Monday, August 31, 2009

Christina & Phillip are Getting Married!

Every now and again I run into a bride and groom who have either designed their wedding invitations themselves or who are already working with another designer to do the design work and are looking for someone to letterpress print them. For the invitations you see above and below, Virginia bride, Christina, did the design work herself and hired Twin Ravens Press to do her letterpress printing.

If you've been following this blog, or if you've checked out my etsy shop, you may have noticed that I have a fondness for Japanese paper cranes. In fact, I designed several different greeting cards featuring them shortly following my trip to Japan last November. Christina had seen my cards on etsy and figured that since she was using a similar motif for her wedding invitations that I would be the perfect letterpress printer for her!

Christina's wedding invitation is an A7 size and was printed on Crane Lettra 100% cotton 110 lb. paper in Pearl White using Bordeaux Red and Black inks. The design features images of two paper cranes with a little red heart between them at the top of the invite and a fun pattern of black lines that aren't too dissimilar from the ones we printed on this set of invitations earlier this year at the bottom.

The fine lines and text in this design made for some really nice letterpress impressions in the paper. Check it out in the detail photos below:

Christina's reply card is a standard 4bar size and was printed on Crane Lettra Paper as well, however, because she wanted these to be postcards we printed them on the 220 lb. lettra so that they would be a little thicker and stiffer, in order to stand up to the postal machines a little better. They were printed in one ink color (black) and featured the same type of line pattern from the invite and some really adorable icons for their reception entree selections. Check it out:

Christina was a wonderful client to work with and I think her invitations turned out wonderfully! Congratulations Christina & Phillip!

The OMG-WTF Spectrum

I can't believe it's already the last day in August! Seriously, where has the last month/year/summer gone?!? This week is going to be a really busy week between printing an awesome set of promotional greeting cards for a wedding planner in California to keeping up with the design work for some upcoming winter wedding clients before I leave for Seattle on Thursday afternoon. I'm hoping to have a new blog post up later today too to show off some more awesome things we've been working on this summer, but in the meantime, I found this online this morning and thought it more than appropriate. If any fellow designers out there are reading this blog, I know that you can appreciate this too. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the OMG-WTF Spectrum:

(via Neatorama)

In my opinion this is very applicable to design work, be it letterpress related or otherwise (way before I opened Twin Ravens Press I worked in marketing for a university bookstore and this was applicable there too). Also sometimes applicable for personal relationships, traffic, and tech support...

There will be more awesome letterpress-related stuff later! In the meantime, have a Happy Monday!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Internet Love

Happy Friday everyone! Twin Ravens Press has received quite a bit of love this week from different corners of the internet. It all started earlier this week when our Magenta Dahlia Cards were featured in an etsy treasury that I blogged about on Monday here. Also on Monday, my "This is How We Roll" Sushi cards were featured on another blog, which you can find here. It's so cool to find out that folks are digging our card designs so much that they want to feature and write about them! With that said, keep an eye on our etsy shop over the next few weeks, there's going to be some new stuff up very soon, including small gift cards and new coaster designs! More about those soon.

Lastly, this may be one of the neatest things I've seen on the internet, EVER. It takes a few minutes to load, and it is in Spanish. However, even if you don't speak Spanish, it's totally worth the wait because it's awesome. Go check it out!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Julia & John are Getting Married!

A couple of months ago, I completed this lovely and classic set of wedding invitations for a couple who will be married exactly one month, less a day, from today! When Julia originally contacted me she wanted her wedding invitations to be beautiful and classic and somewhat reflective of their Cape Cod wedding, without being too beachy or modern. I think we totally accomplished that goal with the set of invitations you see above, which featured an A7 Letterpress wedding invitation, inner and outer invitation envelopes, and a reply card with corresponding envelope.

