The 2014 Studio On Fire letterpress printed desktop calendar, a project that has been happening annually for over a decade, has recently been completed and now ready for purchase over in our shop.
Each year we here at Studio On Fire select ink colors, paper stocks, and a come up with a theme before asking a slew of illustrators to join us in creating custom artwork for each month. This year we tackled January and October, the remaining months feature illustrations from the ever talented: Beeteeth, Lab Partners, Brian Gunderson, Jolby, and Kate Bingaman-Burt.
The theme for 2014 was “Happy Place,” playing on the concept that your happy place might be an actual place or maybe just something small in your life that brings you joy. From kittens to castles and coffee to burgers, this year is chock-full of delightful illustrations to keep you in a good mood all year (small disclaimer: you might get very hungry some months).
As for the nitty-gritty print specifications, there are two major components of this calendar: the easel stand and the calendar pages themselves. The production of the easel stand started with us creating a custom duplexed stock comprised of French PopTone Sno Cone 100# cover and French Construction Grout Grey 100# cover. After duplexing the stands were letterpress printed with a tonal ink before being diecut and hand assembled. Our favorite feature of the stand is on the back where the diecut allows you to get a peek at the Sno Cone blue paper.
The calendar pages were all printed at the same time on one press sheet, French Speckletone Starch White 140# cover, alongside the outer wrap that uses bits and pieces of imagery from the calendar months. Though the color palette is slightly more traditional than we’ve used in the past, (a pale blue, orangey red, mustardy yellow and a metallic champagne in place of black), we think the colors kept the everything feeling bright and cheery (and allowed for beautiful overprinting).
Available for purchase right now in our store, and for a limited time the promo code SOF2014 will get you one for only $20 bucks!
The folks over at Base Art Co do some great work ranging from book covers to responsive web design, though our favorite project is probably these business cards they designed for themselves and sent our way for production.
A card comprised of two stocks that we custom duplexed together after printing, the final weight of this card ended up being a sturdy 320# cover. The white side of the card is Crane Lettra Flo White 220# cover stock with hit of tonal letterpress varnish, while the grey is French Durotone Steel Grey 100# cover letterpress printed with a silver ink and white foil. After duplexing and getting trimmed down to their slightly undersized dimensions of 3″ x 1.75,” a bright yellow edge color was applied, which added a splash of color in addition to hiding the seam of the custom duplex.
A few years back we were able to work with a great couple, Michelle and Brad, who wanted their wedding invitations to resemble old school telegrams. We went to town, turning small details from their life into design elements that really enhanced the suite; their dog was even incorporated as having given the “stamp of approval.”
Though the design is completely custom, we kept production costs to a minimum by using only one ink across the entire project (even on the envelopes, we used the same teal ink, which resulted in a great tonal effect). Letterpress printed on French PopTone Whipped Cream 1oo# cover, we duplexed these after printing to create a thick 200# stock. The envelopes are French’s Blu Raspberry A7 square flap.
Pivot Interiors once again embraced their California heritage when designing their 2013 desktop calendar that we produced for them. In 2012 they featured classic California architecture and this year they showcased some of the golden state’s most notable cultural treasures.
All of the monthly pages were run at the same time on one large press sheet, which helps keep some costs down (we only had to set up and wash up each color once), but can also cause some challenges on press. As sheets are run through the press over and over, the paper can begin to warp, wreaking havoc on registration. Taking the time to properly trap all of the artwork in the prepress stage and watching the amount of impression while on press can help quell this.
The pages and outer folding wrap were printed on one of our large cylinder presses with four inks on Mohawk Via Vellum Bright White 100# cover. The desktop stand was letterpress printed with one ink on a custom duplexed stock comprised of Mohawk Bright White 100# cover and French Poptone Blu Raspberry 100# cover. After printing the stand was custom diecut and hand assembled.
Heads of State designed this identity and packaging for newly launched artisan confectioners Wondermade. They wanted this truly tasty marshmallow treat to be bold and fantastic on the crowded shelves at confection stores. With a unique assortment of flavors Wondermade needed a really special little box.
