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.
Hatch Design created these invitation cards for the upcoming leaders of design lecture with Joel Templin at my alma mater, College of Visual Arts. Should be a top notch talk.
We letterpress printed these 4 x 6 sized cards on French Muscletone Construction Pure White. One of the things we really like about this sheet is that it is a single ply 140lb Cover rather than a pasted, multi ply sheet. Most other commercial papers from other mills achieve a thicker paper by pasting a 2 ply sheet for thicknesses of 130lb and up. That makes the sheets stiff. Since the French sheet is a single ply, it is a bit softer and less rigid – both qualities desirable for letterpress. However, since French is achieving that thickness with a single ply, there is more evident pulp formation within the sheet. This means that the pressure needed to print a solid area of color is significant and results in a “salty” more textured printed appearance. That texture in large inked areas is something we like and embrace in printing with letterpress. HOWEVER, read this disclaimer before you send us art with lots of ink going down.
And letterpress printing isn’t just for small runs. Twenty thousand cards just rolled off the press. But, it is important to understand that for letterpress, each color is a separate pass through the press. This job was able to print both of these cards two-up on a press sheet. Still, these sheets had four separate passes for 3 color /one color. That’s a lil bit of printing.
The thickness of these cards allows them to also serve as a secret weapon. When your primary audience for business card hand off is art directors and designers, your card had better be memorable. A 55 point coaster board makes them fantastically textural and unstoppable. Clockwork Active Media Systems designed these for photographer rep Jeff Cerise – aka Secret Agent Man. They are hot off the press.
One thing to note about Coaster Board – it does not take a sculptured impression like other softer sheets. The surface will break. One of the detail photos below shows the surface cracking that will occur with to much pressure. This is likely especially in interior areas of artwork and must be watched for and adjusted to avoid this breakage. However, the finish of the stock is nice and pulpy – a definate stand-out among more typical paper mill stocks. We also like the “salty” look to the dark ink color on this stock. Gives it an aged / weathered appearance.