First off the press were promotional materials which were mailed out to over 1300 AIGA MN members. We printed the cover of the promo book on Domtar Colors Green 110 Index stock. To achieve a consistent solid black in the pattern while still holding the type crisp we split the black plate into two passes- one pass with heavier ink density for the pattern and lighter ink coverage for the text. After adding a hit of silver those covers ended up running through the press three times. The promotional poster was printed on Cascade Rolland Natural 70 lb text weight with a run of black and a custom green ink mixed to match the green Domtar stock. All of that was shipped out in a kraft envelope we imprinted with return mailing address and indicia.
Upon arrival in Nisswa campers received a tote bag filled with goodies such as tee shirts, pennants and more letterpress printed event materials. The guidebook, full of interviews with speakers and details about weekend activities had a Domtar Colors Salmon 110 Index cover that we letterpress printed in two passes of black and a hit of silver. The partner guide, detailing all of the event sponsors, had a cover produced in the same manner but on Domtar Colors Blue 110 Index. A special bonus this year was a custom sketch book, state facts and suggested uses were printed with black ink on Neenah Environment, Desert Storm, 80C. A map of ‘Navigating Up North’ was also produced, a poster style piece printed in two colors on Cascade Rolland Natural 70 lb text.
Of course we couldn’t resist adding a little extra letterpress goodness from Studio On Fire, so we whipped up a set of four coasters, printed with 2 fluorescent colors on an Ahlstrom blotter stock, that were slipped into the bag of each camper.
The book features work designed by us, as well as work designed by clients, all of which was produced here in our Minneapolis location. Pictures of our ever expanding workspace also made it in alongside a forward written by our Principal.
Since we couldn’t, in good conscience, let a book about us not include any actual letterpress, all of the covers were letterpress printed at Studio On Fire and shipped off to meet the gutt of the book in the final stages of production. Due to the heavy 100 point thickness of the recycled cover boards, all of the covers were hand fed into our Gietz platen press. They are printed with a day glo ink using deep etch copper plates. We love the contrast of raw and refined created by the bright color next to the gray board.
It’s already shipping in Europe and will be released here in the states in late October. We got our hands on an advance copy, so we thought we’d share a bit of a sneak peek with you.
When a design firm gets all the details right, it’s a beautiful thing to print. These business papers for Dohmen were designed by GS design in Milwaukee, and the details are tight. We just finished printing them and thought it was a design well suited for letterpress. The radial dots under heavy impression create a tactile logo, the custom converted rounded envelope flaps echo the logo shape and the edge coloring is a perfect accent on the business cards and folding note card. The business cards are Neenah Classic Crest Solar White 165lb Cover. They are 2 color letterpress printed with edges colored to match the logo PMS color. Since this was a single sided business card, some impression show through on the back side was not a concern. However, check out the photo of the back side of the business card and you get a visual on what we’d be looking at if there were printing. Printing on both sides with letterpress is possible. Be aware if if deep impression is used, there will be show through from side to side, even on thick stock like 165lb Cover. We can pull back on impression and minimize show through for two sided cards. The note cards are Neenah Classic Crest Solar White 130lb C – just a little thinner to help get a nice fold. The letterhead and envelopes are Neenah Classic Crest Solar White 80lb Text. We like the additional weight of an 80lb vs. a 70lb text weight for letterpress printing. It helps everything feel a bit more substantial and does better job with a heavy impression. And the custom converted envelopes are pretty cool – check out the side flaps – they even follow shape of the rounded seal flap. We freak out about stuff like that – nice.
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.
We’ve been busy with an AIGA student event this last weekend called Portfolio One-On-One. It’s an event for design students to tour studios in the Twin Cities, have their books looked at and attend some short workshops. We had a group through our studio to see the press room and we also did a workshop about “Planning design with specialty production techniques.” Good times.
We also printed a booklet cover for this AIGA event. We hit the bejesus out of an 80lb cover stock and thought we’d show what the other side looks like. Granted, we don’t run everything this heavy. But a thinner stock with a heavy impression is going to have more show through than a thicker stock with the same impression. On this booklet, nothing was on the reverse side, so it did not matter that the impression was extra hard.
A note about tours – We have student groups from all over the country take tours of our shop and we are happy to do it. However, none of them have ever sent us a box of chocolate with a thank you note. That is until Brigham Young University. Thanks BYU. And to all the other student groups inquiring about tours – we now expect some edibles! ;-)
Edge coloring is an amazing addition to a letterpress project. These are a couple thousand cards stacked up, just completed for GS Design in Milwaukee. They designed these for their client Dohmen. The radial dots are a nice contemporary design on the face of the card and the sides are a matching vibrant green. They are printed in two PMS colors on thick 165lb Neenah Solar White.
We can match edges to any printed PMS color. And the effect looks at it’s best on stock 160lb or thicker. It’s taken us a few years of practice to get the edge coloring production process just right, so we are purposefully a bit elusive about exactly how we do this. It has something to do with unicorn tears and hens teeth. ;) The effect is much more subtle when seen as a single business card and always makes people take a closer look.
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.)
What could be better than a letterpressed rhino ready to charge? One with wings? Ok, here it is.
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.