Space 150 is a Minneapolis based company that has made some waves in the creative community by reinventing its identity every 150 days. This version was designed by Evan Nagan. We’ve produced many previous Space 150 business card versions as well – see some of them here and here.
Like the previous versions we’ve printed, these business cards take some tricky production. They are printed three color offset on one side (flood of black, purple and blue) and 2 color letterpress printed on the reverse (blue and tonal white). They have a unique two color gradient treatment on their edges. The paper is Wausau Royal complements 100lb Bright White which is custom duplexed after offset printing to a final thickness of 200lb cover. For a great edge color effect we recommend a thickness of 160lb or greater. The thicker the better.
It’s a big task! Each identity version is cards for nearly 70 people…
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.
It started back in high school art class. I was a junior and there was this senior that sat in the back doing pottery and was always throwing frickin’ balls of clay at my head while I was trying to draw. Fast forward over a decade and both of us have design careers. Me – running my design/letterpress studio and he (Jason Strong, or Bone as some people call him) is a design director over at Space150. He called me up and invited me to be a guest designer on a Space150 identity system version.
Now what you must understand about Space150 is that they redo their entire identity every 150 days. The WHOLE thing – business papers, website, mission statement, etc.
Our studio gladly accepted the assignment to design version 16 with letterpress printing for the full system. Version 16 was such a success that we were invited back to create and letterpress print version 17 as well. They moved off of letterpress for version 18 and almost had a mutiny because everyone became attached to their letterpress business cards. And believe me those new media folks really know how to throw down a mutiny. So version 19, 20, 21 and the current version 22 are all produced by Studio On Fire with letterpress printing, laser cutting, etc. Space 150 has designed 19-22 in house with their own killer designers, Ned Wright and Dan Jenstad.
It is our hope that this set of business cards represents a very different sort of letterpress printing and approach to commercial production. Studio On Fire is not tied to the historical visual baggage of letterpress. We try to take a little vintage and a little modern and mix it together with mad production skills. In the end, these cards land in peoples hand with a sense of wonder – and that is what good design and production is all about. Enjoy…
Please contact us for your next challenging print project. We thrive on working with other creatives to produce award winning design.
Oh, and Jason, just you wait. I’ve got some clay balls saved up for next time we meet. Unless we can settle this like gentleman?