All of the pieces in Julia & John's suite were printed on Crane Lettra 100% cotton paper and came with matching Crane Lettra 100% cotton envelopes in Pearl White. Here is their invitation by itself:

Julia & John's invitation was a classic single-color letterpress invitation using navy blue ink and featured a delicate and beautiful blind-embossed border to frame the text. We also blind-embossed a realistic-looking scallop shell in the center of the invitation to separate the invitation to the ceremony from the reception information. Here are a couple of detail photos so you can see the fonts, inks and blind embossing better:

Isn't it just elegant? I love the way invitations like this one are so simple, and yet so gorgeous style-wise. They really just speak for themselves. I also love that Julia chose to have us blind emboss the border and scallop shell detail rather than using a second ink color. This gave the invitation some lovely texture, that you wouldn't be able to achieve with other printing methods, without making the invitations look too busy. It's just gorgeous!

The outer invitation envelope was printed with the couple's return address, also in navy blue ink using the same script font as the one we used for the couple's names on the invitation.

Julia & John's reply cards were a 4bar size, also printed in navy blue ink with blind embossing on Crane Lettra 100% cotton paper. We used the same style of font for the address on the reply card envelopes as we did on the invitation envelopes and tried to incorporate the same design elements from the invitation into the reply card while giving it a distinct and original "look" of it's own.

The reply card itself utilized the same typefaces as the invitation as well as the same blind embossed border pattern. In order to change things up a bit for this piece though, I enlarged the scallop shell motif quite a bit incorporated it into the design in such a way so that it would "bleed" off two of the cards edges. We still used the blind embossing technique for this to create the awesome, textural impression. I then printed the navy blue text of the card directly over the blind embossing, and let me tell you - both the look and the texture are fabulous!

I love the way Julia & John's suite turned out! It's beautiful and classic while being modern and fresh all at the same time! Julia told me that she got many wonderful compliments from her guests and that some even requested to keep the reply card, just because they liked it so much!

Congratulations Julia & John! I know your wedding on the coast is going to be beautiful this September!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Etsy Treasury Feature: Magenta Dahlia Cards

My Magenta Dahlia cards were featured in an etsy treasury this morning!  You can find the treasury here and the cards here or here!  Go check 'em out!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Brianna & Matt are Getting Married!

Happy Friday, everyone! Today I want to share with you a totally lovely wedding suite that I completed for a couple in Florida a few weeks ago. When Brianna and her fiancee Matt first began talking to me about wedding invitations they explained that they wanted to create a design that would be well suited to both of their personalities. Brianna described herself as a "vintage, romantic girl" and her fiancee, Matt, as "a guy who's just all about the ocean". Matt has been a surfer all of his life and while Brianna and Matt weren't incorporating anything obviously ocean-y into their wedding, like seashells or sand, they still wanted something for their invitations that was somewhat ocean-inspired, be it through colors, textures or design elements. This created a really fun challenge for me, as a designer, and you can see the results of what we came up with at the top of this post!

Brianna & Matt's invitation suite included a 5.5" square invitation, a 4bar size reply card and corresponding envelopes for both. Here are the invitation and invitation envelope:

Both Brianna & Matt's invitation and reply card were printed on Crane Lettra 100% cotton Duplex paper in Ecru. The Lettra Duplex paper is twice as thick as the standard Crane Lettra which made these cards super-plush and substantial. Both of the envelopes were Khaki colored, printed with navy blue ink and came from Waste Not Paper Company. Here is an image of the invitation by itself:

When I was trying to come up with designs for Brianna and Matt, I tried to think of how I could incorporate both vintage and ocean-inspired elements into the design without the invitations seeming too much like a vintage postcard for a beach vacation. We wanted these to be really elegant. One of my favorite things to do when coming up with a design is to try out several different typefaces. For these invitations I ended up using a classic wood-type inspired face for the couple's names and a more romantic script font for the rest of the text. The "and" that you see in between their names is also vintage-letterpress inspired. In order to come up with the "wave" pattern for the background, I began thinking about some of the cool imagery that I saw in Japan when I was there last November. The Japanese have an incredible and beautiful history of depicting waves and water in several different mediums and historical artworks from woodblock prints to calligraphic images. The final wave image that I used for the background on Brianna and Matt's invitation was inspired by a classic, historical, Japanese depiction of a wave and I think that it worked out perfectly. The background image was letterpress printed in a very light blue ink and the text was letterpress printed over the top of it in navy ink. Here is a close-up so you can see the ink colors, impression, fonts and details a little more closely:

