to the system by adding a couple contrasting papers. We printed the same letterpress ink color on the white stock and then the burgundy colored stock for the envelopes. This creates a tone-on-tone effect that remains legible and adds a nice texture. A smaller note card in a pink stock also matches the pink ink used throughout the pieces. The business cards are on thick 220lb Crane Lettra, which does an excellent job eliminating the impression show through of a two sided card.

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Ocean House Stationery – Mucca Design

Our good friends at Mucca Design in NYC designed this beauty. A tight piece of typography with a punch of color to bring everything to life makes this system sweet.

The large color flood on the back of everything is offset printed. Then we printed two color letterpress. The paper is Monadnock PC100 throughout which gives a nice warmness and a little texture.

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