Thursday, May 28, 2009

April & William Are Getting Married!

Earlier this month I finished printing a really awesome job for a couple of designers in Covington, Kentucky for their upcoming wedding in June.  William, the groom, designed all of the pieces in their invitation suite and hired Twin Ravens Press to do the letterpress printing.  You can see a photo of all of the pieces together at the top of this post.  Their suite included a custom sized invitation, reply card, map and two sets of envelopes.   

Both the invitation and map card were a custom size that was almost the same size as a standard T-length card, just a little skinnier.  Here is the invitation by itself: 

All of William and April's pieces were printed on Crane Lettra Bright White Paper with Chartreuse and Pewter Grey inks and blind embossing.  I really love the way that William chose to incorporate some subtle embossed elements into each of the pieces.  I often find that it's really fun and interesting to use blind embossed element in a design because it is something that can only be achieved with this printing method and it shows off the different capabilities of letterpress really well.  I also really enjoy William's use of a serif and san-serif font for their names - they way he designed it looks really classy and modern.  Here is a close-up so you can see what I'm talking about: 

The main information on the invitation (the couple's names, date and place) was printed in a combination of the chartreuse and grey inks, while the other information (times, etc...) was blind embossed.  I think the look of it is just awesome.  Here is a close-up of the section with the blind embossing: 

Throughout all of the pieces, William created a very modern and fresh line pattern that was embossed throughout.  For the invite, he used this pattern as decoration on the bottom of the piece and I printed some nice text over the top of the pattern in chartreuse.  I never asked where the text he used came from, perhaps it is a song lyric or from a poem or story the couple enjoys.  I think it's really whimsical and romantic though and adds a little bit of sweetness and whimsy to an otherwise very modern and classy design. 

**Note** After reading this original post, I received a very nice e-mail from the bride exclaiming how wonderful the invitations turned out.  In the e-mail she also informed me that the lyrics in the invitation design at the bottom are song lyrics from the song "This Twilight Garden" by the Cure.  Apparently, it's a B side, so not as popular as many of their other songs, but William and April loved it so much that it became a theme for their wedding.  Pretty cool...

Very cool, don't you think?  The invite was paired with a chartreuse T-Length envelope from Waste Not Paper Company, and the couple's return address was printed on the flap in opaque white ink.  

For the reply card, I printed a flood of chartreuse ink on the left side of the design and then blind embossed the decorative line pattern over the top.  I love the simplicity of the information on the card - it's brief, to-the-point, and keeps with the classy, modern and clean look of the other pieces in the suite.  This card was also paired with a chartreuse envelope from Waste Not Paper Company with the couple's address printed on the front in opaque white ink.  Here is the card and envelope and a close-up so you can get a better look at the printing and embossing.

Last, but certainly not least, is the map card.  Unfortunately, I didn't have a very good photo of the map card all by itself, but you can see it in the picture of the full suite at the top of this post.  Like the reply card, the map card featured a flood of chartreuse on the left side with William's decorative line pattern blind embossed over the top.  The information about where the celebration will take place is printed in chartreuse and grey inks in the white area to the right of the line pattern.  Then, the right-most half of the card is an actual map!  

Like the patterned sections on both the map and reply cards, the map section of this card was printed with a flood of chartreuse ink.  The roads and names of areas are actually areas where we didn't print the flood and the white is the actual white of the paper showing through.  For the map, I blind embossed the Ohio River on top of the printing which helped to create a tactile as well as visual representation of the geography.  

I really love the way that the pieces in William and April's suite turned out and it was really fun to get to work with another pair of designers!  Congratulations William & April!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Very Cool Bike Design!

Madsen Cycles Cargo Bikes

This week seems to be shaping up to a week where I'm not only blogging about awesome things that we're doing, I'm also blogging about awesome things that other people are doing and things that I love as well.  Living in lovely, eco-friendly, Eugene, you see a lot of awesome-ly designed, random, different, or customized bikes around.  Many of these bike owners have built or customized their bikes themselves, but nonetheless, it makes for awesome people-watching, as well as awesome alternative transportation for a city that's keen on protecting the environment.  I have a pretty awesome bike, that I ride all over the place when the weather is decent to nice, but I always thought it would be great to have a bike trailer to haul stuff around with.  Well, what if your bike and bike trailer were an all-in-one, awesomely designed package?  Check out the Madsen.  It may be one of the coolest ideas I've seen this week.  

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Audrey & Eric are Getting Married!

