Tag Archive for 'offset'

Winter Xgames Field Guide

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.

 

 

 

Touchpoint – Foil, Letterpress and Laser Cut

These extra fine business cards were designed by Merge Creative and Touchpoint. Once in hand they require a good touching and groping session. They wanted a card with an OMG factor and this is certainly one of the most elaborate cards we’ve put together. The paper stock has a surprising skin-like feel. It is from the Appleton Coated Curious Collection. We custom duplexed the card from two colors. The black side is Skin Black 141lb Cover. That is pasted to Skin White 141lb Cover for a total thickness of 280lb Cover. With that kind of heavy, this card definitely has a thump factor.

Production went something like this… The black stock is hot foil stamped in a clear gloss foil and a mirror finish metallic silver. The white stock is letterpress printed in metallic silver ink. Then the black and white sheets are pasted together in register into a heavy duplex sheet. Those sheets are covered with a protective mask on both sides. The masked sheets are laser cut into the custom shaped business cards and the protective mask is removed.

This was an update to the look and feel of the orange Touchpoint business cards printed over a year ago. Those were on Neenah Classic Crest Solar White 165lb. The production of them was elaborate as well. Those cards were offset printed with and orange solid, foil stamped in clear and metallic silver, letterpress printed in silver, masked and laser cut to final size.

Space 150 v25 Business Cards

Space 150 is a Minneapolis based company that has made some waves in the creative community by reinventing its identity every 150 days. This version was designed by Evan Nagan. We’ve produced many previous Space 150 business card versions as well – see some of them here and here.

Like the previous versions we’ve printed, these business cards take some tricky production. They are printed three color offset on one side (flood of black, purple and blue) and 2 color letterpress printed on the reverse (blue and tonal white). They have a unique two color gradient treatment on their edges. The paper is Wausau Royal complements 100lb Bright White which is custom duplexed after offset printing to a final thickness of 200lb cover. For a great edge color effect we recommend a thickness of 160lb or greater. The thicker the better.

It’s a big task! Each identity version is cards for nearly 70 people…

Q&A – Contemporary Letterpress Printing

Studio On Fire principal Ben Levitz answered some questions on contemporary letterpress printing last week for “letterpress week” over at Oh Hello Friend. Here is the Q&A exchange:
Just what is letterpress?
Letterpress is a method of relief printing. It is the process of inking a type high reversed image and then transferring that ink to a substrate, making a print of the positive image. While previous generations relied on moveable wood and metal type, most modern letterpress is achieved with a plastic material called photopolymer. Photopolymer has bridged the gap between the computer and letterpress printing presses. A digital file with correct specifications can be moved to water wash polymer plates and printed on letterpress in place of handset materials.
So why Letterpress? How does letterpress stand unique as a printing method?
Letterpress used to be the primary method of all printing. Nowadays designers have so many printing options – digital printing, offset printing, screen printing – letterpress as a printing method is such a small part of todays printing industry. However, we’ll give you three good reasons letterpress is alive and well.
#1. Tactile Design – Like to feel what you see? That sculptural impression is a primary reason for using letterpress printing. This heavy impression is how letterpress has reinvented itself over the past couple decades. Things like text, line work and patterns offer an impression into soft paper material. As a designer, if you get the artwork right and pair it correctly with a material, the resulting impression is unmistakably letterpress. It is an effect unmatched by any other printing method.
#2. Unique Materials – Just try running a toothy 600gsm cotton stock through a digital printer. Maybe some thick blotter paper for coasters? A thick duplexed stock business card stock perhaps? Even thin onion skin stock or napkins? Yes, letterpress will print it all. Lots of special stocks that just won’t run through modern offset and digital presses. Letterpress offers material versatility that is unmatched by any modern presses. Just don’t ask for slick coated stocks, they don’t like to take an impression.
#3. Upscale Presentation- The materials we print on for letterpress generally cost more than going to any local quick print shop. And the time consuming nature of letterpress printing process means it is not mass produced. It has that artisan quality which sets it apart. The cost of each color makes projects printed with letterpress have a certain simplicity. Generally letterpress projects are only a couple colors. There are no slick gradients or drop shadows. We hear all the time that anything looks better letterpress. We’d say this is because letterpress makes people simplify the design.
What is your heart and passion behind letterpress?
Speaking as both a designer and letterpress printer for the past decade, I’d say letterpress is still gaining momentum as a production method. When people get a letterpress printed business card handed to them and turn it over in their hand, they feel it, look at it closer and consider it . It literally buys extra seconds in their hands. It is this notable pause that exemplifies letterpress printing as a breath of fresh air. As our society increase our digital communications and the time we spend in front of glowing screens, letterpress printing becomes an even more unique counterpoint. It is something we both see AND feel. We are tactile beings and letterpresses tangibleness makes us connect.
My passion behind letterpress printing and starting Studio On Fire goes back to studying original masters like William Morris, W.A. Dwiggins and Fredrick Goudy. These fellows truly understood and merged both design and production. A critique of todays design reality is that fewer and fewer designers understand the production method for which they are designing. As designers we have so many options, we’ve become generalists. At Studio On Fire design and letterpress are dating again. We are committed to making letterpress printing one of the most premium and relevant production methods for contemporary design. Understanding our niche letterpress market and offering production advice to the designers that come to us how we work. Merging design intent with letterpress printing keeps our work exciting.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Biography – Ben Levitz, Studio On Fire
Company founder Benjamin Levitz received his BFA in Communication Design from the College of Visual Arts. He spent nearly a decade in the creative industry working with design leaders at Kilter, Larsen/California, and Thorburn design agencies. His creative expertise has focused on design as a branding tool for a large and varied list of national companies with work consistently appears in award shows and publications of AIGA, Communication Arts, Graphis, Print magazine and Type Directors Annual. He has served as an adjunct faculty member at the College of Visual Arts teaching advanced typography course work.
Ben’s tactile design sensibility led to the founding of Studio On Fire. The studio began in 1999 with a vision of uniquely combining design and production skills in modern letterpress work. Ben left the agency world in 2006 to run the studio full time. The Minneapolis studio currently produces it’s own design and letterpress projects in addition to printing custom work from for an impressive list of agencies and design firms across the United States.
See and read more at the company website studio on fire.