For the address on the envelope, I used the same navy ink and tried to keep the design similar to the type style that I used for the invitation. Here is how it turned out:

The reply card and reply card envelope were also in the same style and used the same colors: khaki with navy ink for the envelope and Lettra Duplex Ecru paper with light blue and navy ink for the reply card. The reply card and envelope were a standard 4bar size and measured 3.5"x4.875". Check them out:

Brianna came up with the wording for her invitation and reply card herself, which I think is awesome, because it really lets the personality of the couple shine through. As you can see in the above photo, I incorporated the same wave image into the background for the reply card and utilized the same typefaces for the wording. Isn't it pretty?!?

Brianna and Matt were absolutely fabulous clients to work with and I know that their Florida wedding this November is going to be fabulous! Brianna even sent me the sweetest e-mail shortly after receiving her invites. She wrote:

"They [The Invitations] are completely and utterly perfect; I have to confess that I must have spent a good 15 minutes just sitting there looking at them! You know you’ve done something special when even a couple groomsmen (and not any of them design-oriented in the least) have all said that they are the “sickest” invitations they’ve ever seen. I promise that’s a huge compliment!

You’ve been absolutely wonderful every step of the way and I’ve already recommended you to several friends. I honestly can’t thank you enough for helping to make this once in a lifetime event even more special for us.

Isn't that awesome?!? Feedback like that always makes my day!

Thanks again and congratulations Brianna & Matt!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Vicki & Larry are Getting Married!

I'm very excited to show off this lovely set of wedding invitations I recently printed for a couple in Philadelphia, Vicki & Larry. Vicki and Larry actually found out about Twin Ravens Press via their super-awesome local wedding planner, Christina Hill. If you're planning a wedding in the Philadelphia area, you should definitely think about getting in touch with Christina at CHill Weddings. I really enjoy the opportunities I get to work with other wedding vendors, and other graphic designers, and I had a fabulous experience working with Christina as well as her clients, Vicki and Larry. You can find out more about Christina via the CHill Weddings website or on her blog.

Anyway, on to the stationery! Vicki and Larry actually had several different pieces in their invitation suite, but in order to save some money, they opted to have us print only their actual invitation and invitation envelopes. The other pieces in their suite (including a reply postcard, reception card, directions card, and accommodations card) were printed by a separate offset printer. I've mentioned this before in other posts, but if you are interested in having your wedding invitations letterpress printed, but don't necessarily know if you can or want to spend the money to have everything letterpress printed, having an offset printer print part of the suite is always an excellent alternative. It will save you quite a bit of money and allow you to do some really spectacular things (like using special papers or multiple ink colors) on the pieces in the suite that matter to you the most (like your actual invitation).

You can see a picture of the three pieces I did (invitation, inner envelope and outer envelope) together at the top of this post, and below is the invitation by itself:

Larry & Vicki's inspiration for their design was from an image they saw in a wedding magazine of an invitation featuring the New York skyline. Because they are getting married in Philadelphia though, they wanted their invitations to be a little more reflective of Philly as well as the fall colors that will be starting to happen on their wedding date (they are getting married in the middle of September). All of their stationery was designed by Christina's in-house graphic designer, the very talented June Park of June Park Designs Isn't the design simply fabulous?!? Click on the image above if you'd like to see it bigger. Just in case you're curious what the other pieces in Vicki and Larry's suite looked like, I snagged this image from Christina's blog post about them:

It's not the clearest image ever, but I do love the way that June carried the fonts, flourishes, and the Philadelphia skyline and Liberty Bell motifs through the entire suite. Here is a close-up of the invitation so you can check out the letterpress impression, fonts and colors more closely:

