I love design, I love print, and I love tattoos (it’s printing on skin!). So when the local chapter of the AIGA called and asked us if we’d be willing to donate printing to help promote an event called “Full Bleed, The Design and Tattoo Experience” the answer was a definite yes.
We’ll take any opportunity to support AIGA SLC because no matter what they’re up to it’s guaranteed to be great, but this one was really fantastic. The plan was to host a party to showcase the artwork and design of local tattoo artists. The talented Dan Christofferson (beeteeth.com) was to provide the design and illustration, and we would print a poster and postcard for the event. The 16.5″x23″ poster and 6″x9″ postcard both featured an illustration that was a clever combination of traditional tattoo iconography peppered with printing and design jargon. The outcome was amazing and pushed the limits of modern letterpress with very heavy ink coverage and super tight registration.
Things got even better when the decision was made to hold the event at our new 8,000 square foot building, which we had not yet moved into. The folks of the AIGA did an amazing job with the place and Epic Brewery provided beverages for all. Rumor has it there were even a few tattoos received to commemorate the event.
The poster was printed on our behemoth 21″x28″ Heidelberg S Model Cylinder press. The thing is a true wonder and beautiful to watch. Its cylinder alone weighs as much as one whole Vandercook Number 4 proof press.
The postcard was printed on our Frontex Automatic, a tiny wonder of German ingenuity that has become a real asset to our shop. With a maximum sheet size of only 10″x15″ it’s essentially a miniature version of the Heidelberg cylinders but it packs quite a punch.
It was all printed on 100# Mohawk Superfine which was graciously supplied by Zellerbach.
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?”
MOM: “YOU’RE PREGNANT?!”
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.
We find that most people choose to have something letterpress printed for the appeal of its visible impression and tactile nature. In other words, its style, or fashion. However, there are times when it’s the chosen production method simply because it’s the only tool that can do what is required by a certain project.
Such was the case when the talented crew at The Design Farm were creating great work for The Polynesian Cultural Center in Hawaii. Careful thought was put into both the design as well as the materials to be used. A very specific paper was chosen for a presentation folder, a handmade, fibrous stock that looks like it could be made from coconut husks or shredded palm leaves. It was perfect for the job. Unfortunately there was one small drawback; it was far too thick and chunky to be printed by conventional offset and digital presses. Screen printing was an option, but the surface was so rough and uneven that ink coverage would have been so spotty that legibility would have suffered. In the end, letterpress turned out to be one of the only realistic solutions. The unusual paper could be safely hand fed through our Vandercook Universal 1 proof press because of its adjustable bed. The pressure of the process transferred just enough of the design and our photopolymer plates could take the beating from the thick fibers and seeds embedded in the paper, where traditional lead type would have been severely damaged.
The end result was one of a kind. The job may have been driven by necessity of function but it scores bonus fashion points as a result.
This isn’t the first time we’ve printed on uncommon surfaces. Our presses have safely consumed the likes of wood veneer, fabric, and paper bags when special needs have risen. Drop us a line and let us know if you have an idea that you need help producing, we love to help brainstorm possibilities.
Someone called the other day and said “I just wanted to make sure you’re still open cause you haven’t updated your blog in two years.”
Touché observant viewer, touché.
The answer was of course: “Yes, yes we are.” In fact, we’ve never been more open and more in business. Despite the fact that our website has been not-so-mildly neglected we’ve been printing like mad and making big plans. A sincere thank you to those of you who continue to support us by choosing us to do your letterpress printing. If this is your first time visiting our site, don’t worry, there’s plenty more where these 3 posts came from. Drop us a line or give us a call, we’d be happy to send you pricing for your next project and real paper samples that are better than a blog post any day.
We’re looking forward to an amazing 2011.