I wanted to show off a really neat set of pieces I finished last week for a couple just north of us, in Portland, Oregon.  This is one of only a few pieces that I've printed in only metallic inks, but if done right, I think they effect can be absolutely stunning!  In order to save some money, the bride and groom, Audrey and Eric, decided to have many of the pieces in their stationery suite flat printed, but hired Twin Ravens Press to print their actual invitation and invitation envelopes letterpress.  Both pieces turned out absolutely beautiful (as you can see from the photo at the top of this post)!

Audrey's fiancee, Eric, drew the lovely border artwork for their invitation.  Isn't it gorgeous?  I must admit, I was a little worried that it might not print evenly since the border was so large (covered a large portion of the sheet), but it turned out great!  Audrey had me help her layout the actual text portion of the invite within the gorgeous border, and I think it turned out really pretty too.  The invitation was printed in metallic gold ink on Crane Lettra 100% cotton pearl white paper.  Here is a close-up photo so you can see the details in the border and the impression of the typography a little bit better:

For the envelopes, Audrey chose a light pink color called "Luxe Blush" from Waste Not Paper Company.  I letterpress printed her return address in the same fonts as we used for the invitation on the back flap.  For a little extra special touch, we also printed a round chinese double-happiness character on the point of the flap.  The small round character almost looks like a gold seal - the texture and sparkly-ness of it is fabulous!  You can see the envelope in the photo at the beginning of the post, and here is a close-up of the letterpress printed parts, so you can get a better look: 

Audrey was an absolute joy to work with and I would be more than happy to work with her again.  She also had some lovely things to say about working with us on her wedding blog, which you can read here and here, if you wish.  

Thanks so much Audrey & congratulations to both you and Eric! 

Monday, May 18, 2009

Letterpress of the Past: North Beach, California

In case you haven't noticed, I love old things.  I drive an old car, have a shop full of old printing equipment, love vintage cameras and analog photography and think that old t-shirts that are almost on the verge of falling apart are way better than brand new ones.  My love of old things and old processes is probably one of the main reasons that I became interested in letterpress and old-fashioned printing in college, years ago, in the first place.  So I was pretty delighted when my mom e-mailed me this photo that she took while visiting North Beach, California last week.  

From the looks of it, this shop has probably been closed down for quite some time, however, I love that the old sign, advertising both letterpress and offset printing is still featured prominently above.  When seeing images like this, I think anyone in this industry (letterpress printing) should stop and tip their hat to the history that our craft is a part of.  
It's pretty cool to think that we're a part of something that has been happening, pretty much the same way, for over 100 years.  

Friday, May 15, 2009

Shop Twin Ravens Press at Finch!

Great news for Twin Ravens Press fans in and around Austin, Texas!  I'm currently in the process of finishing up and getting ready to ship off an order of Twin Ravens Press cards to a little retail shop in Austin called Finch!  

Finch is located in the heart of downtown Austin at 417 West 2nd Street.  Their shop offers a lovely collection of gifts, and hand-crafted furnishings for the home. Finch specializes in independent design (like us!), and carries handmade ceramics, textiles, lamps, glassware and other items from around the world.  Twin Ravens Press is very excited to have our cards at Finch, so if you're living in or close to Austin, go down and check them out!  

Simple, Yet Sophisticated: Kristin & Timothy are Getting Married!

Last month, Twin Ravens Press had the opportunity to print a very stylish, simple, yet sophisticated set of wedding invitations for a couple in upstate New York!  When Kristin and Timothy contacted me, they already new what they wanted for the design of their wedding invitations, and it was just up to me to customize their specific pieces and do the printing.  Kristin and Timothy's suite included a 6.75" square wedding invitation with matching Marquis size envelope, a 4bar reply card, with matching envelope and a small, 2.5"x3.5" reception card.  You can see a photo of all of the pieces together at the top of this post.   All of Kristin and Timothy's pieces were printed on Crane Lettra Bright White Paper in light grey and pewter colored inks.  Their envelopes were Crane Lettra Bright White Envelopes with square flaps.  

Here is a photo of Kristin and Timothy's invitation and invitation envelope: 

Twin Ravens Press currently offers three sizes of square invitations: 5.5", 6.25" or 6.75".  Kristin and Timothy's invitation was the largest square size we offer and I think that the size really helped add to the nice open, clean, uncluttered look of their design.  I also love how the larger envelope, with the larger flap, allowed us to do some really fun things with the design of their address.  We were able to print the address in two ink colors and have the shape/style/fonts mimic the fonts on the invite.  Click on the photo above if you'd like to see a larger version.  Below is a photo of they're stylish, sophisticated invite all by itself, and below that is a close-up so you can see the ink colors, fonts and impression a little better.  