While we're talking about the invitation I do have to mention that we did have a slight miscommunication regarding the colors for these initially. When Christina originally sent me the design, she said that the color didn't need to be totally specific. However, when Vicki got her order from the offset company for all of the other pieces and the order from me for the invitations, the red/orange color for the names and branches on the two different pieces didn't match. Why would something like this happen you ask? Well, the simplest answer is that all computer monitors aren't calibrated the same, and because of this what a printer sees color-wise on the screen, doesn't actually tell them anything about how the print should look when it's printed. Have you ever been in a big box store like Best Buy or Target and looked at the giant display of lots and lots of different TV screens that are made by different companies, and come in different sizes, but are all playing the same movie? Ever notice how the color on the different screens looks a little bit different from screen to screen, even though the movie they are playing on all of them is the same? If you haven't, check it out the next time you're in a store like that. The same thing is true of computer screens and monitors. If you or an outside designer sends me a design, it may look totally different color-wise on my computer screen to what you see on yours.

How do we remedy this, you ask, and make sure that everyone ends up with the color they want when the invitations are printed? The best and most guarantee-able way to do this is to provide us with a Pantone color number for the color that you want. Pantone has created an industry standard for colors and color matching and you can request to look at one of their books (also called Color Formula Guides) from almost any printer or designer in your area. They look like this:

(Image Source)

Seriously, if you are having something printed by us, or another printer for that matter, and really want a specific ink color, all you have to do is walk into any Office Max, Kinko's, or other big box print/copy center in your area and ask to see one of these books. Each book has thousands of different colors for you to choose from, and all you have to do is tell us the three to four-digit number of the color you want and we can make it happen!

To show you the difference that having a number or not can make, here is an image of the first run of invitations we printed for Vicki, before we had a Pantone number:

As you can see, this invitation is really pretty, but quite a bit more orange than the ones that I put up previously in the post, and it's quite a bit more orange than the other cards that had been offset printed. Vicki, Larry and Christina were all fabulous to work with, and completely understanding through the reprint and this is what the new invitations looked like:

As you can see, the red is a much better match to their other offset pieces.

The other two items I printed for Vicki and Larry were their invitation envelopes. Vicki chose an inner/outer envelope combination from Waste Not Paper company. The inner envelope was a charcoal grey to match the ink color on the invitation and it was left unprinted. The inner envelope was a sparkly white (called Stardream Opal) and it had their return address and the liberty bell image letterpress printed in charcoal grey ink on the flap. Check them out:

I love how Vicki and Larry's invitations turned out and working with them, Christina and June was absolutely fabulous!

Congratulations Vicki & Larry!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Save the Date: Elyssa & Justin are Getting Married!

Back in late June I finished this lovely set of Save-the-Date cards for a Seattle couple, Elyssa and Justin, who are planning a destination wedding for this winter in Key West, Florida.  Elyssa had seen my Elegant Scroll Thank You cards on etsy, loved the pattern, and wanted to know if I could incorporate it into a design for their wedding stationery.  The first piece we worked on together was her Save-the-Date, which you can see pictured above.  Elyssa & Justin's Save-the-Date is an A2 size (4.25"x5.5") card and was printed in violet ink on Crane Lettra 100% cotton pearl white paper.  We tried out several different fonts when working on this design, and I absolutely love the ones Elyssa decided on.  They're really pretty and really stand out!

We paired Elyssa & Justin's Save-the-Date card with a coordinating purple envelope from Waste Not Paper Company and printed their return address on it in silver ink.  I love the way that the metallic silver for the address shimmers in different amounts of sunlight.  It's subtle, yet really elegant.  Here is a photo of the Save-the-Date card and envelope together and a close-up of just the metallic silver return address.  

I'm actually going to be finishing up the printing on the rest of Elyssa & Justin's invitation suite today, so if you love the way these Save-the-Date cards turned out, check this blog again soon to see their invitation, reply card and the other pieces in their suite.  

