Hard Graft, it literally means “Hard Work,” and boy does this European company live up to their name. Makers of beautifully designed and handcrafted gadget cases, this duo (one English, one Austrian) has a passion for what they do–and it shows. From designing the products and tracking down the finest italian craftsman (they used to make every single item themselves), to packing each order by hand, they are involved in every aspect of their business. We’re actually surprised they don’t have sheep in their back yard (then again, for all we know, maybe they do). Moral of the story–they care, these are the kind of people we love to work with.
To complement their 100% wool felt and leather goods, they designed noted cards, merchandise cards and labels for us to produce. The note card and angular merchandise cards were printed on 60pt Ahlstrom Blotter, which is what we traditionally recommend for coasters. Though the outcome is beautiful, these items were a challenge to run on press. Whenever you run a flood of color alongside fine type you will constantly have to fight to keep the text crisp while still making the flood of color as solid as possible. This project was especially tricky because the blotter stock is notoriously challenging to run solid areas of color on, there is no avoiding what we call a “salty” result–luckily this was the look they were going for. They were finished with a custom diecut, which helps the cards tuck tightly into felt pockets prior to shipping (see the picture below that Hard Graft was nice enough to send over of the cards in use).
The labels were printed on Strathmore Soft White label stock, receiving a kiss-cut after printing, allowing them to easily peel off the backing sheet.
Designed by Priest + Grace for Howler magazine, these oversize business cards are an amazing example of what a good design and a little tonal ink can do. Howler magazine is a quarterly publication for soccer enthusiasts in North America, so it only made sense for these cards to reference the size and color of actual penalty cards used in soccer.
There are several production techniques we used to successfully produce these cards. First, instead of printing all of the information blind we used a tonal ink color (a red ink on the red, yellow on the yellow). When something is printed blind it relies solely on good lighting conditions to be legible. Our solution is to print using a tonal ink, which creates just enough contrast between the artwork and the paper to make your contact information visible. Secondly, these cards were printed with fronts and backs up on the same sheet, duplexing the sheet after printing. This allowed us to run a heavy impression on press but then conceal the impression show through by duplexing the sheet back to itself.
The red cards are printed on Mohawk Via Scarlet Vellum 80C (duplexed to make 160C) and the yellow cards are on French Poptone Lemon Drop 100C (duplexed to make 200C).
Yael Miller, from Miller Creative, designed these gorgeous business cards for Olli Salumeria, a salumeria that makes dry-cured salumi in Virginia. Though the outcome is, dare we say stunning, these cards posed several production challenges along the way.
As a general rule, we don’t suggest using letterpress when the design uses floods of color and require clients to agree to our Solid Areas Disclaimer before we will proceed with their job. To achieve a nice solid coverage of color we had to run the ink heavy across the card, thankfully we had added some additional stroke weight to the artwork in the pre-press stage so the line work would not fill in on press. Another trick we used was lightly wetting the sheet before running- this cuts down on the appearance of saltiness and variation across the color.
Flood aside, take a look at that red. Yael refers to it as “Ferrari red,” and we can’t say that we disagree. The design actually specified a Pantone GOE color, which is not a Pantone book we match to, but since we custom mix all of our colors we were able to match a swatch that was mailed in for reference. We took one of our base red inks and pumped it up with a hit of fluorescent red to really get the color to pop.
These cards are printed on Crane Lettra 110lb cover that we custom duplexed after printing to make 220lb. By duplexing after printing we were able to run the flood without completely flattening the text on the other side of the card (not to mention we love any excuse to make a business card thicker). A custom diecut, shaped to reference a ticket or label, finished off the cards in an unexpected, yet refined way.
This project can also be found on FPO, DesignWorkLife, and Miller Creative.
We’ve worked with BAKER here in Minneapolis on a few really fun letterpress projects over the last year or so. And they’ve designed some beautiful things for pressing. Most recently, their second installment of the bird themed holiday ornament cards rolled off the press. It is a little bird (a good luck Cardinal) with an ornate frame that die cuts and punches out of thick 60 point blotter stock. It is printed two color each side.
Last years card for Baker was a die cut bird ornament as well. The same production specs, but featuring a punch out owl.
Also in the last few months, we worked through the letterpress printing of the new Baker identity on their business cards. And is was quite the undertaking. They have an interesting post about the process of icon development here. Each employee has their own icon and each card has four color ways. With over 60 employees that was a lot of icons and business cards! They are a custom duplexed 200lbC black and white stock in an undersized narrow card format. (1 x 3.5 inches) BAKER is printed in silver on the black side and the white side receives the four different color variations.
BAKER is a Minneapolis based Branding + Design firm specializing in package design. On the web: bkrdsn.com or tweet: @bkrdsn
This wedding invitation design by Project o3 channels the lettering stylings of illustrator Ralph Steadman, (think movie logotype for Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas.) There is hardly any text on this invitation, just the most basic info. We thought it was certainly one of the more free spirited invitations we’ve seen and loved it for it’s departure from the more typical ornate weddings.
It is printed on 220lb Crane Lettra Ecru with black, red and light gray ink. The die cut belly band that holds the three cards together is printed with black ink on French Poptone Wild Cherry 100lb cover.
We think getting letterpress printing is even better than a gold watch. It is a great production option for special corporate occasions too, not just weddings. This invitation to celebrate Dunhams 50 years in business was designed by Riley Hayes Advertising. The type driven design is accented with a matching bright red matching edge color.
These pieces were inked with 3 color on one side with a tonal varnish on the other. We printed an invitation and map card together on a new favorite sheet – French Poptone Sweet Tooth White 280lb Cover. We like it enough that we are now custom making it to keep on hand as a house sheet. The thickness is about 40 points (.038 inch) which is a matching thickness to Crane Lettra 220lb. The good things are that it is less expensive than a cotton sheet like Lettra and smoother in surface, not as toothy a finish. It takes a great impression and works great for edge coloring as well.
These letterpress business cards were the perfect fit for web development and design company Ackmann & Dickenson. We like how these guys frame their business as “Craftsmen of Fine Technology”. They designed these cards and we letterpress printed them to reflect craftsmanship.
And this card did require some crafting. We started with the making of a custom duplex paper – 160lb Mohawk Loop Ivory Smooth pasted to French Construction Nightshift Blue 100C – totaling a thick 260lbC card. Next we letterpress printed them with two colors on each side, silver and tonal navy inks on the blue side, then blue and gray inks on the ivory side. We printed a couple 8up forms to meet all the employee name versions needs and then die cut them with small inverted corners. Viva tactility and technology.