Another Year Ends

So 2010 has come and is on it’s way out. All of use here at Norman’s Printery want to thank you for your interest in our work. This blog has been a joy to maintain, and I look forward to another year of great projects for you.

I’d also like to say a very big thank you to all the clients we’ve had the privilege of serving this past year. Producing your work in the finest quality possible is our honor.

We are looking forward to a new year with lots of new projects which we are very excited about. As always the blog is your one stop shop to all the latest news.

Have a blessed Holiday. Relax and enjoy time with your loved ones.

– Cliff at Norman’s Printery

The Finishing Touch

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#.

Happy December Everyone!
For this month we went with a digitally imaged Stardream piece. This paper prints so beautifully. It has that eye-catching sparkle, it even comes through the colors printed to give a wonderful shine. The specifics are as follows; Cordenons Stardream Opal 105lb. Cover, printed on a Xerox Docucolor 240.

Keep us in mind as your print resource. We’re always happy to help make your job a physical reality. As always thanks for checking in. We’ll be posting some nice new work up throughout the month, stay tuned.

-Cliff at Norman’s Printery

P.S. See larger versions of the photos on our Flickr

Here’s a screen print poster job we did recently. These are to post up around town announcing an upcoming art show here in north Jersey. As you can see there are two versions. The large, vibrant, and eye-catching poster, and the smaller more subtle version.

If your in the Bergen County area and would like more details on the event leave a comment and I’ll get back to you.

Thanks for checking in. Hope everyones November is going smooth,


Send Some Color

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

Brian & Cliff Cordes

Working the pre-press department here at Norman’s Printery is only one of my many joys. Over the past 5 or so years I’ve been increasingly engaged in analog photography. Starting with just a simple (but very beautiful) Polaroid Colorpack ii, to shooting a variety of formats, running a B&W darkroom, and studying the best practices for digital output.

Through the years the simple and instant joy of polaroid photography has never left me. These shoots where taken with a Polaroid 600 SE, a great piece of machinery. I used Fujifilm FP-3000B, it’s the old pack style peel apart film. It performs amazing in low light. I’m also a huge fan of the Impossible Project and all the good work they’ve been doing to keep instant photography alive.

I’d thought I’d bring two of my passions together to give you a look into our workspace. If your a photographer as well we’d love to see your work, leave a link in to comments.

Thanks for checking in, hoping your having an amazing and prosperous November.

Cliff at Norman’s Printery

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