These are the brand new cards for Dita Eyewear in Los Angeles. Bryan Crabtree designed them and did a nice post over on his blog too. The blind flourish on the light side and the diamond pattern on the black gives these cards a tonal and elegant look.
We first printed these as two sheets, a natural color and black stock and then pasted the sheets together after printing. This step eliminates show through of the impression when printing a two sided design. We’ve found that the gluing of the sheet after it is printed does flatten back some of the impression, so we start with a heavy impression initially. The lighter color stock is Wausau Compliments Natural White 100lbC and is printed with a blind pass and black ink. The black stock is Wausau Eclipse Black 100lbC and is printed with PMS 8001 silver and black ink. The final thickness is 200lbC, about the thickness of a US dime. After printing and gluing, the cards were die cut to the final shape with angled corners.
We have a lot of requests for blind (inkless) impression with letterpress plates. However, a tonal ink is often something we suggest rather than a truly blind impression. If the stock being printed does not lend itself to deep impression, the artwork needs some legibility or the art work is on both sides of the sheet, a blind hit can be ill advised. The amount of impression needed to clearly read a completely blind hit will create impression show through on the reverse side of the printed piece. One of the ways we get around this is to mix a tonal ink, shown here on both black and white business card samples. By printing a tone, we can lessen the impression and dial up the legibility a bit. The black stock is 200lb Wausau Eclipse Black. It is letterpress printed with a black and silver ink mix. The white stock is 220lb Crane Lettra Flo. White. It is letterpress printed with opaque white ink contaminated with 877 silver.
Fuel is a great creative shop in Iowa that sent us this unique business card design for Whatsup Juggling. It is letterpress printed on thick 220lb Crane Lettra cotton paper. The inks are orange, blue and a custom contaminated opaque white. The card was then die cut into 2.5 inch circles. We then tried to juggle them. Business cards are really hard to juggle.
Some production notes: The original intent was to have the white printing be a blind (inkless) impression. However, where those blind areas of text line up to one another from one side of the card to the other, there is a push back on the impression. When there is no ink to even out the visual appearance, legibility can suffer where the impression overlaps from side one to side two. Putting a white ink down contaminated with a bit of silver ink helps even out the look and gives the general appearance of a blind hit. Check out the pics for comparison. Still subtle, but with a hair more contrast than a true blind impression.
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.
Designer Aya Ikegaya created this beautiful invitation structure for a wedding in Tuscany, Italy. We produced this by combining letterpress printing with blind embossing. The outer sleeve is actually the invitation. Inside is a thick cotton card letterpress printed with Continue reading ‘Tuscany Semi Formal Wedding Invitation’
This is a big post with lots of images so be sure and see Part 2 as well. We’ve been an online friend with French designer Fabien Barrel for a while. He’s been kind enough to show our press work on his Graphic Exchange website. His site is a finely curated collection of designers and projects from all over the world. Be sure and see it next time you need some graphic inspiration. Fabien collected three other friends that also wanted letterpress printed business cards. Fabien Barrel designed his card and the card for So Goods. Fred Dauzat designed his card and the card for Limited Press. We letterpress printed these cards together with Continue reading ‘Four Friends Letterpress Business Cards – Pt 1’
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’
You know what they say about too much letterpress – you’ll eventually go blind. That is exactly what happened to our design friends at Spunk Design Machine. They created this stationery system for Ensemble with a beautiful and subtle pattern that we letterpress printed blind (a plate striking the paper with no ink). Imagine, a design for a financial company that is both fun and elegant. Which makes sense for Ensemble because they cater specifically to creatives running small businesses by managing benefits and financial operations. For the letterhead, the blind pattern runs on the text weight sheet along the top edge of the paper. That pattern also prints in color on the back of the No.10 note card (a flat card sized for a No. 10 envelope). A pattern like this is a great way to get some color into a letterpress print job without running a big solid color block. Since this card and the business cards are on the same paper and print the same color, we can run them together. We run a lot of jobs with a this card and a business card on the same press sheet. That gives the client way more bang for their print dollars.
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. 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.