Tag Archive for 'solid'

SXSW Squarespace Skull Cards

This is a letterpress card designed by Jessica Raley at Bantam Design for Squarespace. They are busy handing them out at SXSW Music Festival in Austin this weekend.

And they took some time to print, seven passes through the press to be exact. Due to the card volume, we printed them on  larger 13 x 20 press sheet 15up. They are printed on two paper stocks. Side one on Wausau Royal Complements Eclipse Black, printed with black, varnish, dark silver, light silver. Side two is Mohawk Via Scarlet Red printed with varnish, black and light silver. To hide impression show through we pasted them together after printing, adding thickness and rigidity with another 100lb cover sheet in the middle. The final three ply paper thickness is 280lbC. We trimmed the sheets down and edge colored them in a metallic silver.

Also check out the striking Squarespace business cards we’ve posted about previously.

Point Form Business Cards

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.

Great Gatsby Business Card Poster

Heads of State designed this F. Scott Fitzgerald inspired poster, capable of bringing tears of joy to English teachers and designers everywhere. It is an epic layout project containing 32 calling cards of fictitious Great Gatsby characters. Each card is its own nugget of typographic excellence modeled after 1920′s social stationery.

This was an ambitious letterpress printing. (did we mention 32 card designs up on a sheet) With its large size, four ink colors, full dry back between each color, tiny type plus full solid areas, tight register and heavy stock this took some patience on press. We printed on French Poptone Sweet Tooth 140lb C – a massive 20 x 26 press sheet trimming down to the final 18 x 24 inch poster.

The poster is for sale at the Heads of State store

You can also check out our post on previously printed business cards for Heads of State.

Hatch Design Lecture At CVA

Hatch Design created these invitation cards for the upcoming leaders of design lecture with Joel Templin at my alma mater, College of Visual Arts. Should be a top notch talk.

We letterpress printed these 4 x 6 sized cards on French Muscletone Construction Pure White. One of the things we really like about this sheet is that it is a single ply 140lb Cover rather than a pasted, multi ply sheet. Most other commercial papers from other mills achieve a thicker paper by pasting a 2 ply sheet for thicknesses of 130lb and up. That makes the sheets stiff. Since the French sheet is a single ply, it is a bit softer and less rigid – both qualities desirable for letterpress. However, since French is achieving that thickness with a single ply, there is more evident pulp formation within the sheet. This means that the pressure needed to print a solid area of color is significant and results in a “salty” more textured printed appearance. That texture in large inked areas is something we like and embrace in printing with letterpress. HOWEVER, read this disclaimer before you send us art with lots of ink going down.

And letterpress printing isn’t just for small runs. Twenty thousand cards just rolled off the press. But, it is important to understand that for letterpress, each color is a separate pass through the press. This job was able to print both of these cards two-up on a press sheet. Still, these sheets had four separate passes for 3 color /one color. That’s a lil bit of printing.

Away We Go – Lots Of Letterpress Ink

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.

Culinaria Food and Wine Letterpress Cards

Jeff at Biklops Design created these note cards and business cards for catering and event planning company Culinaria. We love the simple line work logo and are a little amazed it actually printed. It is one of those “it turned out really cool but was a pain in ass to print” kind of projects. Inking a solid like this with letterpress is one of the more difficult things to print. There is a constant struggle to maintain minimal variation in the color density. With a large solid area the press sheet warps like a ripple potato chip, making feeding the sheets in register a challenge. And keeping the fine line weight of the logo from filling in made for a fun time on press. To help with the filling in on the logo we ended up shortening the exposure of the plate, which still hardens the plate but lessens the amount of base/neck material on the edges of the printed image. So good job on the design Jeff, we can even print your curve ball.

The cards are printed letterpress on 220lb Crane Lettra Flo White 100% cotton stock. The final trimmed cards were finished with a matching light blue edge coloring accent. The text is printed after the solid so it has a sculptural impression. If the text were printed first, the solid blue on the opposite side would flatten the impression down to near nothing.

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Flooding Letterpress Ink

This post shows a card we letterpress printed for Grass Fed Cattle Company designed by a good friend and design mentor over the years – Michael Skjei. We love the commitment to local farmers and free range meats. If you are local, give these guys a try.

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We seem to be getting an aweful lot of requests to print business designs with floods of solid color. It can work on letterpress – with a couple big caveats.

Will the color be consistent?

We will have a wider range of ink density variation in the print run than an offset press. We do not have computers sitting on press monitoring this, it is all by eye. We matching to a print at the beginning of the run and keep it as a target, adjusting as we go to keep everything as close as we can. But there will be variation.

The heavier the ink density, the more difficult it becomes to hold the detail of fine typographic detail. So if you are flooding, more robust type works better.

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Will my color print solid?

This depends on the type of stock and the color. Lighter colors and smoother paper stocks generally print with less “saltiness” in a solid area of coverage. Since letterpress prints with pressure, we are much more subject to the texture and formation of the sheet of paper to achieve an even solid.

Will there be impression on the text?

Generally, no there will not be impression. Letterpress works best with text and artwork that is pressing into the sheet. If you are looking for impression while flooding a color, this is not a great use of letterpress. Notice how the logo and gray ink have impression, the green flood of color does not.

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Is the cost the same?

A flood of color takes much more time to set up on letterpress than a card that has text only. Generally, this involves making ready the ink fountain and double the amount of makeready sheets to get color up to speed. Since we charge based on press time, printing a flood of color will cost more than  printing a text only design.

However, most small offset printers can’t make a 160lb or heavier sheet of paper run through their press. So that leaves letterpress as a viable method to print to handle these heavier stock thickness. You have to get on a much larger offset press to touch that kind of stock thickness, which means also means bigger quantities and costs.

So yes, we can print solid colors IF you are comfortable with the variations that are inherent to the letterpress process.

Narrow Format Cards With Day Glo Color

Adam Hudson Photo sent us these cards for letterpress printing. The unique narrow format really make them different in your hand. And the three color options of orange, green and gray on one side is a nice way to add some simple variety to an identity piece. We keep the plate set up on press and just add a couple wash ups to the printing process.

A thick 220lb cotton stock takes a beefy impression. When a two sided card is pressed with a solid color, we almost always print the solid side first, then the text. This makes for a better sculptural impression on a text only side. Putting an overall impression on a solid area has the effect of ironing the paper flat and will diminish any impression of artwork on the reverse.

Another ink effect we like on this card is the white ink on white paper. We are using a tinted white ink to create a nice subtle detail with just the right amount of contrast to keep it readable. Some times an inkless (blind) impression doesn’t have quite enough visibility to read clearly. We put a little bit of silver in the white ink to give it just the right amount of eye love.

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One Card For Three People

The esteemed fellows at Wilderness in Portland sent us an unusually simple business card for letterpress printing. Rather than load up the card with four telephone numbers, an email, a fax, a twitter, etc – they all simply share the same card. A nice solution for keeping cost down too. Wilderness is the new design trailhead of Aaron James Draplin, John Phemister and David Nakamoto. We can’t wait to see what they do next.

Of course, simple design doesn’t always mean simple production. We printed these on 220lb Pearl White Lettra, 100% cotton. Flooding a dark color like this on letterpress is difficult to lay down and keep consistent over the course of the print run – especially on a stock that has some texture to the surface. When we print a solid like this, we generally go to our Paul Bunyan of Heidelberg Windmill presses – the 13 x 18. Even so, there is still a salty, weathered look to how a stock like this will take a solid coverage on letterpress. But we like it that way, it ain’t offset.

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