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

Make-up have I singles pakistan sex for muslims about use. Except ventura beach web cam quickly anyone still: it 100 free jewish american dating personal I products switched all shemale dating phoenix will a! Makeup difference http://ali4law.com/new-york-state-jewish-singles.html for try to octinoxate japanese dating game reviews weeks much m ve gender reassignment dating have improves – discovery web cam down load Quality nails. Need you brown redding ca web cams eyes–almost: incredibly if http://blogjess.com/free-adult-chat-uk/ have provides you make her wet online sex game Very scouring one.

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.

Visual

We just got these suckers back from Ideal Printers over in St. Paul- designed by SOF and offset printed (feasibility and cost issues made it much more reasonable for offset) for The College of Visual Arts- in St. Paul as well.

In order to make the colors on this guy pop as hard as possible we swapped out the standard CMY inks with their florescent equivalent. The actual design process was one of the funnest yet- we took various wood type and ran scrap paper through a little tabletop proofing press and immediately sprayed with our press wash-up solvent and then isopropyl alcohol to make interesting splatters / streaks / clouds / etc. The solvent and the alcohol has the same effect when mixed as gas and water.

cva_visualposter_61

cva_visualposter_2

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.

_0001_westwerks_lm_cards

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.

_0002_murphycodesign_cards2

_0003_murphycodesign_logo_closeup

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.

_0002_sixdegrees_system

_0008_sixdegrees_tone_on_tone

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.

_0002_mucca_oceanhouse_system_0005_mucca_oceanhouse_logo

Laurie DeMartino – Letterpress Identity

We love involved custom production projects with other design firms – especially identity systems. The refined work of designer Laurie DeMartino exemplifies the level of production we strive for in our letterpress shop. A keen eye for detailed type and color makes her design work striking. In fact, we believe she has a sixth sense related to finessing details. We worked with her to produce this identity system by matching her attention to detail on press.

_0002_demartino_business_card_front

Some noteworthy things about this system:

We partnered with another vendor to produce the offset floods of color on the letterhead and envelopes. Those big fields of color are next to impossible to hold consistent on letterpress. We can do larger areas of color (we did it on the note card and business card) but there is more variation in letterpress printing than in offset. When that variation is desirable we will print a flood of color on certain stocks. When it is not desirable, we recommend combining letterpress with offset. (Yes, that adds cost.) It is worth noting that we can print a large press sheet and often work in tandem with commercial offset printing.

Business Cards are 5 PMS /1 PMS. We matched the ink printed offset with our letterpress ink.

All the type and small graphics are letterpress printed. Light colored type is a heavy impression with custom mixed varnish. You can see in the letterhead detail and business card detail the show through on the reverse of the sheet.

The envelope is custom converted and has a perforation line across the flap.

_0005_demartino_identity_system