Image via ffffound
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
This month sure seems to be the month of Twin Ravens Press milestones on Etsy. I was out in the shop printing just now and came in to my office for a second to see if I had any e-mail, and low and behold, found out that today I made my 100th card sale in my etsy shop. Check it out:
I sometimes feel just a little nerdy about all these little milestones, but I feel excited about announcing them to you anyway. I promise to post more photos of awesome printing soon! Have a great day!
Monday, January 26, 2009
An old friend from college sent me a link to this video, this evening. What a beautiful thought...
In a few words: do what you love, love what you do and be happy where you are, right now. More letterpress tomorrow. Enjoy!
I recently completed another gorgeous letterpress wedding set for a couple in Philadelphia. John and Anne-Laure contacted me a few months ago about creating a wedding set for them, similar in style to a classic and elegant design I printed earlier last year for another couple, Kiely & Scott.
Anne-Laure and John's suite included the invitation, a reply card with envelope, a separate reception card and a directions card. Anne-Laure was getting her invitation envelopes done by a calligrapher, which is why you won't see them in any of my photos. In the photo at the beginning of this post you can see what all five of the letterpress pieces look like together.
Here is the invitation by itself:
We utilized the same typefaces for Anne-Laure and John's suite as we did for Kiely and Scott's, but to make the design a little different, we printed all of the pieces in a light grey ink rather than black and instead of going with a classic A7 size invitation, we went with an A6 size, which is a little smaller, just to be unique.
The directions card had a pretty substantial amount of information to be included, so for this one we decided to stick with just the san-serif typeface that was used in the invitation and not use any of the script face. This allowed us to put a lot of information on a small card will still maintaining good readability and clarity.
Below is their reply card and envelope. Anne-Laure's invitation envelopes from her calligrapher were from Waste Not Paper in their Gravel Grey color. We decided to use the same color of envelope for the reply cards, just in a smaller (4bar) size. Another unique thing about their reply card is that it's a vertical format, rather than a horizontal one.
For their small separate reception card, we decided to use the same gravel grey color paper from Waste Not Paper to print on. This paper comes in several wonderful colors, but isn't quite as plush as the 100% cotton paper from Crane that we used for the invitation, directions card and reply card. Because of this, you can't really see any impression from the letterpress in the same way that you can for the other pieces. However, the text still looks crisp and beautiful, just the same.
I really love the simplicity and elegance of both this suite and the suite I printed before for Kiely & Scott. If your ceremony is elegant and you don't really have a specific theme that lends itself to graphic or pictorial elements easily, I think that choosing a wedding invitation design with just beautiful typography and colors that you love, with no other graphic-y elements, is a beautiful way to go!
Congratulations Anne-Laure & John!
Sunday, January 25, 2009
I decided to randomly log on to Etsy this evening just to see what, if anything, was going on in my etsy shop and was pleasantly surprised to see that 250 people have now marked Twin Ravens Press as a favorite. Here is the screenshot to prove it:
This is a pretty substantial jump, in my opinion, because we had just reached 200 favorites right before Christmas. If you are one of the now 250+ people calling us a favorite on Etsy, thank you, it's nifty to see how many of you are out there!
This is a pretty substantial jump, in my opinion, because we had just reached 200 favorites right before Christmas. If you are one of the now 250+ people calling us a favorite on Etsy, thank you, it's nifty to see how many of you are out there!
Friday, January 23, 2009
I must begin this post by saying that the set of stationary that I'm about to write about, is quite possibly the second most complicated set of stationary I've ever committed to designing and working on. For those who are curious, I actually haven't written about THE most complicated job I've had to date on this blog, but I promise, one day I will, but that will be a much longer post, for a different day. For this stationary set, the bride, Danielle, had a grand vision for her wedding invitations from the very beginning. She and her fiancee, Matt, live in New York City, but are having a destination wedding in Key Biscayne, Florida. Due to the fact that the majority of their guests are not local to their wedding destination, Danielle and Matt had a significant amount of information that they wished to convey to their guests through their wedding stationary.
