Surprise Announcement + Decoder Specs
Posted on December 20th, 2010 // Featured, Letterpress, Printing

YOU: “We have some good news.”
MOM: “You’re pregnant?!”

YOU: “Hey, I have something to tell you.”
SISTER: “You’re pregnant?!”

YOU: “Hey Mom, where’s the spatula?”

YOU: “Dad, can I talk to you about something?”
DAD: “Sure, what’s up?”

How does a young couple surprise family and friends with news of a pregnancy if it’s already on (some of) their minds?
That was the problem we were asked to help solve and here’s what we came up with.

We figured that the root of the problem lies in the approach. The mere suggestion of information to be shared trips any woman’s baby radar faster than you can say “binky”.
So we thought it best to eliminate the approach all together. Sneak up on them. Ambush them with the great news.

To do this we created a letterpress printed announcement with the message hidden from view, as well as some custom printed and die-cut glasses to help decode the hidden text.
The simple monogramed letterpress card features a pleasant but ambiguous illustration printed only in red ink. The card politely asks that you adorn the accompanying glasses,
which at first resemble classic 3D movie shades only both of the lenses are red. When the card is viewed with the glasses the red lenses cancel out the red illustration and reveal
the great news that’s printed beneath. BAM! Surprise! No one saw it coming, not even Mom.

The piece was printed in two colors on Neenah Neutech 160# Pure White, die-cut and hand assembled, and earned us a Copper Ingot in the AIGA 100 Show.


  1. Peter

    This is amazing. What a great and fun idea. How much would something like this cost to produce?

  2. David

    Wow, great job guys. Very orginal. Did you have to work with another company to get the glasses?

  3. mandate

    Thanks David! As a matter of fact, we created the glasses ourselves. Printed, die-cut and then hand assembled here in the shop.

  4. mandate

    Glad you like it Peter! It depends, we custom price everything depending on how many are needed, etc. Drop us a line and we’ll gladly send you some pricing.

  5. B

    God that is creative. I am having the same issue right now and would love to do something similar. Awesome work

  6. Amanda Shea

    What a clever way to announce a pregnancy! That is the most unique message delivery I’ve seen yet. : ) I just linked to your site for the first time through a site I visit often: Your entire site is beautiful ~ I’m so LUX found you and mentioned you on their blog. Have a wonderful day!

  7. Amanda Shea

    I’m so ***glad*** LUX found you… (left of that key word!) : )

  8. Paulina J!

    This is one of the coolest things I have EVER seen!! CONGRATS! Is it something you would reproduce to sell?

  9. mandate

    Thanks Paulina! Yes, we can definitely produce this piece again and customize it for various uses.

  10. Arody

    It’s so amazing!!!!! Never thought what it would say! Loved it!

  11. Liz

    this is great! is the text ‘behind’ the red ink a blind impression, or did you print it with an opaque white? Amazing job!!!

  12. mandate

    The underlying message is actually printed in a light shade of blue.

  13. Vipul Divecha

    This is ingenious. Where did the glasses go? Were they attached to the back of the card?

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  16. Kate


  17. william

    Simply Brilliant! If it isn’t already, your motto should be “Quality never goes out of Style – for every occassion!”

  18. liz findlay

    Ben- hello from the Findlays.
    seriously, this is rad.
    nice work as always!
    Hope you and the fam are doing great.

  19. Ron Nelson

    Can the message on this card be customized. Say, an invitation to a party? Thank you!

  20. mandate

    Ron, yes the message could definitely be customized to about anything you’d like.

  21. Debi Sementelli (@Letterheadgirl)

    Love this!!! Very creative, fun and cool.

  22. Debi Sementelli (@Letterheadgirl)

    Pricing on this???

  23. mandate

    Unfortunately we don’t offer any stock pricing on projects like this, but instead prefer to customize pricing to your needs. If you give us a little more info on our Request An Estimate page we’ll send you a custom quote right away.

  24. Hot Off the Presses | Smith & Ratliff

    [...] If you need anything (anything!) printed, please take a look at Mandate. They were fantastic to work with and their portfolio makes me drool. I mean, just look at this incredible announcement. [...]

  25. Danielle

    Thanks for the kind words and the endearing spot of drool ;)

  26. Danielle

    Debi – we’ll have someone contact you about pricing.

  27. cheryll villamor

    My husband and I recently found out we were pregnant and would love to use this announcement to mail to our friends and families. Please let me know the cost to mail for about 30-40 people =)

  28. mimi schürch

    Hi, how much would it cost to print 50 of these custom made? I am happy to assemble the glasses myself, no problem. they are wonderful!!
    would be for a wedding announcement

  29. Danielle

    If you would send a request for an estimate we can get you some pricing: print[at]

  30. rohit

    Dear sir,
    can tell me is there any special ink u have use in this print, let me know, i am trying to print same u have print

    Thank you
    Rohit Hiware

  31. The Mandate Press

    Nothing special – just oil based printing ink.

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