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.
Since letterpress doesn’t do a great job flooding a page with ink, designers must come up with production alternatives to bring in big areas of color. One of the things that can be done when designing for letterpress is combining different colored paper stocks. This works especially well for projects with multiple pieces that need to coordinate – like stationery systems, wedding invitations, etc. Our previous post on the Ocean House system shows a splash of color added to the back of everything via offset printing. Adding a contrasting paper stock for pieces like envelopes and cards can be a more cost effective production solution to still add color to letterpress and avoid offset (or “flat” printing as people call it when comparing to letterpress) This system designed over at Space150 by Jason Strong brings color to the system by adding a couple contrasting papers. We printed the same letterpress ink color on the white stock and then the burgundy colored stock for the envelopes. This creates a tone-on-tone effect that remains legible and adds a nice texture. A smaller note card in a pink stock also matches the pink ink used throughout the pieces. The business cards are on thick 220lb Crane Lettra, which does an excellent job eliminating the impression show through of a two sided card.
Our good friends at Mucca Design in NYC designed this beauty. A tight piece of typography with a punch of color to bring everything to life makes this system sweet.
The large color flood on the back of everything is offset printed. Then we printed two color letterpress. The paper is Monadnock PC100 throughout which gives a nice warmness and a little texture.
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.
The design team at Imagehaus created a delightful system for Amma Maternity. We printed a simple two color letterpress system with an egg shape die cut for the cards. We ran the solid ink for the business cards on our Heidelberg cylinder press to achieve the pressure and the ink coverage required to print this area. First we printed the chicken, then the egg. Or was it the other way round?