I'm often asked by prospective clients, "How long will it take from when I hire you to when I receive my stationary?". It's a totally fair question, but one that's often hard to answer. At Twin Ravens Press, we design the majority of our wedding sets entirely from scratch for the specific client. We don't really have a set of pre-designed designs that you can choose from, like many other stationers. Of course, if you've seen a design that we've done before that you'd like us to adapt to your particular wedding, we'd be more than happy to do so, but in general the majority of wedding sets (and Save-the-Date cards, and birth announcements, for that matter) are designed from scratch, start-to-finish, with the particular client in mind. In all honesty, I truly enjoy this and I think that it's just one extra little detail that makes my company special and unique. We want to work with you, to make the paper products of your dreams, that you probably couldn't find anywhere else. So to go back to the "How long will everything take?" question, sometimes it can only take a month, if the couple hiring me has a really clear, decisive, vision for what they want. Other times, it can take up to three, four, five or six months... It really depends on you. If you hire me, it's my job and my challenge to make sure we come up with exactly what you want. I want you to be excited about and proud of your stationary and I want it to be something you, your family and some of your guests will cherish for years to come. I want it to reflect who you are and what your wedding, celebration or announcement, etc. is about. Because of the personal (and very detailed) nature of this desire, sometimes designing a complete set of stationary from start-to-finish can take a long time.
So, for Matt & Danielle's stationary, due to the larger amount of information and the number of guests they are inviting, and the "style" they wanted to convey, let me just say that this one took a lot of time. I'm very proud (and I think they are too) of the final result, but let me say that if you plan to hire me and you have something this complex in mind, the earlier you can start, the better (Danielle first contacted me in late July 2008 and she received her finished stationary in the mail in January of 2009, granted, I was gone for about a month total during that period traveling, but still, it's always a good idea to plan ahead).
The other thing I have to write about, that I think is really important to discuss in conjunction with this project, is that very rarely, but sometimes, things go wrong during the course of a job, that have to be altered or corrected part way through. As much as I hate to admit it, every job that we do doesn't always go entirely smoothly from start to finish. I think that it's important to discuss and admit this, because it's a difficult thing to talk about. I mean, really, who wants to hear about when things don't go perfectly right? While the final results of this job turned out beautifully, I must admit that many problems that normally don't occur, did occur during the course of this job. I'm not going to go into the dirty specifics on this except to point out that Twin Ravens Press is not a big corporation. We sometimes make mistakes because we're human, our distributors sometimes make mistakes because they're human, etc. I will say though that because I'm such a perfectionist and because I take a lot of pride in my little company and my work, I have a policy about what to do when things don't go completely right. It's a pretty simple one really: If you ever order anything from me, and you're not completely satisfied, let me know. If what you're not satisfied about is something that can be altered or fixed, even if it means my having to reprint part or all of your job, I'll do it, because I want you to be happy with the end result. I figure that for most people, their wedding stationary may be the only custom stationary that they ever purchase in their life. Hopefully it's not, but regardless of whether it is or not, I want my clients to be happy with their stationary, even if it means putting in a few extra materials or little more labor on my part. My partner's grandfather once said that a person's reputation is their best currency. I figure that I'm very lucky to be able to do a job that I love everyday - most people don't have that luxury, and the reason I get to do the job that I love is because of all of the wonderful clients who have purchased my work, continue to purchase my work and who recommend me, my company and my work to their friends. Without them (you), Twin Ravens Press would still be a pipe dream, and because it means so much to me that it's not, I will do everything in my power to keep you happy and hopefully keep you and your friends coming back for more.
So, anyway, on to the stationary! As with the majority of my wedding posts, you can see the complete set in the photo at the top of this post. Danielle and Matt's suite included a 5.5" square invitation that was matted on a turquoise backing and then tipped in to a black pocket folder. The pocket folder had four additional two-color information cards: a map, a directions card, an accommodations card and a reply card. There were two sets of envelopes: one set for the reply card and one for the invitation and accompanying pieces to be sent out in, and they also ordered place cards!
Below is a photo of the main invitation. Some of the information has been blurred on purpose at the couple's request.
