We printed these for New Found Original – a new online shop selling a carefully selected and ever changing collection of graphic products. They commissioned artist and designer Ryan Todd to design a set of four luxury letterpress coasters for their first collaboration project and introductory collection. The coasters are now for sale at NewFoundOriginal.com and Ryantodd.com
These were letterpress printed in two colors on extra heavy 60pt blotter stock. With the colors common to all four coasters, they were printed together and die cut four up out of the press sheets. We were really happy with how well the overprinting colors actually create a much darker third color. This is overprinting at it’s best – when the illustration is really planned to make use of that third color. Complementary colors do that best.
Final reminder for our Love Machine Open House Party tonight. Hope to see you soon.
Leaving you with a beautiful thought about machines from Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin:
“Machines challenge certainty so well. They should not be able to move. But they do. They turn, and move, and never cease — there is always an engine going, somewhere — like generations of silver hearts they keep the faith of the world and stoke imagination in its continued and splendid rebellion.” Quote from “Winter’s Tale” by Mark Helprin ©1983
We are all moved in to our new subterranean space and feverishly printing projects with many talented designers. We look forward to getting back to blogging new work again soon.
Here’s how our press room is taking shape and some pics of the epic Heidelberg S Cylinder press installation. It was a little unnerving watching our “new” machine suspended mid air. The riggers used a big outdoor forklift to position the press and then four chain drops to lower it from the forks down a large hatch into the basement. It was then rolled into place and suspended again to slip an oil drip pan underneath. It is now glued to the floor and wired in. We are doing print testing to get it up and printing smoothly. This press will allow us to letterpress print LP jackets, pocket folders, and posters up to a 21 x 28 sheet format. We are excited to see what it will print first.
It is good to grow our shop a little bit even as other areas of the print industry are suffering. Magazines and newspapers are trying to figure out how to survive and adapt to the iPad publication model. Books are served up electronically. Large offset printing companies are cutting entire plants. Yet the tiny niche of letterpress printing is seemingly holding steady. We’ve built our reputation on unique custom letterpress work with demanding standards. It is interesting to stand here in a print shop at a historical time declared the “end of print” and see how craftsmanship still remains such a meaningful and critical part of print design.
What if you received a mailing from a company and it was actually something beautiful? With this card, you could even try planting it. This oversize postcard for Northern Lights Landscaping was designed by WestmorelandFlint and is letterpress printed on a plantable paper containing wildflower seeds. We would say they have easily surpassed the typical beauty threshold of your garden variety direct mail piece.
We letterpress printed this 10 x 5.75 card in two colors. The stock came from our new friends here in the midwest at Porridge Paper. It is their Plantable Seed Paper, Ecotan 110lb Cover, wild flower mix. This paper does produce a beautiful sculptural letterpress impression. A cautionary note on those wildflower seed inclusions – it also makes a really big mess inside the printing press. After running several thousand sheets through the cylinder press four times, we had enough wildflower seeds inside the machine to plant a small meadow. A fun mailer AND good times cleaning up afterwards.
Letterpress seems pretty far removed from the slickness of the iphone. Yet even the most technically focused business can benefit from the tactility of letterpress business cards. In fact, we would argue that they are the perfect counterpoint. Marko Karppinen & Co is a software developer in Finland specializing in iphone and ipad applications. We designed and printed this card for their ten person company.
The back of the card is printed with a heavy blind (inkless) letterpress impression. The front side is printed with gray ink plus accent yellow bars. A key production step to virtually eliminate show through and have heavy impression on both sides was to print two separate sheets and paste them together after printing. For this step we use Potdevin pasting and rotary presses. The pasting machine applies glue to the back of a sheet. That sheet is then paired with the sheet for the reverse side of the business card and run through the rotary press to firmly squeeze them together and eliminate any air bubbles. The stock is 110lb Neenah Classic Crest Solar White custom duplexed to a thick 220lb weight. Special finishing is a yellow edge color. A well crafted card indeed.
Katie Kirk illustrated this fantastic little print to celebrate the fifth anniversary of Eight Hour Day. You can buy one of the edition in their etsy shop.
We printed it in two color letterpress on French Paper Muscletone Pure White 140lb C, at an 8.5 x 11 size.
Sometimes a great didone typeface just looks succulent, at least we think so. Those serifs are so nice and letterpress crisp, mmmm. Sara Janssen, who I worked with back in the day at Carmichael Lynch Thorburn (now The Thorburn Group), designed them beautifully. The detail of the hummingbirds and the classic type makes this an elegant set of wedding stationery indeed. Hummingbirds are such an exquisite little bird of great symbolism, we love the copy they put on the table number card. The color is a dark purple ink printed on Gruppo Cordenons Canaletto 111lbC. We’ve been specifying this sheet for some weddings as a cost savings alternate to Pearl White Crane Lettra. It has a more pronounced texture but only a 20% cotton content. It does not taste very good though.
So what happens when you are happily letterpress printing along and accidentally pull a print on your top sheet? If you leave that ink there it gets on the back side of the next dozen impressions you pull. Even if you wipe it away with a rag, there can still be some residual ink transfer. We keep a bottle of baby powder in the press room to deal with the problem. After we wipe the top sheet with a rag to remove as much ink as possible, we break out the baby powder. A small shake of powder rubbed on the tympan paper top sheet helps stop the remaining ink from transferring on the backs of future impressions. And you’ll have the bonus of smelling like a clean babies bottom.
Now it’s even easier to get in touch with us for your custom letterpress project.
For our international and long distance clients we can be reached on our skype account to discuss projects.
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Land Phone: 612 379 3000
Email: Request an estimate here
Remember, If you can send a PDF preview of what you have in mind we can offer you the best price and advice based on your artwork.
And here is a preview our new certificate of production seal:
Vintage machines live or die depending on our care of their lubrication needs. Certain areas on the Heidelberg Windmill presses have lots small oil points – like the gripper head and the paper feed. It is all to easy to over oil and end up with drips oozing everywhere, not cool when you are trying to keep your paper clean. One of our best friends to assist in this task is the Precision Pen Oiler. It is perfect for getting a small amount of oil right where you need it. And at under ten bucks, a lube job never cost less.