Where, o where, has July gone?

To all of my dedicated blog readers out there, I owe you an apology.  I can’t believe it’s been over a month (seriously!), since my last update and show-and-tell-ing of awesome and beautiful things.  Don’t worry, the lack of blogging hasn’t been because I haven’t been around, and it certainly hasn’t been because I haven’t been making awesome things.  It’s quite the contrary really…  You see, I have been so uber-busy the last few weeks with making awesome things, that I haven’t even had a chance to share them with you.  Don’t worry though, this is the first post of many that will catch us up on the Twin Ravens Press happenings of the summer.  Before I get on to posting about awesome work though, I’d like to thank Helen of DESIGNbyHELEN for featuring one of our Etsy shop’s greeting cards in her online treasury entitled “Next Stop…Japan!”.  My design is the very cute, red, origami crane card.  You can see a screenshot I took of it at the top of this post.  Check it out for yourself by clicking the link above!  Thanks Helen!  There will be more to come very soon!  

How Letterpress Works

When I first begin working with clients and often when I’m just talking to potential clients about a potential letterpress project, I am often asked “how does letterpress work?” or “how does working with your studio work?”.  These are fair questions, and ones that I’ve been meaning to address here (as well as the more formal website for Twin Ravens that I’ve been working on) for quite some time.  I still plan to eventually put this out, in my own words, in the near future, however, I came across this video this morning and thought that it would be a great basis for explaining what it’s like to work with a letterpress studio.  At Twin Ravens Press, I print from both antique lead type and from photopolymer plates. My studio does a few things different from Starshaped Press, like we always offer several rounds of digital proofs of our designs, prior to printing, etc.  All in all, though, I think that their video is a great, short, demonstration of how working with a letterpress studio works.  If you are a potential client and are curious about the process of creating your future letterpress printed piece, or if you are just curious, watch this video.  It’s pretty cute too! 

Fonts + Geeky = Awesome

Happy Friday everyone!  For those who need a little bit of semi-work-related humor after a very busy week, like I do, I found this awesome video.  It’s got fonts, superheroes, personifications and more!  What could be better?!?  

Very Cool Bike Design!

Madsen Cycles Cargo Bikes

This week seems to be shaping up to a week where I’m not only blogging about awesome things that we’re doing, I’m also blogging about awesome things that other people are doing and things that I love as well.  Living in lovely, eco-friendly, Eugene, you see a lot of awesome-ly designed, random, different, or customized bikes around.  Many of these bike owners have built or customized their bikes themselves, but nonetheless, it makes for awesome people-watching, as well as awesome alternative transportation for a city that’s keen on protecting the environment.  I have a pretty awesome bike, that I ride all over the place when the weather is decent to nice, but I always thought it would be great to have a bike trailer to haul stuff around with.  Well, what if your bike and bike trailer were an all-in-one, awesomely designed package?  Check out the Madsen.  It may be one of the coolest ideas I’ve seen this week.

Letterpress of the Past: North Beach, California

In case you haven’t noticed, I love old things.  I drive an old car, have a shop full of old printing equipment, love vintage cameras and analog photography and think that old t-shirts that are almost on the verge of falling apart are way better than brand new ones.  My love of old things and old processes is probably one of the main reasons that I became interested in letterpress and old-fashioned printing in college, years ago, in the first place.  So I was pretty delighted when my mom e-mailed me this photo that she took while visiting North Beach, California last week.  
From the looks of it, this shop has probably been closed down for quite some time, however, I love that the old sign, advertising both letterpress and offset printing is still featured prominently above.  When seeing images like this, I think anyone in this industry (letterpress printing) should stop and tip their hat to the history that our craft is a part of.  
It’s pretty cool to think that we’re a part of something that has been happening, pretty much the same way, for over 100 years.  

Shop Twin Ravens Press at Finch!

Great news for Twin Ravens Press fans in and around Austin, Texas!  I’m currently in the process of finishing up and getting ready to ship off an order of Twin Ravens Press cards to a little retail shop in Austin called Finch!  

Finch is located in the heart of downtown Austin at 417 West 2nd Street.  Their shop offers a lovely collection of gifts, and hand-crafted furnishings for the home. Finch specializes in independent design (like us!), and carries handmade ceramics, textiles, lamps, glassware and other items from around the world.  Twin Ravens Press is very excited to have our cards at Finch, so if you’re living in or close to Austin, go down and check them out!  