As I said above, each invitation measured 5.5" square and was matted on a turquoise backing sheet and then tipped into a black pocket folder. For the design of the stationary itself, Danielle wanted something that was contemporary and representative of their destination wedding, while still being elegant, and as she put it, "Not seashells and beaches and palm trees". We worked on several different designs and design elements that I think were all good possibilities, but the one we finally settled on was a contemporary, almost photo-realistic (as much as letterpress can be) version of the Miami skyline. Coming up with this image presented a bit of a challenge. Danielle and Matt are in New York, Twin Ravens Press is in Oregon, and I have never been to Florida. Let me tell you, to come up with what this skyline was going to look like, I had to do a lot of Google searching for the city of Miami. We went through several versions of the skyline and I must admit that up until the printing plates were made I was a bit worried that that part still wouldn't turn out the way we wanted it, but let me tell you - it looks and feels pretty awesome. This combined with a nice serif font in caps and a decorative, but not too decorative script font, made for a really pretty, modern, and unified stationary suite. Here is a detail shot of the suite so you can see how pretty the type looks and the impression from the letterpress:
For the parts of their stationary suite that were printed on white paper, Matt and Danielle chose to use Crane Lettra in Pearl White - one of my favorite letterpress papers to print on. If you look closely at the above photo you can see the great amount of detail you can get out of it while still achieving some impression especially around the turquoise script lettering of their names. Really pretty...
The next four pieces of the suite were the other ones that were inside their black pocket folder. They were a map, a directions card, an accommodations card and a reply card. Danielle had the great idea that it would be cool to have them be different heights that stacked up in the pocket to each reveal basically a tab with a different title for each card at the top. All of the titles she came up with were single words that began with the letters re-, which I thought was pretty clever. Here are the four cards fanned out after being removed from the folder:
All of them were printed in two colors: turquoise and black and had the Miami skyline featured at the bottom. The tallest one and the one that was the farthest back in the stack for the folder was the directions card, titled "Resource":
The second tallest was the reply card shown below. The heights/sizes of the three other cards were designed around this card's size. This card had to be kept a consistent size so that it could be paired with an appropriately sized envelope. I really enjoyed how Danielle utilized her reply card to ask guests other questions relating to the wedding such as whether or not they needed transportation to and from the reception, or what songs they should play to get their guests to dance at the celebration. I think this is a very cool thing to do for reply cards along with simply asking whether or not your guests will be attending.
The third card (second from the front), was titled "Relax" and was a nice little resource for what accommodations the bride and groom recommended for their destination wedding.
The fourth and shortest card (but the first one you'd see in the front when you open the folder) was a map card, titled "Rejoice". It's not the most informational map I've ever done, partially because of it's small size, but it is really pretty and I think it's a nice addition to the suite that kind of helps set the mood for the celebration in a fun and unique way.
The map was hand-drawn by yours truly and features a semi-realistic depiction of Matt & Danielle's wedding and reception site from bird's-eye view, a compass rose, and a little tiny sailboat in Biscayne Bay.
As I mentioned before, all of this folded up nice and neatly in a black tri-fold pocket folder, and each folder was tied with a matching turquoise double-faced satin ribbon. Like so:
This is what it looked like with the ribbon slipped inside the turquoise invitation envelope:
Voila! As I said before I think that this set is one of the most impressive "complete packages" I've designed and printed so far. It's unique, contemporary, beautiful, and I think it will really set the tone for Matt & Danielle's destination wedding.
Congratulations Matt & Danielle! Thanks for everything!
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
One of the coolest things about letterpress printing, in my opinion, is that each sheet of paper that's printed, is fed into the press by hand, one color at a time. Each color that's printed is either a separate metal cut (image), a separate block of metal type, or a separate photopolymer plate. What this should mean to you, my wonderful readers, is that each part or color of everything we print can be 100% customizable to your liking, without a whole lot of extra work...
