PDX Sports Fan Letterpress Coasters

Looking for the perfect gift for your beverage-sipping Portland sports fan friend? Well shoot, these aren't for sale. But if they were, they'd be perfect... if not a little pricey.

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We printed the Timbers side with two inks on 300g Fluorescent White Lettra. On the opposite side, we printed a modified Trail Blazers logo with silver and red inks on ridiculously thick 4-ply rich black museum board. Then we duplexed the two sheets by hand and die cut them to 4 inch 80pt thick circles.

Silver is one of the few letterpress inks that's opaque; most non-metallics are transparent. So we printed the full Blazer logo in silver to create a light-colored base, then printed red ink on top of the silver for half of the logo. If we'd just printed red on black, the color would be completely lost.

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

Perforation Perfection

This was a really fun set. Designed by graphic designer (and groom) Derek Howles — who, incidentally, also designs these super-cool cartography poster prints — it was interesting and unconventional. And art-y! Which is fitting, since they got married at the North Carolina Museum of Art. The set was comprised of a save the date card and a combination invitation/tear-off RSVP.

First, the save the date card. The who, where and when details have the blind-deboss look, but they were actually printed with a tinted white ink. This method gives a slightly deeper look to the impression, and sets the text off a bit more than just making an impression alone. The playful pink wording puts the stats in conversational context, and the text concludes with a URL for more information.

The invitation followed the same format: large, white-tinted block text for the event's pertinent details, and tiny pops of pink filling in the rest of the words. The unconventional style is carried through to the RSVP's wording, with the options "Can't wait to be there!" or "Won't be able to make it."

The extra heavy paper stock is a great showcase for the dramatic edge painting, which ties together the set's color palette. The thick stock also helps the perforation stability — the RSVP card easily separates from the invitation for return mailing.

Photos by Sarah Arneson

Timeless Black on White

Michelle and Stephen weren't familiar with letterpress when they began planning their black tie wedding, but a love of elegant invitations had been instilled in Michelle an early age. Her grandmother used to frame beautiful invitations she received, and Michelle had always admired those with simple black calligraphy on a white note card. Parklife's Vignette fit that vision perfectly: striking black ink against bright white paper, set off and framed with a blind deboss border.

The script font had a few flourishes, with one particularly unusual and interesting one: the ligtature connecting the cursive capital "S" and "p" in Stephen's name. A classic dingbat was used to add some visual interest and to separate blocks of information. It also tied all the pieces together — it was used on the invitation, the main envelope's return address, the RSVP card, and the accommodation information card.

Photos by Sarah McCarty Arneson

A Handful of New Letterpress Business Cards

We've added some great new cards to our business gallery. Take a look...

These double-sided cards for Cedarly, a media and web branding company in North Carolina, feature their logo printed with a tinted white ink. We could have just as easily blind-pressed the logo (no ink at all), but the tinted white helps it pop a bit more. This technique works beautifully with the logo's leaves and with its clean typeface, highlighting the deep impression of the thick 600g paper. On the other side of the card, the information is perked up with tiny icons in blue, which help distinguish at a glance the different methods of contact. We finished the card with painted edges, picking up the accent color.

John, the creative principle at Lake House Design Group, designed these rustic but modern cards. The logo style, the palette of the ink and paper colors, and the distressed typeface work together to evoke the familiarity and nostalgia present in the firm's name.

Matt Graif, a graphic designer in Missouri, submitted this excellent design for his business card that we printed for him on 600g fluorescent white Lettra.

This dramatic card for Eli Powell, a photographer in Boulder, Colorado, uses white space to its advantage. With the card's less-common vertical orientation and the artwork bleeding off the bottom, the design focuses squarely on the photographer's name but hints at sweeping landscapes and large, open skies. In blue ink on crisp, fluorescent white card stock, the snow-capped mountains are brought to life with just a few abstract shapes, connecting Powell to his region and to his clientele.

And finally, a card for Jean Woods Madge, a realtor at Distinctive Properties in Durham. Travis worked with her to create a new logo and a new look for her business cards, which were printed on 300g ecru white cardstock. The logo itself is distinctive and interesting, and the card layout was complete with a nice combination of script and serif typefaces.

Photos by Sarah McCarty Arneson

Durham, Via ...

Megan and Ted had a bold, simple look in mind for their invitations. Both loved the clean look of the Futura typeface, which captured the wedding's modern and traditional blend of styles. They first grabbed their guests' attention with a save the date card, featuring a custom illustration by Travis, which traced the couple's route to the altar. Working from a concept Ted sketched on a napkin, the finished artwork diagrams their two paths becoming one shared journey: beginning in L.A. and New Orleans, meeting in N.Y., moving together to Virginia and ultimately, to Durham, North Carolina.

Ted also contributed the "concert poster" concept for the save the date's text layout. They were both very involved in the design process and enjoyed the collaboration, saying that Parklife "did a fantastic job in translating the concept into something that turned out beautifully on letterpress." The invitation itself was focused on clean lines, which were further highlighted by generous white space. Interestingly, the Black and Fire Truck red inks were not their wedding colors — they just really loved how those colors, especially on the bright white paper, made the design pop.

The couple had been big fans of letterpress printing before their wedding planning began — they appreciated, in Megan's words, "the tactile experience of opening up an envelope and experiencing an invitation that not only looked beautiful but FELT beautiful, too." And they valued what she described as "the permanence that letterpress represents. Even if the ink fades, the invite is still permanently there. It's a neat metaphor to accompany a wedding invite."

Photos by Sarah McCarty Arneson

Minimalist in Long Island City

After seeing the Parker invitation design featured in Martha Stewart Weddings, Liz and Adriel were drawn to the classic look of the invitation. They knew they wanted letterpress invitations; in Liz's words, they were "choosing to send physical invitations in a digital world," so the texture of the imprinted text and the feel of the paper was critical to their selection.

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The couple chose a minimalist response card so that guests could add personal notes and unique replies. They received lovely good wishes, drawings and jokes from loved ones; the response cards became keepsakes. They personalized the design of the invitation by adding their names in Hebrew (offset from the main text in Dust ink). The invitations were edged in Grass and the envelopes were lined with a matching metallic paper. The green and white matched their wedding colors and flowers. Finally, the couple ordered simple, elegant cards to be used as thank you notes after the wedding.

Photos by Sarah McCarty Arneson