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Beautiful Bilingual Korean & English Wedding Menus & Thank You Cards

Back in March I created a really beautiful green and chocolate brown wedding suite for a couple in New York City who were getting married in June named Linda & James.  If you've been following this blog for a while, you may remember seeing their invitations quite a while ago.  If you're new to the blog, or don't remember this particular couple, you can check out their wedding invitations here.  Linda and I had such a great time working together and she loved the way her invites turned out so much that she ended up hiring me to design and print her wedding menus and thank you cards at a later date.  Linda & James' thank you cards and menus turned out so great that even though it's past their wedding at this point, I needed to show them to you anyway!  

Because Linda's family is Korean and her husband James' family is American, they decided it would be best to do a bilingual menu for their wedding.  I've done a handful of bilingual invitations and other stationery pieces before, but before this one, hadn't ever done one in an Asian language.  It was exciting!  You can see the three pieces (menu, thank you card and thank you card envelope) together at the top of this post.  Here is an image of just the menu by itself (click on the image if you want to see it bigger): 

Linda's menu was a custom size.  It's long and skinny measuring 3.75"x11".  We used the same scroll pattern from Linda's invitation and reply card at the top and bottom of the menu and carried the same fonts over from the original suite.  Now, I must confess that I can't read, write, or speak Korean, even in the smallest amount, but Linda was great with sending over not only all of the text typed out, but telling me where it needed to be broken up and what characters went with what segments of the english text.  Even if you can't actually read it like me, check it out, the letterpress printed Korean is beautiful!  

I love it!  If you're a prospective client and would like to do any or all of your stationery in multiple languages, have no fear!  I love this sort of challenge!  As long as you're willing to correct my faulty grammar, spelling and/or (as Linda did) write out the exact wording as you want it to appear in your second language, I'd be more than happy to letterpress print it for you.  

Linda also ordered a set of matching thank you notes and envelopes to use after her wedding at the same time that she ordered her gorgeous menus.  

The thank you notes were a 4bar size, folded, printed in one ink color on Crane Lettra Pearl White Paper and came with a corresponding green 4bar envelope from Green Paper Company.  We used the same bird and scroll motifs from the rest of the stationery for these cards as well as the same fonts we had been using all along.  Aren't they cute?  

Congratulations and thanks again, Linda & James!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Etsy Treasury Feature: String of Crane Cards

I checked my inbox this morning to find that one of my greeting card designs is being featured in an Etsy Treasury today for The Killian Mansfield Foundation. My letterpress printed "String of Cranes" card is the left most item in the third row.  Click on the link if you want to check it out for yourself.  

Killian is a 16-year-old boy in upstate New York who is suffering from a rare form of cancer. Killian's favorite story is the Japanese tale of Sadako and her 1,000 paper cranes. If you haven't ever heard of the story, you should read more about it here. Killian is also apparently a very talented Ukulele player and you can purchase a CD of his music from the treasury by clicking on the link at the top. All of the proceeds from sales of the CD benefit his foundation.  Go check it out!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Nikki McClure

Image copyright Nikki McClure, via

Happy Friday everyone!  I just found this interview online of one of my favorite artists, Nikki McClure.  Nikki lives and works in Olympia, Washington and is best know for her painstakingly intricate paper-cuts.  Nikki uses an exacto knife and a single sheet of paper to cut out complex images that speak to ideas of motherhood, nature and activism.  I know she's also done some mixed media work with letterpress as well.  The video interview below totally speaks to many of the reasons why I enjoy being an artist myself and to why I love living in the Pacific Northwest.  Anyway, if you aren't already familiar with her work, you ought to check out the video below, as well as her website.  Have a fantastic weekend!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Katie & Matt are Married!

