Tag Archive for 'letterpress services'

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Four Friends Letterpress Business Cards – Pt 2

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This is part two showing the production of business cards on our Heidelberg Windmill. Be sure and see Part 1 showing the finished cards.

We start with a high resolution film negative. The negative is used to expose the plastic plates. The plates are attached to an aluminum base and placed into the press. The press uses air suction to pick up a sheet of paper on the left side and deliver it into the press for printing. The printed sheets are automatically stacked in the delivery pile on the right side of Continue reading ‘Four Friends Letterpress Business Cards – Pt 2′

Smashing Alphabets Letterpress Poster

Coming soon to an alphabet near you is a typographic mash up. Once again Spunk Design Machine created a simply amazing poster, this time for Chank. Be sure and check him out as he tours the design community.

And getting smashed comes easy for paper on a letterpress. Hot off our big Heidelberg cylinder press, these are some stylin’ letterpress posters. Printed on a lighter weight 65lb Poptone Cover from French paper and letterpressed in two colors. I’d steal it.

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An Advertising Sleeper Cell

In the spirit of the freemasons, there exists a creative group called Levy 7. Not much is known – they describe themselves as, “a collection of like-minded individuals who, through their awesomeness and grace, elevate the larger group in any and every social and professional endeavor, making us simply the most dynamic advertising sleeper cell/social club in the free world.”

The materials were designed by our friends in DesignWorks at BBDO in New York, a group that bleeds pure design talent. There are business cards, coasters and of course, cigar bands. We letterpress printed the materials in two metallic ink colors. The black paper is ultra thick custom duplexed Black Stonehenge. The white is paper is 179lb Crane Cover, 100% cotton. The cigar band stock was a black text weight from French Paper. After the labels were printed, we applied a remoist glue to the back edge and die cut them. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to form my own letterpress sleeper cell fraternity.

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Look Mom, No Script Fonts – A Wedding Invite

If script fonts on wedding invitations generally make your stomach turn, this invite layout should provide some typographic Alka-Seltzer. That’s what happens when a great interactive designer gets married. Designed by the groom himself, Jamey Erickson principal over at Sevnthsin in Minneapolis created his invites with a simple and bold typographic layout. Check out some Sevnthsin interactive work here. (They did this great website recently for P.O.S.)

The column layout using justified type accents information and creates heirarchy in a way unique to wedding invitations. The invite set was letterpress printed in our studio with black and silver ink on a single press sheet to keep costs reasonable. (just the little dotted lines of hearts are in silver) The whole invitation set uses Crane Lettra 110lb Pearl White cotton paper stock with matching envelopes. The program card was printed separately closer to the wedding date. It is a very long and narrow card format with printing on each side to handle all the program information. All in all, simple type, done up proper.

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Thought And Motion Letterpress Poster

This design poetry is from Jeff Johnson and the esteemed crew at Spunk Design Machine in Minneapolis, done for the Univeristy of Minnesota. They have a keen sense of design experimentation and always seem to keep things playful. For this poster, there are only three ink colors printed but the beauty of overprinting those colors really creates some dimension in the artwork. The art work is a mix of vector and raster. You can see the detail shots of the halftone images, they are pretty course line screens. The final poster is pinhole perforated into a three parts giving the whole piece a sweet little bit of texture.

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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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Trajectory: Shapely Cards With A Punch

The folks over at Cue don’t mess around. They designed this seriously good card with a cartouche-like outer shape. We printed a single color letterpress on each side and die cut the cards with a small punch in the center.

When you are printing a business card with letterpress on each side, usually one side is chosen as the “hero side” and gets a bit more impression. When die cutting the hero side also faces up. The side on which the knife enters the paper is more rounded – more noticeable on thick stocks. This card is 100% cotton Crane Cover 179lb Pearl White.

(Completely unrelated: when my angry and nerdy designer side comes out with an insult, I’m likely to call somebody a cartouche-bag.)

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ARTCRANK – A Poster Party For Bike People

If you are in Minneapolis, be sure to hit this one on April 4th. The ARTCRANK poster show blends a love for bikes and poster art. It is now in it’s third year. Here is a preview of a new print of the “cranky peddler” we just inked for Jason Strong. The light blue poster was in last years show, the brown poster is new and hot off the press for this years show – a perfect set. Make sure to be at the event to snag one, we only editioned 100.

The brown 17 x 22 poster is printed on French PopTone Hot Fudge stock. We printed dense black ink for the background, then overprinted the metallic silver. Note the size of the plate (9 x 12) in relation to the 17 x 22 sheet size. Since letterpress plate cost can add up quickly, keeping the plate size smaller keeps the production costs down. (Two plates for a full 17 x 22 image size would add up to around $400.)  And we love the detail we get from photopolymer plates too. The line work in the polymer plate material holds up very well. We recommend lines not go below .35pt in size.

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Love Correspondence: Letterpress Engagement Book

What does a really classy guy do when it is time to pop the big question? Buy a ring to be sure. But here is another little something – a small book of various emails between the couple,  collected, bound and side sewn as a letterpress book. We designed this little gem as a request from the groom-to-be. He compiled all the email notes between the two of them from the past four years and sent them to us. We’ll keep the couple and their notes anonymous, but here are the production details:

The gutt of the book is digitally printed in black text. The pages have a single hit of blind letterpress on the french folded edge. The pages are side sewn together and tuck into a custom hard bound book cover with black book cloth. We printed a custom liner on the cover interior with silver ink on black paper. The cover of the book and the title page are also letterpress printed in silver ink. The paper is 100 percent cotton Crane Lettra 80 lb text.

We’ve confirmed that she said yes.

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Rhymesayers Cards – Metallic Color and Heavy Ink

These guys are certainly one of the hottest Minneapolis record labels. Rhymesayers Entertainment sent us this business card design for a raw and painted letterpress look.

Production turned out sweet, but it has some letterpress challenges.

Colored Metallic Ink on Black Stock

This card is printed on a custom duplexed paper – French Construction Black glued to French Speckletone. On the black side we printed a red metallic ink. Metallic ink colors on in letterpress or offset printing are opaque BUT as color pigment such as red is added the ink becomes more transparent. The look is more subtle than a foil stamp.

Large Ink Area with Small Type Reversing Out

In modern letterpress application, clients want to see impression. As a general rule, reversing small type out of a larger graphic is not the best use of letterpress. The type is not getting “impressed” – the graphic around the type is. So, if you are looking for letterpress impression with your text, don’t reverse out of a field of color. Note how the small information text and the logo on the black side of the card have more visible impression than the logo inside the spatter mark.

An additional challenge with a large area of ink coverage becomes holding onto small detail within the graphic and running the ink heavy enough for good dense coverage.  On this card, the raw and heavy ink was desirable, the look is a like a heavy paint on chipboard. You can see how the heavy ink begins to “squeeze” a bit on both the logo and the information type. Sometime to get crisp type we can run a large graphic separate from small text even though they may be the same ink color. This allows us to run a heavier film of ink for the graphic and get solid coverage, then run a lighter film of ink for the text and get crisp type.  However, that does mean an additional set up and press run.

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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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Conor Lawrence – Rhino Stationery

What could be better than a letterpressed rhino ready to charge? One with wings? Ok, here it is.

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This is a two color letterpress stationery set for artist rep Conor Lawrence designed by Aurora Whittet at Red Organic. The printing is red and silver metallic inks on Neenah Classic Crest Solar White. The cards are on a thick, rhino worthy 165lb cover stock.

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