For example, remember those cool scroll pattern thank you cards? I've made them in several different colors for the etsy shop including red, yellow and blue. Well, a shopper in Boston, Massachusetts contacted me a while back wanting to know if she could order several of the blue ones to use as thank you cards for her wedding. I told her absolutely and that she could even get a bulk discount on them, and that we could print her return address on the flap of the envelope at no extra charge. How cool is that? Check them out below:
Another way to customize one of our designs is to ask for it in another color. Here are the same thank you cards that I customized for the aforementioned Boston bride, printed in green for a customer in Florida. This customer wanted white envelopes instead of colored ones which also wasn't a problem at all. The photos of these were taken right after I finished printing them, which is why they are sitting on the press. If you were ever curious what a printing press from 1912 looks like, here you go:
Want another example of how we can customize just for you? Okay. Lets say you've seen something on our website that you really like, but want to use it in an entirely different format for an entirely different purpose. We can probably do that too... Below are some photos of some awesome paper goods I made last spring for a commitment ceremony in New York. I used that same scroll pattern from the last two examples, but printed it on a light grey 100% cotton paper in a slate grey ink so that it looked kind of like decorative iron metal work. I then created a T-length program, thank you cards with envelopes, table numbers and a set of menus using the same motif. You can see pictures of those below:
We can also customize many of our other designs, other than the scroll pattern one. For example, remember those pretty wildflower thank you cards that I printed in yellow and orange or pink and magenta last spring? My mom really liked them, but wanted them to have her name on them instead of "Thank You" and she wanted them in a different color. This is what hers looked like:
Pretty, don't you think? (By the way, those blue floral ones at the top of this post were custom made just for her too).
So, if you happen to see a Twin Ravens Press design on this blog that you like, but maybe you want there to be something different about it, let me know. Maybe you want it in a different color or a different size. Maybe you want different colored envelopes or you want the envelopes to have your return address on them. Maybe you see a design that we've done but want to use it for a different type of card, event or purpose all together. Let me know! I love customization and I would love to hear your ideas and then see what we can do to make one of our designs uniquely you!
Sunday, January 18, 2009
I've been really busy printing lately and I wanted to share with you a very cool set of Save the Date cards that were completed for a lovely couple in New Jersey last week. This is perhaps one of the most unique sets of Save-the-Date cards that I've printed lately. The design for them was fairly simple - we used only text elements in the design, but it was fun because we played around with several different combinations of fun fonts until we came up with the set you see above. The really unique thing about this set is the paper that it's printed on. Dana and Robert's Save-the-Date cards are printed on a stiff 100% cotton paper from Crane & Co. in Espresso Brown. This is the same paper that I used back in October for some really cool calling cards. Because of the papers stiffness, you can't achieve the same deep imprint with the letterpress that you can with a lot of other 100% cotton papers, without the print looking kind of smashed in and messy, but the color of the paper is so unique that I love the way the printing looks on it anyway. With letterpress, it's often fairly difficult to achieve a good print on such a dark color of paper, but I think that Dana and Robert's Save-the-Dates turned out fabulously! The ink colors we used were a metallic copper and a very dark plum purple. I was worried that the plum wasn't going to show up well, but check it out in the detail shot below:
Pretty cool, don't you think? They also chose to include a small accommodations card with their Save-the-Dates rather than with the invitations so that if they have guests that are planning to come really far in advance they can already make their accommodations arrangements. Check out the card below:
We chose to round the corners of both of these cards, which I think was a really nice touch. Unfortunately, Crane & Co. doesn't produce a matching monarch size envelope for this paper, so instead, I paired the set up with a chestnut brown monarch envelope from Green Paper Company and printed the return address on the flap. I think the pairing of papers from the two different companies was a really good match - not exact, but they still look very nice together.
I was so excited about how the copper metallic ink turned out on the dark brown paper that I ended up printing a few Twin Ravens Press business cards with it on the same stock. I'm not going to do this all the time for my business cards, because the chocolate brown paper is quite a bit more expensive than my regular stock, but I figured they would look really cool, so I had to try it out. Check out the photo below!
