Custom Monogram in Santa Fe

Ah, the blind-pressed monogram. Hard to go wrong when you use a lightly tinted white ink with a deep impression on thick cotton paper.

We carried the variations of the monogram through to each piece — an accommodations card with a tear-off reply card, a menu, table numbers with a blind chevron pattern and inkjet numbers, and programs with silver ink on navy cotton paper.

Most letterpress inks are transparent, so we can't print light ink on dark paper. But silver is an exception — it's about 75% opaque. Not quite as opaque as foil, but not as pricey either.

Photos by Sarah Arneson

Botanical Postcards

This two-sided client-designed save the date postcard combines light warm gray letterpress ink for the front with flat inkjet printing on the back.

The botanical image has wonderful ornate detail while the R+B monogram on the back is simple and clean. The two styles work beautifully together.

When printing two-sided, we can use letterpress for both, but it's sometimes nice to flat print one of the sides like we've done here. That way the impression from one side doesn't interfere with the impression from the other.

Lavender & Mint in Scappoose

Here's a lovely wedding set for Parklife's favorite brother and his favorite new wife. For the save the date we used two custom inks on thick 600g ecru paper.

For the invitations, we carried through the same inks, paper, along with a few variations on the Gotham typeface.

On the back of the invitation we added a hand-duplexed backing that's letterpress printed with a tonal ink and a fine halftone screen. The image is adapted from an early nineteenth century drawing of Portland.

Photos by Sarah Arneson

Growing Businesses, One Card at a Time

You know how sometimes you have to move thousands of pounds of antique machinery from one edge of the country to another, and then get it all set up properly so you can keep your business running? Wait, you don't? Ah ... count yourself lucky. Parklife Press moved from lovely North Carolina to beautiful Portland, Oregon this summer, and setting up the new studio was a f… a fun opportunity for greatness! And truly, it turned out great. But it was a challenge. And you know who you need in your corner when facing challenging situations? (Especially ones which involve basic elemental needs like heat, power, and protection from the elements?) Talented professionals. You know it ... here begins a good old-fashioned business card round-up!

We did these cards as thank yous for the electrician and contractor who renovated the new studio. They were great to work with. They kept us dry, and (seasonally) warm or cool.

Each card has tiny graphic representations on blind deboss (ink-free) impressions — hammers for the contractor and electric bolts for the electrician. It was fun to get to work with these fellow craftsmen and small-business owners.

Speaking of growing a business: cards we did for Grow. These involved three custom letterpress inks on the front, offset flood and one letterpress ink on the back. They were hand-duplexed (two different paper stocks glued together) and edge-painted in a corresponding brick-colored ink. That sounds like a lot of press runs, right? Three runs just to make one side of this card! Oh, and, we did cards for 28 employees. Nothing says "we're glad you work here" than the boss handing an employee a box of beautiful, hand-crafted letterpress business cards.

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Some detail shots are below. Check out Grow's subtle plant motif in black-on-black.

Listen, we're a bit late on giving thanks on this blog, but we figure gratitude shouldn't be limited to one month of the year. So to our new neighbors, fellow business owners, new clients and old: we are thankful for you. Thank you for your business, and for helping us (directly or indirectly) fix the roof over our heads and the electrical outlets for our presses. Wishing you and yours a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.

Photos by Sarah McCarty Arneson

Branding is Key

While business cards are a great vehicle for letterpress printing, we can't forget everyday business stationery. We had worked with Van Fletcher on a few projects, so we were happy to be able to help build his brand further with some new pieces. This time it was a flexible stationery set — a two-ink 120g "mini letterhead" (also known as note paper size; it's smaller than a full size sheet and folds in half to fit in envelope); a more stripped-down 300g note card; and a two-color envelope to house either piece.

This set is quite flexible — the more formal sheet bearing the full logo and listing multiple modes of contact, and a less formal card. The card is still "branded" with the key motif, but name and contact details are left off; it's perfect for notes to existing clients and associates. Note that the more minimalist note card is not without contact information: Van Fletcher's website is imprinted, subtly and without ink, at the card's base.

Photos by Sarah McCarty Arneson

Shades of Blush

David and Allyson's invitation set was based on Petal, which features an original illustration by Parklife Press. The text, set in all-caps Gill Sans, is set off by the lightly-flourished script of their names. The asymmetry of the single, flowering branch — printed in tungsten and blush inks — provides a fresh and cheerful balance to the clean and modern design.

The branch design from the invitation was carried through on the RSVP card.

Letterpress is typically created with solid areas of ink impressions using individual, premixed colors. But here, by using halftone screens (read our post about letterpress and the halftone process here), three shades of pink were achieved using only one ink. This branch of blooming buds would still be pretty with solid, 100%-strength blush ink, but the design would lack depth; it wouldn't be as delicate, or as interesting.

Pastoral Elegance

Alan and Keith were getting married on their farm in Virginia and wanted to balance the solemnity of the event with the rustic quality of the setting. The grooms-to-be had created an online video save-the-date for their guests, but for the invitations, they decided that letterpress would help underscore the formality of the occasion.

The invitation, according to Alan, had to convey several things at once to set the tone: a sense of formality (despite the fact that the reception was to be held in a barn, it was not going to be a casual event); the fact that the ceremony itself was going to be quite traditional; and the occasion's overall blend of elegance and rusticity. In his words, "we needed an invitation that tempered the formal and traditional with some sort of country element."

They felt the Californian design was almost  there, but wanted to use a different oak tree image. The oak was their chosen motif, partly for symbolic reasons — the mighty, strong, sheltering, beautiful oak is an apt metaphor for a lifelong commitment — but it held literal meaning, as well. The couple planted a pair of young oaks on their farm, and are planning to watch them grow old together. As Alan said, "we hope we can look back on them one day and say, 'those were planted the year we got married.' "

Photos by Sarah McCarty Arneson