All posts in category client projects
Commissioned work from our awesome clients
This year has seen many specialty prints in the studio, including ketubahs, or Jewish marriage certificates, and this was one of our favorites. Michelle and John wanted something that was very typographic for their ketubah, and if it could reference their location and love of the ocean, all the better. Here’s the final piece:
The very pale clouds were printed with a hand carved linoleum cut and add just a soft touch of sky behind the text.
The form for this piece was particularly impressive. Their names and the ampersand are wood, while the rest is metal, with a hint of deco to it. Force justified type presents a few challenges, given that the spacing has to be done by hand. There are hundreds of little brass and copper thin spaces in between most of the letters in this form.
Cityscapes are always fun, and San Francisco is no exception. We’ve had a little experience with the Golden Gate Bridge, so it was a bit easier this time around. The city and text are printed in steel gray, with a red that mimics the bridge alongside the pale blue sky and ocean.
Congrats to Michelle and John! Enjoy your new life together in your beautiful city.
Posted by Jen Starshaped on May 7, 2013
Every once in a while, the stars align and we can sneak jobs on press during our busiest times. I was recently contacted by Sarah McGuire, a local jewelry artist, about her upcoming 10th anniversary open house, with the hope that we could come up with a great invitation in a short period of time. Yes! Here’s what we did, photographed with one of Sarah’s lovely necklaces.
Sarah wanted a broadside-styled card with blocky, simple typefaces in various sizes, and definitely printed in silver.
This is the form, showing the combination of metal type, wood type and rules (used for printing lines).
Here’s the form in the press, inked and ready to go.
After the basic setup, I’ve found that large wood type often doesn’t print as well combined with small type on a platen press. I took out the larger wood elements and filled them with spacing (called furniture) in order to run the small type first. After that, I put the wood back in and replaced the metal type with furniture. Two runs for one color seems like a pain, but the result is that much better and two runs on the platen are still faster than one on the Vandercook, where everything could be printed at the same time.
Here’s the studio address, in our own lovely Ravenswood neighborhood! We will be celebrating with Sarah in her lovely new space on April 26th, and hope to see you there, too.
Posted by Jen Starshaped on April 9, 2013
Back in November of 2012, I had the pleasure of meeting Dennis Gilliam at the Hamilton Wood Type Wayzgoose. As someone with a past in typographic arts, we had a lot in common when it came to our passion for antique type and typesetting. Apparently, I ‘won him over’ with Starshaped’s commitment to only producing work with metal and wood type, and after traveling home to Portland after the ‘Goose, he contacted me about creating calling cards for both himself and his wife. For his own card, he pulled heavily from the silent film/ragtime-inspired print in our self promotional packet and pieced together what he thought would look great on the card.
Here’s a shot of the form. It has a combination of mortised multi-line rules around the name, and a tricky set of rules to create a box around the main text.
And here’s the final card:
And since we were already working on one card, Dennis also ordered cards for his wife, an avid bonsai tree admirer. They provided this image, which I cleaned up to make into a magnesium plate and then combined with type. These are printed on 100% recycled stock.
One of great perks of collaborating with Dennis? He’s currently working with the fabulous Bob’s Red Mill and sent coupons for their fabulous products! Granola? Flour for cookies or cakes? Any which way, the studio will be stacked with delicious treats.
Posted by Jen Starshaped on January 25, 2013
Like Marissa and Ned, Sarv and Graig were keen on wedding invitations that would resemble mini posters and they had great inspiration in the form of this vintage book cover:
Given that letterpress printing doesn’t have the opaque vibrancy of screen printing, we ran a few tests to see if we could successfully achieve two light colors on dark blue paper and were happy with the result; the colors were muted in a faded, old fashioned way. We decided on creating a piece that was 7×10″, so that it would fold to 5×7″ and mail in a standard A7 envelope. The image worked perfectly as a two-color linoleum cut after a little adjustment to the overall size and placement:
The type is set in a mix of deco-meets-nouveau styles to pull the overall design into a more cohesive and streamlined form. It is printed in gold to pop out from the navy paper. The typesetting was very particular to achieve a subtle curve along the artwork.
I loved having an opportunity to use our DeVinne type for their names; it’s a lovely and quirky typeface from the turn of the century that sadly doesn’t get enough play in the studio.
The invitation folds in half, and on the front panel (what you see when you pull it out of the envelope) is a snippet of the overall artwork with their initials rendered in our mortised initial caps and an ampersand from the 19th century typeface, Dakota.
The envelopes are sour apple green, and the reply cards are pale yellow to give a little pop to the color palette. We continued the abridged image on the envelopes in gold (the return address is on the back flap) and carried through the multiple typefaces on the reply.
Here’s a shot of the final suite. I intentionally did not score a few so that Sarv and Graig would have some unfolded ones as keepsakes or to frame.
Posted by Jen Starshaped on January 10, 2013
We’ve had a number of interesting projects this Fall, and this was a favorite. We were approached by Abe’s Peanut, a postcard subscription series for children, about creating a set of cards. There are four cards in a series, and each has one part of a story that is completed when all four cards are received (one a week). Illustrators are teamed up with writers to create stories and images to engage children and excite them about getting their own special mail.
Fortunately, I was able to work with one of my favorite writers, Julia Bryan, to put together a lovely little story about a girl, Daisy, growing up in a city and wishing for a tiny garden. She works with her parents to create a plot by their chain link fence, and to order seeds to be planted. She watches as the seasons change from winter to spring to the wonderful summer harvest. The cards were printed as one piece in seven colors and then trimmed.
