Archive for the ‘Letterpress’ Category

Save That Date

Here is a Save The Date card hot off the press. See the full post at our new blog address – www.normansprinteryblog.com

We will be phasing this blog out since we have moved to our new address, if your subscribed via our RSS feed you should change over to our new blog.

See at the new site!

– Cliff at Norman’s Printery

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Especially when created for one of the most respected graphic designers alive.

Recently we had the privilege of printing invitations to the iconic designer, Massimo Vignelli’s, surprise birthday party. He turned 80 this year! The design is not unexpected, grid based, Helvetica in black and red letterpress, perfectly simple. The finished invite was mounted on 2 layers of museum board, the thing is stiff as a piece of plywood. We do a lot of interesting work, but this was an extremely special and unique piece which we are proud to have printed.

Read the New York Times article on the party and see photos here .

– Cliff at Norman’s Printery

P.S. Just to be clear, we did not design this piece. We did the letterpress and mounting work.

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This is a new years card we sent out at the beginning of the year. It’s printed in a warm gray with a blind (no ink) hit. Always a classy combination!
Hope everyone has had a great start to the new year.

– Cliff at Norman’s Printery

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Here’s the very first calendar of the year!
It’s one color letterpress, with a copper foil stamp. The foil is really lovely with the paper texture coming through. These where done on Neenah Sundance 110# Cover.

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season. We’re looking forward to another year of bringing your work to life.

Cliff at Norman’s Printery

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Here is a 2 color letterpress business card we just ran for The Finishing Touch. The fronts and the back where printed separately, then glued together to make a heavier card. A very nice touch. The paper is Lettra Pearl 110#, which makes the card 220#.

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Here is an envelope lining + stationery job we just finished up. The orange is beautiful and quite eye-catching. I love lined envelopes, I guess most people do. It adds a wonderful touch of personalization and style. It’s those little details that make a huge impact on a finished piece. The note card is one color letterpress on Strathmore Writing Wove Natural 80# Bristol.

As always feel free to contact us for any info you might need on an upcoming job. We’re always happy to help make your work come to life.

– Cliff

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Yes, November is about to grace us in all her glory. This month we went with 2 colors and 1 blind de-boss, all letterpressed. It was printed on Neenah Sundance Felt 100lb, quite a handsome sheet. Way back in April we posted a fairly in-depth look at what it takes to make one of our promotional calendars. This month we’ll do something similar. I’d like to show what we’ve found to work well on the design and prepress end. Designing for letterpress has it’s own unique needs, so lets take a look at what it took to make our November calendar.

Books of Clipart

The art on the November calendar was scanned from an old clipart book. We have a fairly large collection of old and new clipart books. These are a great resource. Sure, there is a lot of junk out there, but poke around a bit on amazon and your local book shop, you should be able to pick out the good ones. Dover is a major publisher of clip art, so you can start there. Now some new books will include CDs, this is a big help but not absolutely necessary. Some amazing art is found in books which were published way before CDs where even invented. If you don’t have a CD you’ll have to scan the image. A standard flatbed scanner can do the trick. We like to scan all our images at 1200 dpi, this may seem high bit it really helps hold edge detail. Save the scanned image as a TIFF file if possible

Good Detail

Not Good Detail

An important note (which you may or may not be awe of), when looking for art try to find black and white images with clean crisp edges. Avoid extremely fine detail as well.

After scanning I then take the image into Photoshop to do a few small but helpful tweaks. First I’ll pull up the Levels panel – Image>Adjustments>Levels OR cmd+L on a mac. What I’m trying to do is make my highlights (background) pure white, and my blacks (foreground) deep black. So pull the slider on the left, which controls the darks, toward the right. You will see your blacks start to darken and thicken up, you don’t want to go to far, just enough to add some punch. Now bring the slider on the right toward the left. You will see the background white start to lighten. This is a good thing. Next I’ll take a white brush and brush out any specks I don’t want to print. There are usually at least a few. Use a brush with the edge hardness set to 100%, you don’t want fuzziness. Remember, the idea is to get as crisp an image as possible. Lastly I’ll convert the image to bitmap mode. This insures there are no grey areas to mess up my final plate. You’ll have to convert to Greyscale fist. So it will go Image>Mode>Greyscale, then Image>Mode>Bitmap. On the Bitmap window keep the resolution at 1200, and in Method select 50% threshold.

I then save this as a Photoshop file and open it in Illustrator. A few versions ago Adobe added a a feature called Live Trace. For a well scanned and prepared image this is an amazing feature. Once the image is in Illustrator select it and click Live Trace, then Expand. If you get a multi-colored image or very unexpected results (as in not what the image should look like) go back and check your Live Trace settings. You should get a clean, crisp, printable vector image. Neat. The reason I like to convert to a Vector Image is that I can now change pantone colors on the fly in Illustrator or Indesign. It also insures the edges of the art are perfectly sharp, which for letterpress is a must.

Scanned Art in PS

Drag Sliders In

After Live Trace

Final Layout

These are just a few things to help when designing for letterpress. Maybe you have other techniques to design, if so feel free to share them in the comments. Also if you have questions please ask in the comments as well.

PRODUCTION NOTE: The brown in these files was printed in a maroon on press, as seen in the photos. Just in case you were wondering. I hope this helps. As always thanks for checking out what we’ve been up to. If you are a designer and would like to be on our calendar mailing list get in touch. Just get us your name, address, and website.

Best to you this blessed season,

Cliff at Norman’s Printery

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