For those of you who might not know, printing has a pretty shady past. At one point it was considered the work of Satan (how else could you explain being able to reproduce the Bible so easily?), which is how the profession earned the nickname the “Black Arts.” In full disclosure, there are some who claim this moniker came about because printers were often covered with black ink. Could be, but we like to believe the story with a bit more mystery behind it.
Enter the newest addition to the Studio On Fire shop: our homage to the black arts. Silver ink on a 100% cotton black tee shirt, this is a perfect purchase for anyone wanting rock a little bit of printing history. Buy it here.
This print is the result of a collaboration between illustrator/painter/art maker Oliver Jeffers and swissmiss’ Tina Roth Eisenberg. Quirky and fun, this three color poster measures out at 11″ x 14,” printed in our Minneapolis studio on Crane Lettra Flo White 110lb cover stock. Does anybody else think popcorn sounds really good right now?
Available for purchase over on Swiss Miss.
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.
This is a new letterpress print from Rilla Alexander. She’s been a part of our annual calendar project for several years, so we were super excited to be part of her Sozi character launch this month. This beauty as well as other well crafted Sozi items are available in her shop and also at Collette through the end of December.
We letterpress printed an edition of 100 in red ink on Pearl White Crane Lettra 110lb C. Actual size is 40cm x 30cm. Get one while they last.
This poster is a father and son collaboration. All elements are hand drawn by Koen (age 6) with a Sharpie marker at the dining room table, then arranged digitally. The type is the “Golden Rule” as penned in the honest hand of a child. Maybe what we learned in kindergarten is most important.
It is 14 x 20 in size, letterpress printed in yellow and gold inks on Legion White Eco Rag, 600gsm. Available for sale on our site.
Travis at Lifelong Friendship Society in Brooklyn designed these invitations for his wedding. We love the vintage-yet-modern style with beautiful art nouveau title typography details. The text for the main invite card is nested into the unique and detailed illustration. The elaborate illustration is complete with birds and bees, spiders web, stylized portraits, and lots of geometric love.
We letterpress printed with brown and gold ink on Pearl White Crane Lettra 110lb. The three cards were printed together (in really tight register) as a press sheet and trimmed to size. The linear artwork paired perfectly with the letterpress process, creating sculptural impression highly detailed press work.
This invitation designed by the groom Tyler Thiessen at Neuhaus Design and illustrated by bride Jessie Turner makes their wedding invitation into a fresh art print. It is nice to see a wedding invitation that is illustration centric versus type heavy. They put all the text on the web. You can check out the couples wedding website here.
The illustration is simple with just a little overprinting of bright red and light blue inks. Most of the artwork knocks out, requiring very tight register. (like the blue dotted lines on the hot air ballon.) It is printed on Crane Lettra Flo. White 110lbC The card is like a small poster and folds up to a 5.5 x 5.5 square.
We won’t mince words, this was a hard invitation to print with letterpress. Registration was tight, and the paper does stretch with heavy impression over a solid graphic area. Plus, large areas of solid color are not ideal for letterpress. Letterpress is definitely not like screen printing these kind of solid colors. Most letterpress equipment will not be able to handle this kind of press work. We printed this one on a Heidelberg Cylinder that has the impressional strength to lay down some pressure. Chances are if you send an invitation our way with a lot of ink going down you will get an email with our handy disclaimer that goes something like this. Once all this is understood we can move to press. And as you can see, we DO print areas of solid color and it can turn out very beautiful. Just realize there WILL be variation within the job that is inherent to printing this type of work with letterpress.
This illustrated wedding invitation was influenced by the ultra baroque style of the church location for the marriage ceremony. Federico Jordan designed and illustrated in his unique graphic style. The event will be in the colonial city of San Luis Potosí. The Templo del Carmen was build in 1741 and looks amazing. Inside there is a small chapel know as Capilla de Nuestra señora del Carmen where the brides ancestors are buried.
The card is letterpress printed on Gruppo Cordenons, Canaletto Grana Grossa Bianco 111lbC.
We’ve also worked with Federico in the past on a little illustration promo card with a character that comes apart like a nesting matryoshka doll, with balls. Check out another post about the insane Shakespearian Thinktopia poster we printed, also illustrated by Federico.
Katie Kirk illustrated this fantastic little print to celebrate the fifth anniversary of Eight Hour Day. You can buy one of the edition in their etsy shop.
We printed it in two color letterpress on French Paper Muscletone Pure White 140lb C, at an 8.5 x 11 size.
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)
Thinktopia®, an idea generation company for some of today’s leading brands, commissioned this striking poster from illustrator Federico Jordan. Federico explains “The skull reflects our existence and interior vision: our vanitas.” He created this image for Thinktopia that explores the Shakespearian Yorick, San Jerónimo and mesoamerican skull racks called Tzompantli. There is an article on the back of the poster from Patrick Hanlon at Thinktopia that speaks about branding. (This poster print will serve Thinktopia as a new business tool – a mailing to prospective clients) More companies could learn from this – send out something cool to start a good conversation. We would say that an illustrated letterpress print is guaranteed way to get someones attention.
The 18 x 23 size poster is printed letterpress in four colors on Crane Lettra Pearl White cotton stock in both 110 and 220lb thicknesses on our Heidelberg Cylinder – quite possibly one of the most difficult jobs run in our shop recently. It was difficult because of the amount large areas of solid color, the thickness and size of the stock, and the tight registration. There is no overprinting of any of the colors, so all four color plates lock into each other with little forgiveness for shifts in register created by sheet distortion. Sheet distortion is physical stretching of the paper created under heavy impression. Each pass through the press creates slightly more distortion. So by the time we got to color number four, there was some colorful language as well. The 110lb stock ran pretty well but the 220lb stock is a bear to auto feed – especially five passes through the press.
Not every wedding invite is so typographically unique as this one, with wedding birds too! Emily and Emory, the Bride and Groom designed these fun loving cards with display typography built from basic geometric forms overprinting each other. The warm color palette is three spot PMS colors which overlap and create additional letterpress texture. The cards are Crane Lettra Florecent White 110lbC 5 x 5 size – all printed together on a single large press sheet in tight register. They even included a little “eye spy” art print that turned out really sweet as well. The envelope is a metallic Stardream stock printed with silver metallic ink. Check out Emory’s site for even more illustrative work.