I'm really excited to have gotten to work with Dana and her fiancee on her Save-the-Dates. I actually worked with them before on another stationary project last year, prior to starting this blog. Dana really likes fancy envelopes with cool envelope liners, so I created this set of stationary earlier last year based on a very cool envelope liner paper she found. You can see pictures of that whole stationary set below:
Above is a single sheet of the stationary with the matching envelope. The envelope had their address letterpress printed on the flap. Below is a close-up shot of the stationary with the open envelope, so that you can see the aforementioned fancy envelope liner.
And above is a fun close-up of a few sheets of the stationary fanned out together. I really love the way this pattern turned out.
Thanks again, Dana & Robert! You've been really great customers and I'm really looking forward to working with you on your wedding invitations!
Friday, January 16, 2009
I have great news today for all of my Portland, Oregon readers, shoppers and aficionados! If you live in Portland, Oregon you can now buy Twin Ravens Press products locally in a few different retail shops in your area. The first store in Portland to ever carry Twin Ravens Press products was Broadway Books. Broadway Books is a very nice, independent, locally-owned book-seller located in Northeast Portland at 1714 NE Broadway. Go check them out!
You can also purchase Twin Ravens Press products at two other locations. The newest shop in the Portland area to carry our products is Oblation Papers and Press. I'm very excited that Oblation started carrying our products because I have been in love with their little paper boutique since I was a college student - long before I even thought of starting Twin Ravens Press. Oblation is an old-world letterpress print shop, urban paper mill and fine European-style paper boutique. They specialize in custom invitations and announcements, but also have a lovely retail section, where one will find Italian correspondence stationary, fine fountain pens and distinctive paper from around the world. The also carry an assortment of eclectic gift items, French wax seals, photo albums, journals, raw materials for bookbinding, designer office supplies and an unrivaled selection of handmade and letterpress printed greeting cards. If you'd like to read more about Oblation's printing and retail shop you can on their website. Below is a photo of the inside of their store, it's really fun and inviting.
Oblation has two locations. Their original location (pictured at the top) is in downtown Portland in the Pearl District at 516 NW 12th Avenue and they also have a retail location in Bridgeport Village at 7243 Bridgeport Road in Tigard. If you love my work, and/or letterpress printing in general and you're in Portland, Oregon, go check out Oblation. You will love them!
Do you own, work at or know of a retail shop in your area where you'd love to see Twin Ravens Press' products? If you do, e-mail me at email@example.com! I love working with other retailers and would be glad to send your shop or a shop that you know of a wholesale catalog and price list. We would love to work with you!
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Today we were delightfully surprised to find one of our Valentine's Day cards being featured on the blog Oh So Beautiful Paper. Check out the delightful author, Nole's, blog post here. The one at the top of this post is the one being featured on her site. We have a couple of other V-day designs available right now in the etsy store and will be adding more new ones starting early next week. This robot is always a sweet (and awesome) choice:
Remember these John Lennon-inspired ones from last year?
They're now on sale (for really cheap!) in both set and single form. Check them out!
Saturday, January 10, 2009
I recently completed a brand new set of business cards for a small Calgary, Alberta Canada-based company that does web design, development and hosting called Kerplunc. If you're interested in checking out some of the stuff that Matt Hall and his business partner, Nick, are up to at Kerplunc, they operate two blogs: Resource Pile and Exploding Wumpus. If you are in need of web hosting, check out their hosting sites SuperBytes and Fanatical Host. I had mentioned in a previous post that a new site for twinravenspress.com is in the mix, and I may have to contact Matt about helping me out with it as soon as I figure out exactly what I want.
Matt discovered Twin Ravens Press through our Etsy shop, where he purchased one of our Robot Heart cards for his girlfriend (Awww...). Shortly after, he placed an order for these custom cards:
I really like the design of the cards - they are really simple and clean and incorporate the red K Logo on one side that Matt already had for his company, and simple, black informational text on the back. I love how much space Matt chose to leave on the cards - that way if he or the client or potential client need to write something down, they already have space to do it. These cards were printed on Crane Lettra's 100% cotton letterpress paper in Bright White. The softness of this paper left a really great tactile impression for the letterpress work - particularly that raised, white, unprinted K from the logo (check out the close-up photo of it at the top). Thanks so much, Matt!
