Every year we do a New Year’s greeting card (you can see past examples here and here) which seems to get sent out later and later every year. The tricky part is that I always feel that I need to wait until I have a meaningful idea, one that will impart a small inspirational message to the recipient and has an eye-catching image as well. Unfortunately, I seldom have that idea the previous November or December, when it would be advantageous from a printing and timeliness standpoint, so when the idea strikes January-ish, and production can be finally scheduled in early February . . . the new year tends to not to be so new anymore. If we stopped calling it a New Year’s card I imagine the slight feeling of shame in sending it out so late would dissipate. But I digress.
I’m pretty proud of this card, which may be the most fun I’ve had printing ever. The ship was printed in four colors–cyan, magenta, yellow, and black–to achieve the full-color image shown in the image below. As you can see in the second set of pictures, the ship was built up one color at a time–first yellow, then magenta, then cyan, then black–and with each press run, the detail became a little clearer. It was so amazing to me to see the ship emerge from the background of these colors that I can’t wait to try this again with other art. The ship image itself was from a postcard from the late teens or twenties, and so already had a vintage look which the letterpress process only emphasized.
The ship (and poem on the back) portion of the card is perforated so that it will eventually detach from the beautiful quote from Cheryl Strayed. Significance of the RMS Olympic? I encourage you to Google it and to read this excellent New Year’s editorial from The New Yorker‘s Adam Gopnik.
Gold foil is still all the rage for invitation, business cards, cd covers . . . and this extra-large, 5.5×8.5 invitation’s golden laurel wreath uses foil to beautiful effect. Metallic gold edge painting adds sparkle and is a bit more economical than gold foil on the edges. A lavender Pantone is set off by the pearl white, double-thick stock.
It’s high wedding-invitation season in the print shop, so we’ll be posting more shining examples in the coming weeks.
It’s always a treat when we get to make a chapbook. This diminutive volume was designed by Kathleen Lynch of Black Kat Design, a specialist in book jacket and cover design, as a gift for her clients at the end of 2013. We printed the cover on 110#, 100% cotton Lettra, and, to stay on budget, the interior pages on matching 90# text-weight Lettra. The city skyline hints at the setting of many of the microstories inside: New York.
While we don’t offer digital printing in-house, we work with a great local printer whose massive “digital press” can perform all kinds of magic, including photographic reproduction, large solids (which is not letterpress’ forté), and a pretty decent black.
I’m still working on Thomas-Printers’ annual New Year’s greeting card–last year it went out in March (ha)–so I’ll take a small break from that to share our last few projects of 2013. 2013 was a great year, filled with letterpress-related travel, family visits, and, happily, lots of letterpress printing. Our last projects of 2013 are a good summary of what the year held: baby announcements, business cards, last-minute projects, and wedding invitations. We had time for one last foil project, duplexed to a gray Colorplan sheet, a gift card and envelope for an international yoga studio, several holiday cards, and a notepad for my little nephew to scribble on. As usual, we want to thank our customers for choosing print and choosing letterpress–both increasingly important choices in our digital age. Choosing print helps support a whole network of craftspeople, from the people who make our papers and printing plates, to the printers in our community, to the postman who delivers the printed piece. Thomas-Printers could not do it without you, so, once again, thank you.
A (just barely) seasonal post for a seasonal project: a letterpress invitation (die-cut to look like an ornament) for my parent’s annual Christmas Eve party in Salt Lake. They’ve been hosting a bash every year since they moved to their current house 20 years ago, so we thought this invitation should be a little special. The two-color stripes and type are purposely printed at an angle, and the extra-heavy 220# Lettra lends heft to the die-cut ornament shape. We included a little twist of baker’s twine so that recipients could hang the invitation somewhere visible (or on their trees). Next week: our last post of 2013, featuring the beautiful projects that helped us close out this year, even as we gear up for the new one.
When I was a kid, I had more than a dozen pen-pals from all over the world: Taiwan, Germany, Algeria, the Maldives, and many other places I’d never heard of as a 12-year-old. Speaking of letters, and pen-pals, and places I’ve never heard of, we recently designed some custom stationery for a birthday present. The recipient is a descendent of Oakes Ames, whom the Ames Monument, shown in the note card, commemorates. Just off the current I-80, the monument marked the highest point of the transcontinental railroad; when Union Pacific moved the tracks further south, the nearby down of Sherman went bust and turned into a ghost town. On this Cyber Monday, when everyone is buying as hard as they can buy, why not sit down with a pen and card and write a note to someone? It’s as good an occasion as any, and might even be the start of a new tradition.
I recently had the opportunity to work with local photographer Ryan Smith: I printed parts of a promo for him and he took some fabulous photos of our little letterpress shop. We’ve packed a lot of printing production power into just over 400 square feet (the work-triangle could have been invented for print shops, really), and Ryan really made the controlled chaos look beautiful. I did not tidy up much (or even sweep, by the looks of it) before he arrived, so this is a printer in her natural habitat.
Besides our precious machines, the best thing about the shop is the sunshine. We’re located on the edge of a shoe factory, built around 1910. Industrial designers did not mess around with darkness in those days: these windows are more than seven feet tall, and let abundant natural light in, even in the dark of winter. (Printer PSA: speaking of winter, have you ordered your holiday cards or invitations yet? The press schedule is filling rapidly!)
a beautiful day to be on press
Intricate jobs like this don’t come around every day, but we love it when they do. Designed by the folks at Design on Crown outside Philadelphia, this invitation celebrates the wedding of wood and textiles, represented by squares of real cherry veneer and stock blind-printed with the pattern of a debut textile from Teknion. Working on a tight deadline, we cut the cherry veneer–ordered direct from Michigan–die-cut the wrap, and printed the invitation in three colors, including a bright yellow to match the Factory Yellow wrap and envelope from Colorplan. Then the handwork began: using a jig to guide placement, we affixed the squares on the back of the invitation, the wrap around the front and back, and the veneer to the front of the envelope. We can indeed letterpress-print on wood, and the result is pretty excellent:
A beautiful business card from Merrill Lyons, designer behind this fabulous suite. One doesn’t often see a logo with no color, but this blind-printed logo is eye-catching even without bright colors. Bright color was saved for the cards’ edge, which is painted in a rich teal to match the Pantone color name on the front. While technically any weight of stock can have its edges painted, the thicker the stock, the more color you’ll see when you–or someone you’ve just handed your card to–are holding an individual card. Makes sense, right? We printed two sets of cards for the two principals at Studio DB; did you know that we offer a discount for multiple business card sets from the same company?