The seasons and representation of the chain link fence were printed first in a very pale gray. The fence is a pressure print; it is created by printing a solid object (in this case, a piece of linoleum) over a texture added to the press behind the paper being printed:
You can see the ghost of the texture left behind on the linoleum:
After the first color, a carved linoleum cut was printed in pale aqua to add ‘weather’ to each of the seasons.
These runs were printed on a Vandercook press. For the details, it was easier to switch to the platen presses. All of the plants, seed packets, dirt and leaves were printed with ornaments, both wood and metal. This required a little careful planning to place everything in the right area to come together and make sense as a representational garden.
Love that little moon! The cards build layers of color as the seasons progress. From the little seed packets come eggplants, cucumbers, tomatoes and pumpkins, which carry into the fall.
The back side of each card is the same overall layout, with just the story changing from season to season. Hopefully the kids receiving the cards enjoy the imagery and story as much as we did while creating it.
Posted by Jen Starshaped on November 28, 2012
It’s not every day that I get excited to print flowers, and our wedding invitation collections are decidedly devoid of them. But when Emily approached me about working from vintage Wizard of Oz book designs, these ones fell into place:
The flowers are actually from a border known as Wild Rose, which was originally produced by the Keystone Type Foundry around 1903. The studio has the two color variety, meaning that there are two sets of sorts, one for each color, in this case gold and warm red. With the success of the save the date cards, we moved on to the invitations. We tried options using the ornaments as is, and then considered enlarging the pattern to see how that would look. I would carve the two color image out of linoleum to give the invites a block printed feel.
The first set of linocuts went well, until I realized the trapping between the gold and red was sloppy. I carved the red color again to match it better, using a proof of the gold color as a stencil for this second set.
Then they were set to go, as was the type, a considerably simpler forme for us this time around!
Here is the final set, continuing the theme of warm red, gold and muted blue. The type is Canterbury, Della Robbia and Caslon.
Congrats to Emily and Frank, and a big thanks for being open to experimenting with our vintage type and linoleum cutting!
Posted by Jen Starshaped on September 27, 2012
We’ve been printing a number of posters and large prints lately, many celebrating weddings and anniversaries in a novel way. This poster invitation for Orin and Cliff is no exception. They were looking for a colorful poster to share with their friends and family announcing their upcoming wedding. This one features a few sweet elements to give it a breezy, vintage Florida feel. The little 8 pointed stars are actually new wood ornaments from Moore Wood Type, and it’s such a delight to get brand new wood type! The large yellow block around their names is a linoleum cut, purposefully offset a bit to make the names pop. The ampersand is printed in the blue color, but is transparent enough to look green and create other shapes and colors via overprinting.
Orin and Cliff also liked many of the cityscapes we create, so the poster features a little section of Jacksonville, complete with a water line and sun-like ornament. And surely the wedding will be just as bright and sunny!
Posted by Jen Starshaped on July 26, 2012
Stephanie and I met at IndieWed back in January, and she was instantly smitten with our Wanted! Wedding Collection. She loved the idea of the 3-panel, accordion fold style, so that their names could be large and the details could be on the second panel. We looked at a number of color options, but greens seemed to stick, so we went with a dark chartreuse and warm gray on textured off white card stock. Gotta love the ‘messiness’ in this wood type!
These little fan-like ornaments used throughout are new to the studio. They were a recent purchase from Skyline Type Foundry and have already put in appearances on a number of projects.
More little ornaments from the same Skyline collection. The more type the merrier… and check out the shading on ‘DINNER’. Can’t get that detail in magnesium or polymer plates.
And it’s finished out with a mad libs-style perforated reply postcard.
While working on the invites, we also put together some fun flat cards to be used as thank you notes and anything else the couple might need them for. And because Keith goes by both Conley and, ahem, Keith, we put their first and middle names on the cards. These use some of our tiniest wood type, which is just shy of an inch.
We had such a good time with the invites and note cards, Keith wanted to do a run of rehearsal dinner invitations as well. These could be more playful and definitely push the Wild West theme (unfortunately we didn’t have any small gun ornaments as requested, but did have some pretty awesome manicules, or little hands).
There’s a lot of heavy forced justification in this layout, which is a great way to tie together disparate typefaces. And the diamond shaped linotype slugs were found at the always great Platen Press Museum type sale back in May. The pointers next to ‘given by’ are over 100 years old, and were made right here in Chicago.
To stand out from the invite, we printed on kraft stock and worked in brick colored envelopes. What’s really WANTED! in this picture? The chance to work with Stephanie & Keith again!
Posted by Jen Starshaped on July 10, 2012
Charlotte came to me with a request for a customized poster that she wanted to give to her fiance on their wedding day. Her ideas were all fabulous, and text rich, which makes for challenging experiments with type. Having lived in Nashville and being huge live music fans (Alex proposed while attending a show), she wanted something reminiscent of Hatch Show Print, but with a more urban, Chicago-y feel, given that this is now their home. We decided to go large with a poster that would be 14×18″, with bright colors that would match their home.
Here are a few shots of the form I put together. With a few tweaks, it was ready to print!
And here’s the final print, done in three colors. The teal and bright red overlap on their names to make them pop. Little Stella is their sidekick dog.
Conveniently, this little Chicago cityscape existed in the studio collection, along with the Chicago stars and music notes.
Charlotte and Alex have lived in numerous places, many of which are listed in the style of concert tour locations. They enjoyed a lovely trip to Europe, which shows up here as a ‘multi-city European tour’.
Congrats to both! If the marriage is half as fun and entertaining as this poster was to print, it’s made to last.
Posted by Jen Starshaped on July 2, 2012