Very nice, don't you think?  

For their reply card, Kristin wanted something simple: no fancy options or check-boxes or blanks to fill in, just a nice, white card that went well with the invitation, had space for the guest's name(s) and a space for them to write their response.  This is what we came up with: 

And here it is with the envelope:  

For the envelope - we printed the address in the same style, fonts and colors as we did on the flap of the invitation envelope.  I love how clean and crisp it looks - very classy!  

Lastly, Kristin wanted a separate reception card for her suite, since her wedding and reception are going to be held at different locations.  One of my favorite sizes for reception cards is 3.5"x2.5".  This size is slightly larger than a business card and has just enough room for some brief information about a different reception location.  Once again, we mimicked the design of the invite for this separate card.   

Kristin and Timothy were wonderful to work with throughout the whole process!  Kristin even sent me a very sweet e-mail when she received everything.  Here is what she wrote: 
Thanks so much again for doing such a phenomenal job on these invitations.  Everyone loves them, especially Tim and I.  They definitely are exactly what we were looking for, simple but sophisticated.  ... You can be sure I will be recommending you to anyone who will benefit from your services.  Thank you again for adding a special touch to our special day!
Thanks so much again, Kristin & Tim!  All the best! 

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Just off the Press: Round Wedding Menus!

I just finished printing a set of gorgeous wedding menus for a couple who are getting married in Spain next Saturday.  I've been working with the bride and groom that these are for for several months now and this is the final piece they are having me print for their wedding.  The couple I'm speaking of are Isabel and Luis, who I printed a gorgeous set of wedding invitations for back in January.  I wrote about working with Isabel and about her wedding invitations in a couple of other blog posts, which you can find here and here.  

Like her other letterpress pieces, Isa designed her wedding menus herself and sent her design to me to be letterpress printed.  Like her other pieces, the menus are bilingual, english and spanish and feature a gorgeous, ornate-looking, romantic design.  These menus are also extremely unique in that they are 5.5" circle shapes.  In order to print these, I first printed them on a square 6" sheet of Crane Lettra 100% cotton ecru paper in violet ink and then die-cut each one on the letterpress using a sharp, custom-made, steel 5.5" round circle die.  As, you can see from the above photo, they turned out magnificently!  (Click on the photo if you'd like to see a bigger version).  

I really loved Isabel's fancy designs throughout her whole suite.  Here is a close-up of some of the ornate, beautiful pattern on the top of the menu: 

The design is beautiful and really shows off the letterpress detail and impression very well!   These menus were rush shipped off to Spain this afternoon so that Isabel and Luis can enjoy them at their reception next weekend.  

Congratulations again, Isabel and Luis!  Thanks again!  

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Cecilia & William are Getting Married!

Here's another beautiful and summery wedding invitation suite that I completed last month for a lovely couple in Georgia!  The bride, Cecilia, had been following Wedding Bee for a few months and had seen some of the work my company had done for different brides on that site and decided to contact me about creating a wedding invitation suite for her June wedding.  As you can see in the above photo of the suite, Cecilia and William's set included a T-Length wedding invitation and coordinating envelope and a 4bar size reply card with coordinating envelope.  Here is the invitation and invitation envelope: 

Cecilia and William's invitations were three colors: black, light blue and leaf green and the invitation and reply card were printed on Crane Lettra 100% cotton pearl white paper.  I love the way the blue flowers and green leaves and vines give the whole set a very warm, summery feel.  I also love that the design we ended up doing is a T-Length size.  This size is one of the more uncommon ones that I do for wedding invitations, but I really love the look of a long, skinny invite.  The envelope we chose to pair with the suite is from Waste Not Paper Company - it is their T-length size in Luxe White.  I love how most T-Length envelopes open on the short end and the flap has just enough room for a small, letterpress printed return address.  Cecilia asked for a deeper impression for her pieces, which I thought turned out really nice.  Here are a couple of close-ups of different parts of her invite so that you can see the pretty ink colors, fonts and impression better: 

Cecilia and William's reply card is a standard 4Bar size, which measures 3.5" x 4.875".  It is also three colors and featured the same blue and green viney flowers from the invite.  For the reply card envelope we chose a light green envelope from Waste Not Paper and made sure that the green ink we used for the leaves and vines on the pieces matched the color of this envelope. If you look at the envelope in the photo at the top of this post, you will see that we printed the return address for the reply envelope on the front in black ink.  Here is the reply card and envelope together:  

Here is one more close-up of this card so you can check out the impression, colors and pretty fonts: 

Cecilia and William were a pleasure to work with and I know that these invites are just the start of what's going to be a beautiful Southern, summer wedding this June.  Congratulations Cecilia and William!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Letterpress Printed Cocktail Napkins

Did you know that letterpress printing can be used on other objects besides regular flat paper? One of the more traditional objects that was printed on regularly, other than paper, were square cocktail napkins.  People often used to have napkins printed up for special events or parties such as weddings, milestone birthdays, anniversary parties, etc.  

