Archive for the 'Client Focus' Category

Measure Promo Cards

These cheeky promotional cards, designed by the folks over at Measure, are a great example of how fluorescent and metallic inks appear when printed on white paper. Day-glo pink and metallic silver ink were letterpress printed on Crane Lettra Flo White 110c that we duplexed after printing for a finished thickness of 220c. One card then received two perforation lines, allowing it to break down into smaller cards.

Pivot Interiors Calendar

Using the format we designed for our Studio On Fire calendars, the marketing team over at Pivot Interiors designed this 2012 calendar in celebration of their expansion into southern California. Created as a tribute to California architecture, this was used as a gift for their clients and was a great way for them to showcase their ties to the architectural and design communities. The beautifully detailed illustrations required us to keep a critical eye on the registration while on press and we’re thrilled with how tight the prints came out.

The interior pages and outer wrap were printed  together on one press sheet using four inks on Mohawk Via Vellum Bright White 100C. The stand was printed with one ink on a custom duplexed paper made of Mohawk Via Vellum Bright Wht 100C and Mohawk Loop Vellum Thai Gold 100C before being diecut and hand assembled.

Target: Design United

Earlier this year we were asked to participate in Target’s Design United campaign. Target made use of the massive street level windows of their corporate location to showcase their bullseye logo as interpreted by 51 local artists. We were thrilled to be included and submitted a dozen prints for them to choose from. The display was up from April to October in downtown Minneapolis.

Our process started with a hand drawn mehndi inspired pattern that we scanned in and cleaned up to create a photopolymer plate. We also created a plate of the solid Target logo which we used to lay down some background colors, allowing us to utilize the transparent nature of the inks and achieve some great overprinting. Our pressman went to town and applied most of the inks by hand directly to the plates or paper, resulting in dozens of completely unique pieces. Some of our favorites are below, along with some shots of the installation that we took while it was up this summer.

Letterpress at AIGA MN Design Show

We stay active in the AIGA Minneapolis design community and are excited about the many projects printed in our shop that were in this years Design Show. With just over 90 pieces in the show – 11 of those had letterpress production in our shop. We are proud to be a trusted letterpress production partner for so many designers. Also notable – we took the AIGA MN Peoples Choice award for our own design of the Golden Rule poster. You can still buy one here.

But what does this mean for letterpress as a printing method? Why do designers and judges choose it? Why do the people love it? Here are a few thoughts…

Letterpress is a counter point to slick

The more prevalent digital printing and smart phones become, the stronger the counterpoint of a tactile production method like letterpress. The materials, the sculptural impression, the raw yet refined nature of it make a difference in your hand. We love our iphone as much as the next designer, but there is something in letterpress printing that digital media and digital printing can not touch.


Online Media Is Squeezing The Middle

A lot of the middle range print marketing is being cut out in favor of online business tools. The print industry overall has seen a pretty big smack down over the last few years. The remaining print budget for companies is going toward pieces that will work hard and stay memorable. Projects like business cards, invitations, and other highly visible print pieces get the budget with online media doing the heavy lifting.


Letterpress Simplifies Design

Letterpress makes designers simplify a layout. Pieces usually have just a couple colors, since each color is a separate pass through the press and costs add up quickly.  Things like gradients and drop shadows get kicked to the curb because they don’t plate well for letterpress. Artwork on letterpress gravitates toward type.

We’ll be doing some more in depth posting on some of these soon, but here is a summary of what we produced in this years show:

Capsule cards and covers for Blue Earth Interactive

Colle+McVoy an occasion card gift set for C+M All-Set Card-Set

Colle+McVoy Schwinn Calendar Poster,Studio On Fire design

Eight Hour Day cards and note cards for Eight Hour Day Stationery

FAME Annual party invitation and coasters FAME Fair Open House Invite

Loaf Nest LP record jacket, posted here Douglas Quin “Fathom” LP TAIGA records

Red Organic business cards, disc sleeve, folder for Gina Zeidler Photography

Holmberg Design cards and labels for Station K & Company Agency Branding

Studio On Fire our annual calendar, buy one here 2011 Studio On Fire Letterpress Calendar

Studio On Fire our print for a poster show, buy one here Golden Rule Poster

ZYDECO design business cards and brochure for  ZYDECO design Image System


Vista Caballo Letterpress Stationery

Vista Caballo is a ranch retreat with a special connection to horses in Dove Creek, Colorado. We worked with Thinktopia to design this stationery system for the client. They already had a logo design and needed stationery developed using the existing mark.

One of the things often overlooked in design is the choice of materials. This is something we strive for in our own design work. Material selection can be a central component for building the look and feel of a brand.  In this stationery system we use a variety of brown toned papers to compliment the tactility of the letterpress printing and echo the desert landscape of the location. Kind of like making a color palette, instead we made a material palette. Each piece is printed with the same brown PMS color.

Letterhead is French Paper Speckletone Kraft, Envelope is French Paper Speckletone Chocolate, Business cards and Note cards are Crane Lettra Pearl White 220lb, Labels are Strathmore Soft White crack and peel stock, Journal covers are Fibermark Suedetex Tan 25pt with Smart Genesis Husk 70lbT gutt.

