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.
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.
The book features work designed by us, as well as work designed by clients, all of which was produced here in our Minneapolis location. Pictures of our ever expanding workspace also made it in alongside a forward written by our Principal.
Since we couldn’t, in good conscience, let a book about us not include any actual letterpress, all of the covers were letterpress printed at Studio On Fire and shipped off to meet the gutt of the book in the final stages of production. Due to the heavy 100 point thickness of the recycled cover boards, all of the covers were hand fed into our Gietz platen press. They are printed with a day glo ink using deep etch copper plates. We love the contrast of raw and refined created by the bright color next to the gray board.
It’s already shipping in Europe and will be released here in the states in late October. We got our hands on an advance copy, so we thought we’d share a bit of a sneak peek with you.
We printed these for New Found Original – a new online shop selling a carefully selected and ever changing collection of graphic products. They commissioned artist and designer Ryan Todd to design a set of four luxury letterpress coasters for their first collaboration project and introductory collection. The coasters are now for sale at NewFoundOriginal.com and Ryantodd.com
These were letterpress printed in two colors on extra heavy 60pt blotter stock. With the colors common to all four coasters, they were printed together and die cut four up out of the press sheets. We were really happy with how well the overprinting colors actually create a much darker third color. This is overprinting at it’s best – when the illustration is really planned to make use of that third color. Complementary colors do that best.
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
This invitation was designed by Julia Kostreva. We felt this was a unique wedding stationery set in both it’s design and production. Julie worked with us to lay out the press sheet for her design in a way that could utilize a split ink fountain. (That’s were a couple colors are loaded in the ink fountain and blended together in a single color pass on press.) It is printed on Crane Lettra Fluorescent White 110lb cover. It also has a unique halftone applied to the floral artwork that made additional visual texture within the letterpress printing.
One of the best ways to get lots of color in a letterpress project is to print a colored paper. For these business cards Cricket Design Works in Madison, WI chose three colors for some extra vibrant variety in their design.
The paper is all custom duplexed from French Paper Poptone colors. We love the color options and small quantity availability of this paper line. These cards are printed on Gumdrop Green, Wild Cherry and Blu Raspberry each pasted to Poptone Sweet Tooth White on the opposite site for a 200lb heavy weight. The cards were printed with a metallic silver ink first, then overprinted in black. The same artwork and ink colors were used for all three business cards on the press sheets. (Everyone received all three colors.) This made the project more budget friendly since all we had to do was change out paper stock while running the prints – no extra wash ups or ink color changes.
The Studio On Fire 2010 Calendar is now available on our new web site. This calendar is a decade marker for us. Established the end of 1999, Studio On Fire began letterpress printing in a cold Minnesota basement. Our first press occupied a spot between the boiler and the litter box, and oh, how the studio has since grown. Now seven presses strong with a fully equipped studio space, we celebrate ten years as a bustling design and print studio.
This Tenfold Edition calendar is letterpress printed with four colors on a cotton-blend stock, each month beautifully illustrated by selected designers the world over.
Jan/Jul_ Studio On Fire
Mar/Sept_ Brian Gunderson
Apr/Oct_ The Little Friends of Printmaking
Jun/Dec_ Rilla Alexander (Rinzen)
Not that a heart felt email blast or animated web message for the holidays isn’t all well and good, but as you may have guessed we are suckers for a good old fashioned ink on paper. The next few days, we’ll show some previous custom holiday projects we’ve letterpress printed in the hopes of inspiring your own letterpress holiday projects. The holiday card seems to be one of those notorious last minute tasks for creative types. We are already heavily into estimating custom cards for many designers. And as much as we love rushing last minute projects, earlier is always better and leaves many more production options available. Word to the wise, ask us early for an estimate on your project.
Who says typographic characters don’t make delightful tree ornaments? This card was designed by Katie and Nate over at Eight Hour Day. The green combined with hot pink makes a unique holiday color combo. The card was die cut to produce two parts for a desktop Christmas tree, to be decorated further with objects on your desktop. It was letterpress printed on thick Fox River Blotter stock from Neenah Paper. Since the paper is produced without any surface sizing the blotter sheet has a more mottled appearance in how the textured surface accepts a large solid ink area like the green tree. This gives the printed piece some additional tactile quality. Fa la la la la, ooolala.
A bilingual wedding can be challenge. The bride needed invites in English and the groom needed Spanish. The simplest solution for this wedding in Mexico was both English and Spanish versions of the invitation. We designed and letterpress printed them with a textural yet refined style – a geometric border with a simple hand lettering for the couples names. The stock is Canalleto Grana Grossa 111lb Cover (20% cotton) and is printed in three match colors. The overprinting creates additional dimension and colors in the flower and vine motif. To integrate the invites closely with envelopes, we matched our ink colors to existing envelope colors from French Paper’s Poptone color line – orange fizz and limeade. Salud!
We like our printing aprons, but sexy and sustainable clothing fits nicely with letterpress too. We were asked to designed and produced these new garment tags and business cards for new LA based label – Degree Six Clothing. And they are sexy indeed, but in an earthy conscious sort of way.
They create garments with consciously produced fabrics, so for our part we used a fully recycled material for the project. Notable is the 100% recycled 80pt book board. Also, the cards are long and narrow – only half the size of a typical business card. We worked with the Hot Snot screen printing shop to put down our fluorescent green plant pattern on sheets of the book board. Since screen printing ink is opaque, we got a nice bright green color on the darker colored board. Then we letterpress printed metallic 877 for the text. Screen printing does well on a lot of things, but it does not like tiny type. The tags were hole punched, trimmed to size and edge colored with the signature fluorescent green Degree Six color. The board thickness is great for flashing a glimpse of the accent edge coloring. Can wait to see them in stores soon.
This invitation suite was designed by the bride, Stacey Averbuch. It is an elegant invitation in it’s typographic texture, mixing a coarse script font with a finely serifed engravers typeface. The ink is dark brown letterpress on Crane Lettra cotton paper. A cement green envelope color from French Paper was used for all the envelopes in the set. Email Stacey if you really like the design and would like her to work on a custom stationery set for you.
This a good wedding tip: Colored Envelopes. We like the simplicity of adding color to a wedding invitation set by using a colored envelope. It’s a great way to put some color in the set without the expense of letterpress printing more color.
The same dark brown color is printed on both the cards and the envelopes. We printed the invite cards together on a single press sheet and trimmed them to size after printing. That keeps the cost of all the cards more friendly. Also, don’t forget to include a thank you card while printing your inviations. That saves time and money in the long run. We specialize in printing custom sets brought to us by other designers and event planners. Thanks Stacey for a sharp looking invitation.