This poster was letterpress printed for the Artcrank poster show here in Minneapolis, which opened this last weekend. Since much of this show tends to be image and graphic heavy, we wanted our poster to stand apart with lettering only. It is an excerpt from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Considerations by the Way, 1860. The full sentence is actually, “Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air’s salubrity.” (But “salubrity” is such an odd word and just didn’t work well in the design.) The lettering started as a hand drawn sketch, then refined in Adobe Illustrator. We printed with a photopolymer plate on Crane Lettra 300gsm Florecent White at 18 x 24 size. They are on display now at One On One in Minneapolis.
They sold well at the opening night and are still available. There was some confusion about them being sold out. They are $30, to be purchased at One On One Bike Shop.
You can also buy one, now for sale on our studio site as well. Cost is $40.
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.
Feast is a recurring public dinner designed to use community-driven financial support to democratically fund new and emerging artmakers. We did a poster for the upcoming event here at Studio On Fire. The size is 18 x 24. It was a hand drawn sketch, scanned and converted to a bitmap tiff to preserve the sketch texture. It was printed with a split ink fountain. Our split fountain had fluorescent orange ink on one side of the press and light blue ink on the other side, creating a nice purple gradient in the middle.
This is our letterpress poster for the Toys In The Attic show opening at the Soo Visual Arts Center on Dec 4th from 6 to 9PM. The show features both custom toys and toy inspired posters. Proceeds benefit Toys For Tots. Hey, that’s tomorrow night! We hope to see you there.
These beasts are in fact our toys. The graphic beasts are constructed from various press parts and form into a crest that commemorates ten years of printing here at Studio On Fire. The dog latin phrase reads “Iron Beasts Make Great Beauty”. It is printed in fluorescent and dark silver inks on Crane Lettra Flo White 220lbC at 13 x 13 size.
It was ten years ago this month back in 1999 that the first C&P was lowered into the then basement studio. More to come on our own ten year anniversary party soon.
Thinktopia®, an idea generation company for some of today’s leading brands, commissioned this striking poster from illustrator Federico Jordan. Federico explains “The skull reflects our existence and interior vision: our vanitas.” He created this image for Thinktopia that explores the Shakespearian Yorick, San Jerónimo and mesoamerican skull racks called Tzompantli. There is an article on the back of the poster from Patrick Hanlon at Thinktopia that speaks about branding. (This poster print will serve Thinktopia as a new business tool – a mailing to prospective clients) More companies could learn from this – send out something cool to start a good conversation. We would say that an illustrated letterpress print is guaranteed way to get someones attention.
The 18 x 23 size poster is printed letterpress in four colors on Crane Lettra Pearl White cotton stock in both 110 and 220lb thicknesses on our Heidelberg Cylinder – quite possibly one of the most difficult jobs run in our shop recently. It was difficult because of the amount large areas of solid color, the thickness and size of the stock, and the tight registration. There is no overprinting of any of the colors, so all four color plates lock into each other with little forgiveness for shifts in register created by sheet distortion. Sheet distortion is physical stretching of the paper created under heavy impression. Each pass through the press creates slightly more distortion. So by the time we got to color number four, there was some colorful language as well. The 110lb stock ran pretty well but the 220lb stock is a bear to auto feed – especially five passes through the press.
A strikingly simple business card designed by Blok Design out of Mexico City. Sweet type. We letterpress printed on some heavy 4 ply cotton museum board. Edged colored in a delicious yellow. A modern and materially elegant card indeed.
We worked with Vermont couple Dana and Katie to design and letterpress print their wedding invitations. They had a custom silhouette using their own hands to make a heart shape produced by Le Papier Studios. We used this motif throughout the invitation stationery. The soft cotton paper and bright blue silhouettes are contrasted with a simple recycled brown bag envelope and typewriter style navy typography – just the right balance of a raw yet refined style. The invites are printed in a square format with 2 inks on Crane Lettra, 100% cotton stock. All the cards were letterpress printed together on a 13 x 13 press sheet for cost effective production.
Dana and Katie are excited to be on the cusp of history, celebrating just after Vermont legalizes gay marriage on September 1st. Congrats!
We print for other creative companies both large and small. Our friends in Designworks at BBDO in New York made up this gem of an identity system for their new post production suite called The Kitchen at BBDO. The system blends some fun patterns and crisp tiny type onto coasters, business cards and a CD package. And it was among the projects we printed that won a feature in the Print Design Annual.
It is a misconception that letterpress is only for small projects. We are not scared to run a big press sheet and handle large volume work. The 4 panel, 2 pocket CD package ran 2 up on our full size 18 x 23 sheet and was custom die cut and converted. The coasters and business cards ran together on a second sheet. And the details still look edible.
When we work with designers on projects we have conversations about “production strategy.” Sometimes letterpress is a good fit for the design intent, sometimes not. And often times we combine other production methods to achieve the effect being sought after. Black business cards present a range of production challenges. Flooding a white paper with black ink doesn’t produce fine detail in small type sizes. Here are two projects featuring different ways to print on black paper by combining letterpress with other processes.
Jamie Wickard Card – Designed by our friends at Westwerk Design
This card was produced on black paper stock: Tonal Black letterpress ink and a gloss black FOIL (side 1) and Silver Letterpress (side 2)
Antitdote X Card – Designed by our friends at Antidote X
This card was produced on cream paper stock custom duplexed to black paper stock. (Black letterpress on the cream side and white ENGRAVING on the black side) Then it was finished with custom die cutting.
To achieve fine white type on a black background Engraving is the most premium (and most costly) printing method. By duplexing a black stock rather than printing black ink and reversing out the white we’ve achieved something letterpress and offset printing would not have done well – notice the fine 3 point serif type! White foil and screen printing can print on black, but not with detail like that. Letterpress printing does not do well printing opaque white on dark colored paper and achieving bright opacity either. Like offset printing, opaque white can be laid down with several passes and achieve a mottled looking white – not a bright white. As a rule for general production: only metallic inks have good opacity on dark stocks.
Of course this all combining of production methods comes at a cost. Which comes to a final point – KNOW YOUR CLIENT BUDGET. Our best production advice is to know what your client wants to spend before finalizing your design. If you have an extravagant design with multiple production steps and your client has only a $300 dollar budget, you’ve just wasted design time on something they can not afford to produce. But if you plan production along side design, you can present your client an option that doesn’t need rounds of compromise. That is what “production strategy” is all about.
A wedding in Puerto Rico requires an invite worthy of the occasion. Bride and groom Ashley Geoffroy and Russell Austin co-designed these for their wedding. We printed the long folding letterpress card which perforates apart for the RSVP return. They gocco printed the fabric with the invite text. Then Ashley and her mom had a field day stitching everything together. An amazing amount of work with a beautiful outcome. It’s such a light and airy piece that stays modern with the accent stitching. Truly the one-of-a-kind invitation we love to be a part of producing.