Photo Courtesy of Bishop Photography

Earlier this year I letterpress printed a really sweet set of wedding stationery for a really sweet bride-to-be in Baltimore named Katie. Katie works for Baltimore Magazine and contacted me about printing a really fun set of wedding invitations that she had designed herself for her then-upcoming June 27, 2009 wedding. Katie recently got back in touch with me about potentially printing some wedding stationery for one of her friends and at the same time sent me some totally fun photos from her wedding in June. Since I hadn't had a chance to blog about Katie's wonderful paper goods, I thought this would be a fabulous opportunity to not only show off her stationery, but also show off a few photos from her wedding.

The photo at the top of this post as well as the next two are photos Katie sent me from her wedding. I love the shot on the steps of them with their wedding party in the background and I LOVE the shot on the park bench where you can see Katie's orange heels.

Photos Courtesy of Bishop Photography

Don't Katie and Matt just seem like one of the cutest couples you've ever seen? Anyway, on to the stationery!

Like I mentioned previously, Katie designed the invitations for her wedding herself and hired Twin Ravens Press to print them. Katie and Matt's suite included the invitation and corresponding envelope, a reply card with corresponding envelope, a reception card and a lovely hand-drawn map card. You can see an image of the whole suite above. Katie's colors were navy blue, orange and chartreuse and I absolutely love the way she managed to incorporate all three into the suite! Here is an image of Katie & Matt's invite and invite envelope separately:

All of the pieces in Katie and Matt's suite were letterpress printed on Crane Lettra 100% cotton paper in their Pearl White color. The invitation envelope was also Crane Lettra Pearl White and featured a pointed flap with their return address printed in navy blue ink. I love what Katie came up with for her invitation! Rather than spending extra money on printing multiple ink colors for her pieces, Katie used a different color from her wedding palette for each piece. In order to make the invitation stand out a little more from the others, she had us matt the invitations onto navy blue card stock, leaving a 1/4" border, and then she secured an orange ribbon around the middle of the invite, with the ends being hidden by the card stock matt. I love the way the ribbon creates a natural visual separation between the actual invitation portion of the text and the text that explains where the event was taking place. I also love how the ribbon added an extra "splash" of color and texture to the piece without adding additional costs to their printing. Here is a closer look at the invite and a detail of the printing with their names and the ribbon:

Another thing I absolutely love about Katie and Matt's invitation is the fun mix of script and roman fonts that Katie chose to use in the design. She also created a simple and playful, but elegant, monogram of her and Matt's initials that was featured at the top of the design. Below is a detail of it. The letterpress impression turned out fabulous!

Since Katie and Matt's wedding was held in a church and their reception was being held in a different location (The Baltimore Museum of Art), Katie designed a separate reception card to include in the suite. The reception card was also printed on Crane Lettra and this time we used orange ink to coordinate with the ribbon from her invites.

Katie's reply card was also printed in another ink color. In order to incorporate all three of her wedding colors, it was printed in chartreuse! Again Katie did an excellent job coordinating all of the pieces by keeping the "look", fonts and layouts fairly consistent while switching up the colors on the different pieces. Here is the reply card by itself:

Katie's reply card (as well as her reception and map card) was a 4bar size and came with a coordinating 4bar envelope from Waste Not Paper Company. The reply envelope was a light blue color with a European pointed flap and we letterpress printed the address on the front of it in navy blue ink. Here are the reply card and reply card envelope together:

The last (but certainly not least!) piece in Katie and Matt's suite was their map card. Over the last few years I've seen and done map cards several different ways. Some map cards for weddings have a map and directions, some just have written directions with no map and others just have the visual map. Katie's map card didn't feature any written directions, however, the drawing was so self-explanatory and, needless to say, absolutely adorable, that I don't think anyone could have gotten lost. Katie drew the map herself and I letterpress printed it in navy ink.

Isn't it sweet?!? Katie and Matt were one of the sweetest and from the looks of it, cutest, couples I got to work with this spring. I'm very excited to potentially be working with Katie again on some stationery for one of her friend's upcoming weddings. I'm also very excited that she let me share some of her wedding photos and photos of her stationery with you! Everything turned out fabulously and I wish them all the best!

Congratulations Katie & Matt!