Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas Cards: Behind The Scenes

Hey! Did you find this site because you just happened to get a really cool handmade Christmas card this year? If so, you might be wondering how that thing was made. You might be wondering, what exactly is a letterpress, and why would you not just use a computer? Wouldn't that be way easier?

First I chose the wood type and arranged it in the tray (backwards of course), using bits of metal spacing to create a nice even layout. Next, I mixed up some red ink and used a small brayer to apply the ink to the type lock-up. The type is packed tightly and secured with magnets.

Then I put the paper in place and ran it through the press. Most of these cards went through the press 3 times. If you happened to get the "Christmas time in the city" card, it went through the press twice. That one was made from a linocut I did that took about 4 days to cut out with carving tools (see below). And that one had a line of hand set metal type, which accounted for the second run through on the press. 

And yes, it would have been way easier to make a Christmas card on the computer. Too easy, in fact. But there's just something inexplicably cool about handmade items, something that didn't take an hour to make, but rather was created by a long process. A long process involving sharp tools and really cool old machines. 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Good Design: Let There Be Light

Let There Be Light is one poster in a series of seven. The series acts as advertisement for Gruppo Cordenons Paper, an Italian paper manufacturer. Since the client is selling specialty paper, I feel this design was an excellent choice to show off the product. It was put to use in the best way possible, with prints of beautifully engraved hand lettering.

The text on the posters comes from the first chapter of Genesis, which is all about the creation, therefore suggesting the infinite possibilities to create using this product. This particular print is on Moondream, a paper that becomes transparent when it is heat stamped. The type is custom hand lettering, combined with the typefaces Escorial and Brothers. Of course I love all types of hand lettering, and I also really enjoyed seeing it in its engraved form and pressed into quality paper.

Kevin Cantrell, art director at Hint Creative, was the designer behind this poster series. In an interview with Communication Arts from December 3, he discussed this project explaining his inspiration, “I have a love for the Bible, particularly the language of the King James Version.”  He said he liked that this project allowed him to create something with meaning and value, and along the way he “learned that if you follow your passions, they light the way through doubt and uncertainty.” The posters were produced with the help of Gottschall Engraving. You can even buy the metal die plate for $1200.