I recently got a request to print up some of these napkins for a good friend whose adult son is a sailor.  The son and his girlfriend have a sailboat called Santa Magdalena that they travel all over the place on (Caribbean, South America, etc...).  The mom thought it would be a really neat gift to get them custom printed cocktail napkins themed after their boat.  I thought it was a very cool idea too!  You can see a close-up photo of the design for the napkins at the top of this post and a wider shot of them here:  

These napkins are regular, square, 3-ply cocktail napkins that you can find at any party supply store.  They are ivory colored and feature the stick-drawn sailboat design and the names printed in chocolate brown ink on the diagonal of the napkin.  Aren't they cool?  

If you would like more information about custom letterpress napkins, feel free to contact me at!  I'm sure they would be a hit at your upcoming party or other get-together (or they would be awesome to have on your sailboat!).  

Monday, May 4, 2009

F is for Fail (A Short Film About the Creative Process)

F is for FAIL from Brent Barson on Vimeo.

If, like me, you work in some kind of design or creative field full-time, you're sure to appreciate this video.  You'll also like it if you are just a fan of really awesome uses of typography.  

From Vimeo:
F is for Fail is a short film about the creative process, and the failure we always encounter, but usually overcome.  Told using the alphabet, each letter informs us of the state of the protagonist's creativity/state of mind.  Each letter has two words associated with it (except A and Z); sometimes the positive word overpowers the negative word, and vice-versa. 

Creative direction, design, and animation by Brent Barson.   

I thought it was really cool!  Check it out!  

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Paul & Jesika are Getting Married!

I recently had the pleasure of designing and printing a set of wedding invitations for a couple of good friends that I went to college with.  Paul & Jes have been dating longer than I've known them and they are tying the knot at the end of this month!  For their wedding, I created an invitation set with an invite, reply card, save-the-date card, thank you cards and four sets of envelopes.  

Let's start with the Save-the-Date: 

I created Paul & Jes' Save-the-Date cards several months ago.  They were loosely based on this set of wedding invitations I printed for another couple in 2008.  Paul & Jes' wedding colors are blue, white and black, so we stuck with light blue and black inks on Crane Lettra 100% cotton Pearl White paper for the whole suite.  The above Save-the-Date card is an A2 size and came with a matching blue envelope with a monarch style flap from Green Paper Company.  Here is a close-up so you can get a better look at the Save-the-Date: 

After the Save-the-Date cards were printed and sent out, I began working on the designs for their wedding invitations.  Jes really liked the light blue flowers from the Save-the-Date card and wanted to keep the design and formatting of the other pieces in her stationery suite similar, and this is what we came up with: 

The invitation is a standard A7 size and comes with an A7 envelope that was the same color as their save-the-date envelopes.  Green Paper Company currently makes two different blue papers, a lighter one and a darker one.  The two sets of envelopes you've seen so far are their darker blues.  For Paul & Jes' invites we custom lined each one with the lighter blue GPC color, just to give it a little more pizazz.  I think they turned out really pretty!  Here is the invite with the lined invitation envelope: 

And here are a couple of close-up photos of their stunning invitation: 

Like the design we printed in 2008, Paul and Jes wanted their names to be the most prominent textual element on their invitation design, with the other information designed around it.  I love the way that the blue flowers interlace with the script of their names, and I love the use of the 1/4" black border to frame everything.  

For the reply card, we used a standard 4bar size with a light blue envelope (that matched the invitation envelope liners).  I tried to keep the design of this card in line with the design of everything else.  Here is the reply card with its envelope: 

And here is a close-up of the card, by itself: 

I really love the elegance and simplicity of this reply card!  It's very pretty, simple and yet functional and coordinates with the rest of the suite perfectly!  

Last, but not least, I created a set of matching thank you cards for Paul & Jes to use after their wedding.  Here is what they look like:  

The thank you cards were also a 4bar size.  They incorporated the same floral pattern from the reply card and featured their names (with Jes' new last name!) in the center.  These also came with a coordinating blue envelope.  

As much as I enjoy working with the majority of my customers, it's really fun when you get to create something beautiful and special for your friends!  Congratulations Paul & Jes!  I'm so excited for your wedding!