Foil, Door Tags, and Alligators

It's great when we get to work with a wedding client from the very beginning – starting with the save the dates, moving on to the invitations, and then following through to the wedding day pieces. We did this for Elisa and Alexander, shifting the design vision slightly throughout the process while still maintaining a cohesive aesthetic.

For the save the date, we printed tinted white and Espresso inks on an oversized 600g Pearl White card, tucking the text in the corner and emphasizing the dandelion motif.

Photo by Sarah Arneson

Moving to the invitation set, we got a bit more elaborate and less minimalistic. The alligator-print-lined envelopes housed a gatefold card, guarded by a pair of blind-pressed gators. Inside was a 3-ink + gold foil invitation on thick Fluorescent White paper, a 2-ink + foil pre-party card, and a 2-ink reply card with a lined reply envelope.

We unfortunately don't have photos of the (awesome) programs, menus, and place cards, but we did snag a shot of these custom die-cut hanging door tags that the bride and groom gave to their guests staying at the venue.

Mid-Century Modern Floral

This lively set was based on a 60's style botanical motif printed in two shades of green. Designed by the bride (between her cake-baking sessions), the set was printed with two custom inks on 600g fluorescent white stock.

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First, a square save the date card — emphasis on the date. The playful greens grow inwards from all sides. The "save the date" is in a handwritten-style script, and the date is in large bold text.

Next, the invitation itself. The flowers and vines border the top and bottom, giving an appearance of open white space on the sides. On closer inspection, an edge of stippled dots accents the two sides, and the spaces between the flowers, creating a casual but grounded border to the artwork frame.

Finally, an information card, to answer crucial questions about accommodations, dress code, and gift registries. This piece uses only a couple of the floral elements, at top and bottom. Together, these three pieces are great example of how use of color and motif can tie together distinct pieces — each has a different layout, and all are reinforced by the common design elements.

The floral elements of the set's design bring to mind Scandinavian mid-century modern influences. And the lemongrass and avocado colors are similarly evocative of the mid 20th century. All the designs were provided to us by the client, and there are so many parts to love. So here's a collection of detail shots.

One last note, as a brief digression from the design … remember when putting your invitation together that you can say whatever you want to say. This goes especially for information cards. In addition to basic events/travel/lodging details, it's a great place to convey anything you need to the guests. If there are some conditions (a ceremony on a grass lawn, possibility of unpredictable weather, etc.) feel free to say it! Be conversational, be you. We love the way this couple addressed their invitees, and the dress code below is just one example. The warm and chatty tone made it very personal, and goes perfectly with the whimsical graphic style of the artwork.

Photos by Sarah Arneson

Letterpress Stationery for Palette & Parlor

As we were moving Parklife Press from North Carolina out to Oregon last summer, Ivy and John were bringing their Chapel Hill furniture studio into full swing. We're no longer in the same town, but that doesn't mean we can't still work together. 

We printed note cards and business cards with custom inks on 300g Fluorescent White Lettra paper with die cut corners and matching A6 envelopes.  A nice complement to P&P's simple aesthetic.

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

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