Monday, November 21, 2011

A Stationery "Shell Design".

The idea here is to produce a nice looking 'shell' into which I can handset a Scripture verse.  The cut itself dates back to the 1890s, and was originally a wood-cut used by a Parisian printing company, Deberney et Cie.  The stock used is Crane Lettera and Neenha Classic Laid cover.  These are A2 broadfold cards, and will include a matching envelope.  

I have several fonts of foundry type, my 'house font' being Caslon Old Style No. 337, which is also used at Colonial Williamsburg, cast by the same founders, M&H and Quaker City.  My titling fonts are Frederick Goudy's floral caps, and Chaucerian Blackletter.  I am not sure as yet what colours to use for the verse, or if the title cap should be a different colour from the body.  Since we are going into the Holiday Season, I chose a deep green for the shell, the type will probably be black with a crimson opening capitol using on of my titling fonts.  [Cindy, my designer wife's opinion: Don't go with red, it will be too, well, . . . gawdy. Stick with black text. Hall & Sellers would have.]

Here is a close-up of part of the design.  Note the very defined hatching in the shaded areas.  These very fine lines require the rollers of the press to just touch the die face, or else the ink can gather between the lines, which greatly muddies the image.  Naturally, Lettera responded well with a nice deboss. 

Here is a card right off the press.  Before it gets scored and folded, the Scripture verse and Cap will be added.  At this point, these cards will be Christmas gifts for family and personal gifts for friends.  After the first of the year, I should be offering this as a product for general sale as both personalized stationery and stationery with pre-printed verses.  

That's it for now.  Stay tuned!

Good Providence in all your Holiday endeavors!


A Card for Heather

It's been a while since my last post.  I've been pretty busy designing and printing for the Central Florida Pregnancy Center's annual banquet.  I did take on a client in the midst of the rush, which was a "ground-up" design project.  An original design, from the ground - up.

Heather is a professional pianist, accompanist, and performer.  I mentioned my Letterpress shop to her about a month ago, and described some of the features of a business card produced by hand and by century old iron presses. She decided these were just the thing she needed.

The design itself is very simple: a top view of a grand piano, creating an interesting white on black and black on white juxtaposition.  The curve of the piano creates a classic self balancing image.  The neat thing about using Lettra is that with a little deboss, Heather's name and the piano keys "pop" up in a manner that can only be duplicated by engraving. This creates a very tactile card.  But it also creates an extremely tricky card to print.  

The image is cut to full bleed on top, side, and bottom.  The very end of the piano comes very close to a bleed.  The margin I am dealing with is from 1/32 to 1/64 of an inch.  However, hand feeding a press can often produce variances equal to these fractional margins.  Letterpress is a hand wrought process, not an automated machine process [that is, if you are hand feeding and inking your press!].  It is not unusual for an image to vary side to side ever so slightly.  Thus, cutting down these cards was a very slow process.  My 1908 Craftsman Cutter is accurate to a fault, which made things a bit easier.  I don't know what I'd do without that cutter!

The cards are fun to handle.  It's hard to resist running a thumb or finger over the piano keys!  I might expand this design by die-cutting the piano top so that it lifts up, just like a grand piano, making it possible to place information under "the lid".   That will be for another day.  Or, rather, another month!

One hundred and fifty "Piano Cards"
Thanks, Heather, for the opportunity to do something creative for ya!