Weddings | Cecilia & William

Here’s another beautiful and summery wedding invitation suite that I completed last month for a lovely couple in Georgia!  The bride, Cecilia, had been following Wedding Bee for a few months and had seen some of the work my company had done for different brides on that site and decided to contact me about creating a wedding invitation suite for her June wedding.  As you can see in the above photo of the suite, Cecilia and William’s set included a T-Length wedding invitation and coordinating envelope and a 4bar size reply card with coordinating envelope.  Here is the invitation and invitation envelope: 

Cecilia and William’s invitations were three colors: black, light blue and leaf green and the invitation and reply card were printed on Crane Lettra 100% cotton pearl white paper.  I love the way the blue flowers and green leaves and vines give the whole set a very warm, summery feel.  I also love that the design we ended up doing is a T-Length size.  This size is one of the more uncommon ones that I do for wedding invitations, but I really love the look of a long, skinny invite.  The envelope we chose to pair with the suite is from Waste Not Paper Company – it is their T-length size in Luxe White.  I love how most T-Length envelopes open on the short end and the flap has just enough room for a small, letterpress printed return address.  Cecilia asked for a deeper impression for her pieces, which I thought turned out really nice.  Here are a couple of close-ups of different parts of her invite so that you can see the pretty ink colors, fonts and impression better: 
Cecilia and William’s reply card is a standard 4Bar size, which measures 3.5″ x 4.875″.  It is also three colors and featured the same blue and green viney flowers from the invite.  For the reply card envelope we chose a light green envelope from Waste Not Paper and made sure that the green ink we used for the leaves and vines on the pieces matched the color of this envelope. If you look at the envelope in the photo at the top of this post, you will see that we printed the return address for the reply envelope on the front in black ink.  Here is the reply card and envelope together:  
Here is one more close-up of this card so you can check out the impression, colors and pretty fonts: 
Cecilia and William were a pleasure to work with and I know that these invites are just the start of what’s going to be a beautiful Southern, summer wedding this June.  Congratulations Cecilia and William!

Letterpress Printed Cocktail Napkins

Did you know that letterpress printing can be used on other objects besides regular flat paper? One of the more traditional objects that was printed on regularly, other than paper, were square cocktail napkins.  People often used to have napkins printed up for special events or parties such as weddings, milestone birthdays, anniversary parties, etc.  
I recently got a request to print up some of these napkins for a good friend whose adult son is a sailor.  The son and his girlfriend have a sailboat called Santa Magdalena that they travel all over the place on (Caribbean, South America, etc…).  The mom thought it would be a really neat gift to get them custom printed cocktail napkins themed after their boat.  I thought it was a very cool idea too!  You can see a close-up photo of the design for the napkins at the top of this post and a wider shot of them here:  

These napkins are regular, square, 3-ply cocktail napkins that you can find at any party supply store.  They are ivory colored and feature the stick-drawn sailboat design and the names printed in chocolate brown ink on the diagonal of the napkin.  Aren’t they cool?  
If you would like more information about custom letterpress napkins, feel free to contact me at [email protected]!  I’m sure they would be a hit at your upcoming party or other get-together (or they would be awesome to have on your sailboat!).  

F is for Fail (A Short Film About the Creative Process)

F is for FAIL from Brent Barson on Vimeo.

If, like me, you work in some kind of design or creative field full-time, you’re sure to appreciate this video.  You’ll also like it if you are just a fan of really awesome uses of typography.  

From Vimeo:
F is for Fail is a short film about the creative process, and the failure we always encounter, but usually overcome.  Told using the alphabet, each letter informs us of the state of the protagonist’s creativity/state of mind.  Each letter has two words associated with it (except A and Z); sometimes the positive word overpowers the negative word, and vice-versa. 
Creative direction, design, and animation by Brent Barson.   
I thought it was really cool!  Check it out!  

Spring Beauties

Happy Friday Everyone!  

I have a lot of beautiful new stationery items (both custom and for the etsy store) coming out for spring, which you will be able to see here very soon.  However, because it’s Friday (and just because, really) I thought I’d show off some photos I took of the gorgeous Rainier Cherry Tree that’s in full bloom in front of my house.  I snapped these pictures yesterday, after work.  

I know, I know, totally not work-related in the slightest, but it’s beautiful and I’m happy that spring has finally come to Oregon!  Have a wonderful weekend!