Posts tagged printing
What to Listen to While Printing

Doing a long print run is inherently repetitive. Having something great to listen to is a must.

Sam, one of our lovely summer interns, recently asked me what podcasts I listen to. And because i'm crazy pants, I decided to blog about it instead of just tell her. So, here is my "what to listen to while printing" list for summer 2013:

This American Life: Storytelling Radiolab: Science-y storytelling 99% Invisible: Design-y storytelling Nerdist: Nerdy interviews with interesting creative people

Audible: Audiobooks I recently listened to Bossypants by Tina Fey and it was amazing. Must be listened to on audiobook for sure.

Rdio: Music & Comedy I love Rdio's new stations feature! I also love Demetri Martin & the Newsies musical. And making playlists.

We have a Sonos wireless speaker, and really love it. It streams Rdio, Pandora, etc., etc. and it's really handy.

There you have it. What are you listening to right now?

The Letterpress Printing Process: Sean & Emily

Hello friends!  I recently had an out-of-town bride ask for photos of the printing process, and I was glad to oblige. So I grabbed my camera and took a photo of each step of the process.

This is a rather detailed look at how we produce our client projects. Feel free to comment with your questions. I'd love to answer them!

1) Design the invitation suite digitally in Adobe Illustrator. (The design process has several more steps, but we'll save that for another day.)


2) Prepare the finished design as a pdf to send out for photopolymer printing plates to be made at Boxcar Press. This is also when we order the paper, envelopes, etc. that the client has chosen.


3) When the plates arrive, carefully cut them apart into the appropriate sections.


4) Rev up the paper cutter (just kidding, it's manual) and cut down the parent sized sheets to the sizes required. This lovely gray paper is Magnani Pescia, an insanely beautiful 100% cotton paper made in Italy.


5) Mix ink to the client's chosen Pantone colors. (We send out Pantone chips, paper samples and envelope samples to the client for final choices before placing orders.)


Hello Josephine!


6) Ink up the press.


My drawer of printing tools and supplies.


7) Grab the tape! (This cool trick is something I learned from the great Chandler O'Leary.) Measure the design and place the plate in the appropriate position with tape. Place the sheet of paper with the plate taped to it on the guide pins (the little doo-dads that hold the paper in place), and carefully close the press on the printing plate.


The plate will be in approximately the right place! Cool, huh?


8 ) Make the first print.


9) Measure the margins of the piece, and move the guide pins incrementally until the design is straight, centered, and looks correct.


10) Print the first color of the run!


11) Stack those babies! We use a rubber based ink that soaks into the paper, making the pieces able to be stacked right away. This repurposed library cart is my favorite thing.


12) Clean the press.


13) Repeat steps 6-12 for the rest of the colors & pieces!


Measurements & notes


Back to the tape trick


First color on the RSVP card


Stack of "make ready" - the paper used to get the measurements, inking, color, etc. correct before printing the run


The finished invitation suite! Ta da!

Vintage Finds: 'Prentice Rubber Type Set

While in Michigan last month, Brad and I picked up this 'Prentice Rubber Type Set at an antique store. As you see, at one point it cost 35 cents - we paid more than that, but not a whole lot more!

The antique stores in Michigan had totally different pricing than we're used to. Certain items (furniture, glassware, etc.) were priced quite high, but ephemera-type items (books, paper goods, and this beauty) were priced much lower than what you'd find in Seattle. (It was good news for us, of course!) I was so excited when we found this, and i'm thrilled to share it with you now!


This boxed set is designed as a child's educational toy, teaching the principals of setting type by hand. (Early in the 1900's this would have been a valuable life skill!) The set includes a full rubber alphabet (with extras), a wooden piece (for setting the type within and using at the stamp handle), an ink pad (with a rad lion on it), a pair of tiny tweezers, a tiny pad of paper, and a sheet of instructions. It's in perfect shape - the type has never been used, so it's not inky and dirty like most of the sets I found online. And the box itself is really lovely - bright colors and a lovely illustration. It's got a place of honor on our studio shelves right now.


This adorable toy is the "Superior Set No. 4000" made by the Superior Marking Equipment Co. (or SMECo.) in Chicago, Illinois. I haven't been able to find a ton of info about the set, but this site suggests it's from the 20's or 30's. Apparently SMECo. made toy printing presses as well, which I found slightly more info on. (You can check them out here and here.) My dad picked a similar toy press up at an antique store last year, and has been looking for the rest of the pieces ever since. I've yet to check if these pieces would work, but be assured - we'll try it!


The instruction page reads:

Decide what you want to print first- for example, your name and address. Then break the rubber threads from the first letter of your name and insert the piece of type at the RIGHT side of the top line of your holder. Set the next letter to the left and so on, until the first name is complete. Then put in a piece of blank rubber called a "spacer" to keep the words from running together. Continue on with your last name. When your line is set, look at it to make sure that each letter has the margin of blank rubber (called a shoulder) at the bottom. If it is at the top, you have set the letter upside down. To print, tap the set-up holder carefully on the ink pad several times, then press it firmly on the top sheet of a stack of paper or cards. Presto! You're a printer.