Richness of materials makes this stationery unique.

Many Fold Farm Letterpress Business Cards

So often, what we do for our clients in the graphic design profession is disconnected from personal passions. This project managed to combine both food and design values. The food our family eats falls into a traditional foods diet, as recommended by the Weston Price Foundation. Which is why we were especially excited when Rebecca and Ross Williams asked us for business cards for their new adventure called Many Fold Farms. Their must-read blog is smartly written and shows a true passion for food and land. I’ve been learning about fine cheese and feeling a bit envious of their farming adventure.

This was both a design and print project for us, which is where our company can truly shine. Not that we don’t love printing the custom work of other designers and collaborating in the production process. We also love owning a design project from concept through production completion.

The design for the logotype merges custom 19th century inspired decorative capitals with slab serifs. We combined typographic texture with a folk inspired pierced tin borders and an inverted round corner die cut. The letterpress printing is on Crane Lettra Ecru (Ivory) 220lb Cover stock  for a thick and soft feel in a nice warm color. We produced two different sizes – an oversized card with farm information and a smaller card with personal contact info.


Conrad Lim, a photographer out of LA, had some ideas for an identity and we made it happen. He was pretty darn excited that the letters R-A-D were smack dab in the center of his name so it was pretty clear where we needed to go with it.


None of your business.

Here’s a sweet little run we just finished up for Mauseth Design out of Hoboken, New Jersey. They came up with this set of faux business cards with fake names and numbers for those certain instances where you just- well, where you just could use one of these little guys (e.g. Clubs, Bars, Lounges, Coffee Shops, Class Reunions, Chinese Restaurants and Traffic Stops).


Lucky Cat

Fresh cards sent in from the good dudes at LovelyMPLS (who’ve got a real solid portfolio of design/screenprinted work). Two color print with ultra-bright day-glo pink and metallic silver on the good old 220lb Crane Lettra make for a very impressive and striking card, to say the least.

Check out that fine pattern work on the back- the envelope really got pushed with this one. A bunch of that line work is 1/4 point thick (literally as thick as a hair), tapering down, and on top of that the thing’s are reversed out!


Space 150 – Letterpress Card Retrospective

It started back in high school art class. I was a junior and there was this senior that sat in the back doing pottery and was always throwing frickin’ balls of clay at my head while I was trying to draw. Fast forward over a decade and both of us have design careers. Me – running my design/letterpress studio and he (Jason Strong, or Bone as some people call him) is a design director over at Space150. He called me up and invited me to be a guest designer on a Space150 identity system version.

Now what you must understand about Space150 is that they redo their entire identity every 150 days. The WHOLE thing – business papers, website, mission statement, etc.

Our studio gladly accepted the assignment to design version 16 with letterpress printing for the full system. Version 16 was such a success that we were invited back to create and letterpress print version 17 as well. They moved off of letterpress for version 18 and almost had a mutiny because everyone became attached to their letterpress business cards. And believe me those new media folks really know how to throw down a mutiny. So version 19, 20, 21 and the current version 22 are all produced by Studio On Fire with letterpress printing, laser cutting, etc. Space 150 has designed 19-22 in house with their own killer designers, Ned Wright and Dan Jenstad.

It is our hope that this set of business cards represents a very different sort of letterpress printing and approach to commercial production. Studio On Fire is not tied to the historical visual baggage of letterpress. We try to take a little vintage and a little modern and mix it together with mad production skills. In the end, these cards land in peoples hand with a sense of wonder – and that is what good design and production is all about. Enjoy…

Please contact us for your next challenging print project. We thrive on working with other creatives to produce award winning design.

Oh, and Jason, just you wait. I’ve got some clay balls saved up for next time we meet. Unless we can settle this like gentleman?

Coldfusion Programming Meets Letterpress

When our letterpress printing client at Electric Fusion handed out one of his new business cards, almost a year later he saw a project come in because someone remembered his card and held onto it. Here’s a note just in from our client:

“I hope all is well.  I wanted to share a story about a new client and project I just landed. My client told me that part of the reason they remembered me (in addition to my sparkling personality) was the business card.  So, thanks — I dig having a memorable card!”

At a time when virtually every industry is struggling, letterpress is bringing business in the door. The tactile quality of letterpress is about creating something memorable that literally buys a few extra seconds in the hands of a recipient. Appealing to both sight and touch senses helps create that memory.  We thought it was sweet that someone doing web application programming wanted letterpress business cards. What could be more opposite than letterpress? But we know it works, and not just for creatives. As creative professionals, we all have our little bin labeled “cool business card samples” don’t we? It’s important to remember that the “cool business card” reaches beyond us as creatives and has some very practical business realities. So, why haven’t you contacted us to letterpress print your project yet?

Now That’s A Thick Business Card

Wedding photographer Craig J.Stodola wanted a card with a memorable thump factor. This one is printed on 60pt blotter. And take a look at the edge coloring. After we printed a Pantone color,  we color matched the edges to the face of the card.