We letterpress printed this packaging assortment on French Papers. Using Speckletone Madero Beach 80lbC custom duplexed to six different Poptone 65lbC colors we achieved a 145lbC hefty box, still able to pack flat and fold up sturdy. On press, we used the same plates for all the boxes, just adding a color wash up on the diagonal strip plate as we rotated through the Poptone colors. That way the outside and inside of the package coordinate and the colors can be matched up with flavors. The boxes are sealed with a digitally printed label that Wondermade can add as they create new flavors. We think the letterpress craft of these boxes makes the ritual of opening and enjoying even more special. You should try them now.
We’ve had the pleasure of printing several wedding suites designed by local Minneapolis creative Kate Arends. A full-time designer over at Cue, Kate also freelances and does a beautiful job curating her blog Wit + Delight.
Sized to fit in preexisting #10 envelope, the first suite is printed with three inks on Neenah Classic Crest Natural white 165C with a flash of metallic gold edge coloring. No checkboxes in sight, the RSVP is cleverly designed as one card perforated down the middle–allowing the guest to respond with a hearty “YES” response card or use the alternate “Regretfully Decline” postcard.
We love the bold graphic nature, humorous wording and great use of an inline font on this second suite. Printed on French Poptone Sweet Tooth 140C, the invitation card scores twice to z-fold into the envelope. Though the cards use only black ink, the fluorescent green envelope, Mohawk’s BridteHue in UltraLime, adds a punch of color.
Update // See Jon and Alecia’s entire wedding over on 100 Layer Cake.
Lastly, there’s a wedding suite and save the date Kate designed for an Australian bride out of Adelaide. Filled with elegant typographic lockups and textured backgrounds, this was printed with gold ink on French Poptone Whipped Cream 140C .
Designed by Priest + Grace for Howler magazine, these oversize business cards are an amazing example of what a good design and a little tonal ink can do. Howler magazine is a quarterly publication for soccer enthusiasts in North America, so it only made sense for these cards to reference the size and color of actual penalty cards used in soccer.
There are several production techniques we used to successfully produce these cards. First, instead of printing all of the information blind we used a tonal ink color (a red ink on the red, yellow on the yellow). When something is printed blind it relies solely on good lighting conditions to be legible. Our solution is to print using a tonal ink, which creates just enough contrast between the artwork and the paper to make your contact information visible. Secondly, these cards were printed with fronts and backs up on the same sheet, duplexing the sheet after printing. This allowed us to run a heavy impression on press but then conceal the impression show through by duplexing the sheet back to itself.
The red cards are printed on Mohawk Via Scarlet Vellum 80C (duplexed to make 160C) and the yellow cards are on French Poptone Lemon Drop 100C (duplexed to make 200C).
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.
An essential reason French Paper Company stands out in a world of large paper conglomerates is their unique design affair. They’ve had a longstanding relationship with Charles Spencer Anderson Design here in Minneapolis that has fueled and produced arguably some of the most visual ephemera to promote paper in the last decade. And trust us, here at Studio On Fire we see A LOT of promotional materials from paper companies. We were excited to be a part of that legacy with the latest French Paper promotion – a paper “Air Kraft” designed by the crew at CSA Design.
We worked closely with CSA to finalize the production. The sheets are letterpress printed in two colors on French Speckletone Kraft 140lbC. These Air Kraft are actually flight worthy, but you have to be sure to follow the instructions and tape a dime into the nose of the plane for a good glide.
Speckletone Kraft is one of those papers great for designers who fall in love with chipboard, only to realize that actual raw chip does not have color specifications. (In a batch of chipboard stock you may get some gray sheets or some dark brown sheets, it just depends on what went into the pulper) We like to use it especially when matching envelopes are needed.
We were excited to produce this booklet, designed and illustrated in-house at Target by Aaron Melander. This piece was created for guests of the Target Chalet as a field guide to the 2011 Winter X Games.
To begin the project, we worked closely on the paper selection. It needed to be thick and sturdy in feel yet thin enough to do some 180 degree folds to form the inside cover pocket. For the cover we duplexed two stocks after printing – off white on the outside and brown on the inside. The outside is 78lbC Canaletto Granna Grossa printed in tight register three color letterpress. A tonal pattern printed on French Poptone Hot Fudge 80lbC floods the inside.
One of our favorite commercial shops in town then helped with the interior printing and bindery. The gutt was traditional 4 color offset printed and saddle stitched at Shapco. Since the open edges of the cover are folded to the interior a final trim with the gutt in place was not possible. That meant the gutt pages needed to be stitched separately, trimmed to size, then stitched again into the cover.
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.