If you're looking into the possibility of ordering new business cards for your business, please don't hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to work with you!
Monday, January 5, 2009
I was thinking today that it's been a little while since I posted anything about weddings, and since I have had quite a few potential custom wedding clients appear over the past week or so, it might be good to write about some of the wedding stationary that has been recently finished. A few months ago I was contacted by a lovely bride, Isabel, through my etsy site about letterpress printing a set of custom wedding invitations that she was designing herself. I feel really honored to have gotten to work with this couple, because, although they are living in the U.S. now, Isabel is originally from Spain and her husband-to-be, Luis, is originally from the Dominican Republic and right before their wedding they will be leaving the U.S. to move to Tunisia for work. Personally, I love to travel and I always thought it would be really neat to have a job that you travel and live in different countries for. I didn't quite end up in a job like that (obviously, even though I love the job I have very much), and I don't plan on trying to move my nearly 1,000 pound printing press around to different places just so that I can say I've lived and worked in other countries, but I do still love to travel to, see and experience different places whenever I get the chance. Because of this I feel really excited to have gotten to work with a couple who is doing that, and who will be here for awhile and then be somewhere else. It's really neat that they chose to work with me, out of all the other possible people they could have throughout the U.S., the world and their travels. It's pretty neat how the internet and e-commerce can bring people and businesses together who are hundreds or thousands of miles apart.
Anyway, on to the stationary. Because they have many friends, speaking different languages, all over the world, Isabel & Luis decided to have two sets of invitations printed. The design of both sets is the same, but one set is in English and the other set is in Spanish. You can view images of both complete sets below.
Each set included an A8 size invitation, a khaki invitation envelope with their return address printed on the flap and a reply card. All of the pieces (except the envelopes) were printed on Crane's Lettra paper in Ecru. We decided to use the standard weight of Crane Lettra (110 lb.) for their reply cards and the double-thick weight (220 lb.) for their invitations. Check out both invitations below.
I haven't printed on Crane's double-weight paper too often, but I really do like the way that it looks. The paper itself, while still being 100% cotton is so stiff and thick, it almost feels the same as my coaster stock. It prints really beautifully and because of the thickness of the sheet to begin with, you can get a fairly substantial impression without a lot of effort. Check out a close-up, detailed image of one of the invitations below:
Pretty, don't you think? I really love too how the combination of the warm red and chocolate brown inks on the warm Ecru 100% cotton paper really makes it feel like a decadent and romantic Spanish wedding. It's almost like a preview of what the actual celebration at a very old cathedral in Madrid, Spain will be like, in paper form.
Below are closer-up images of both sets of reply cards. Rather than going with a standard reply card where your guests fill in their response and mail them back to you, Isabel and Luis opted to go with more of an informational-style reply card and are having their guests respond online. I did a similar type of card for the last couple I wrote about, Valerie & Rebecca, for the same reason: both couples are moving in between when the send out their invitations and when they have their actual weddings. I think this is a really great thing to do so that you can still have a separate reply card if you are in the same or a similar situation. Check them out:
Last, but not least: the envelopes. Isabel and I went back and forth a lot on what the envelopes for this set should be: white, ecru, khaki? What size should they be? Etc... We finally decided on a Khaki colored A9 envelope from Waste Not Paper. The actual invitation is an A8, but Isabel was making some sort of fancy fabric inner envelope to put the invites, etc. in that would go inside the printed mailing envelope, so we decided that going with the bigger size would be the safest idea in order to make sure that the fabric inner-envelopes would fit. Isabel designed a rather fancy return address image and I printed it in chocolate brown ink on the back flap.
Finally, it's always wonderful to hear a little bit of praise every now and again for what you do, day to day, even if what you do is really really cool... Normally, I would just link to this sort of thing, but in this instance I didn't want it to be too hard to find, so below is what Isabel wrote on her wedding website about Twin Ravens Press and my work:
Thanks so much, Isabel! I know that they are going to have an absolutely beautiful and romantic wedding in Spain in May.
Congratulations Isabel & Luis!