As we’ve said before, we love save-the-dates . . . so enticing, so inviting! These recent two left us eager to see the rest of the impending paper, to say nothing of the details of the event itself. Interestingly, both of these beauties use gold ink: the card on the left uses unadulterated Pantone 872, and the one with the map has a coppery gold to complement the silver rings.
A printer friend once mentioned that letterpress printing was designed for “letter and line;” in simple art and beautiful typography, the printing process really shines. This invitation suite for our friends Claire and Cotten is elegant to a T: clean, crisp typeface, two modern ink colors, lots of white space, and a playful puppy for good measure. These letters and lines let the letterpress speak for itself, in a springy color palette set off by the bright white paper. Even though we’re not taking on many design projects this spring, designing and printing this one was a lot of fun, and we’re really happy with the results.
We’ve been hard at work printing this season’s specialty: wedding invitations. This year’s crop of bridal beauties has already offered up some fancy finishes: gold foil, a blind-debossed floral border, silver foil, gold edge painting, printed calligraphy, the flood to end all floods (we’ll show you that one later on this summer), and white foil. (We’re thinking it would have been wise to invest in foil futures, we’ve been doing so much of it.) Gray or black ink on white stock remains a perennial favorite, and more than one of this spring’s invitations and save-the-dates have made use of the crisp contrast of black on white. The invitation innovation we’ve witnessed this year has been really great and fun to produce. Full details of many of the projects below will follow in the coming months; in the meantime, check out our wedding gallery for some past-project highlights.
Nick Harrison from branding agency Partners and Harrison wanted a crisp card with white foil and a blue that matched the other pieces in their system. We found that Lake from Paper-Source was a very close match; this saved us from having to offset print the blue flood and then print foil over the top (saving press runs saves money!). Once duplexed to some 110#c Lettra, the card became quite substantial, memorable, and beautiful. That ampersand printed without ink, which is otherwise known as “blind.”
Client Soledad wanted something special for the invitation for her 10th anniversary party being held at a ranch in beautiful Southern Utah (our home state!). We took our cues from Delicate Arch in Arches National Park for the front of the card, which was die-cut and printed to resemble the Arch itself. The pertinent info is revealed inside. The front, printed in metallic gold and sunny orange, suggest the three-dimensionality of rock–something the impression of letterpress is great for! The die itself is a work of art, and was made by our friends at Key Dies in Annville, PA. You can see more photos of this invitation at the to-die-for new site, The Beauty of Letterpress.
Love winter white all year round? We do too. But white ink, even though the can it comes in reads Opaque White, is not really opaque. Also known as mixing white, white ink is designed to be mixed with other ink colors, either to make a tint, or to add opacity (in small amounts). In the right letterpress situations, white ink can look really great. The first announcement for an engagement party uses white ink. To reach the level of opacity that you see here, each card went through the press three times; there are three layers of white ink laid down to prevent, as much as possible, the brown card from showing through. For a misty party in the Georgia woods, the effect is perfect.
Furniture maker and woodworker Geremy Coy wanted a crisper, whiter look for his business card, so ink wouldn’t do. Instead, he opted for white foil. Still letterpress, but using foil instead of ink ensures nearly 100% opacity, as well as a crisp, bright white on a darker stock. Much like gold foil, white foil is a bit more expensive, but a good option in many cases, especially for small type on brown Kraft or black paper. We’re always happy to look at your project and make suggestions so that the finished product is exactly how you imagined it.
Save-the-Date cards are a kind of pre-invitation to help your friends and family schedule their busy lives and make sure they carve out time (and budget) for your event. You really do need extra notice when your cousin is getting married in Italy! Send them out six months before the date, and your guests will have plenty of lead time to clear their schedules.
Theoretically, you want everyone you invite to come (it’s the people that make it fun, after all!), but life is busy, so you need to get on everyone’s calendar before they fill it up with daily life. By sending a save-the-date pre-invitation (because there will an official invitation, as soon as your printer can print it), you have both helped your event to be successful and have helped your guests schedule and manage their busy lives. They really should thank you!
(It’s easy to see why save-the-dates are so popular for all big parties and events, not just weddings. My father-in-law is turning 90 this fall and he lives in Oklahoma. After 90 years of life, he has friends and family all across the nation, so I’m going to suggest we send a save-the-date early this spring. My goal is to get as many folks from all over the country packed into the Barttelsville Lions Club as possible!)
At Thomas-Printers, we have printed a variety of save-the-dates in recent memory: for a surprise birthday party, a Concert Artists Guild event, and, of course, weddings.
What’s your next big event? And did you save the date?
Our presses are pretty versatile machines. Not only can they print, but they can also slice–paper that is, with these handy blades-in-wood called dies. This process is called die-cutting.
We start with a vector-based outline of the shape we want, which gets sent to the die-maker who uses a laser to cut the shape into wood. Then pieces of metal called rule that are sharp on one end are bent and inserted into the channel in the wood. The result is a type-high (that is, the same height as printing type, .918″) cutting die that we lock into the press just as we would a form of metal type or printing base. The black rubber bits around the blade compress when the press closes to cut the paper, and then spring back when the press opens to help keep the paper from sticking to the die. Just like printing, we cut the shapes one at a time until the job is done.
We can make a die for virtually any shape; the more complicated or bumpy the shape–like the scalloped shape below–the more expensive the die. The good news is is that dies can be re-used, and also re-ruled if the blade edge eventually gets dull.
We’ve been busy printing a bevy of beautiful business cards recently–foil, ink, and, of course, edge painting. We’ll have more to show you on our business stationery page soon, too.
Way back in 2012, we did a post on our Thomas-Printers New Year’s cards from years past. And just in the nick of time, we have a new card to add to the tradition. This year’s card features an excerpt from Dylan Thomas’s (no relation) poem Fern Hill, in honor of our favorite high school English teacher who passed away in November and in whose class we read the poem for the first time.
The tiny type and creature-filled, multi-colored floral border belie the serious subject of the poem. At its core, this poem is about the passing of time and the magic of being a child, at home in one’s imagination. It is good choice for ringing in the new year, if only to remind us of how beautiful a new year is, and how filled with promise.
We hope you might take a moment and read the poem and then go off and make the most of 2013! Best wishes to all.