Join Us For the Third Annual Letterpress Printer's Fair in Portland!

If you’re in Portland, Oregon, tomorrow, Saturday, August 14th, you should come and visit us at the Third Annual Letterpress Printer’s Fair!  This show only happens once a year and features many different studios and individuals from the Portland Letterpress Community as well as shops (like ours!) from other parts of Oregon and Washington!  The Printer’s Fair is an outdoor event and will be held at the Em Space Book Arts Center, which is located at 323 SE Division Place near the start of the Spring Water Corridor Trail.  The show will feature vendors and suppliers of letterpress printing equipment, foundry type, cards, broadsides, ephemera and more.  There are going to be many great deals to be had and a lot of folks available to answer questions about letterpress printing.  So, if you’re in Portland, and if you’ve ever been curious about what we do, and would like to see us in-person, come on down and say “Hi!”.  We’d love to see you!

Twin Ravens Press & BnS Letterpress Interviewed by FLUX!

We recently participated in a video interview by John Bansky and Amy Carr of Flux Magazine.  Flux is both a printed magazine and a collection of video stories written and produced by the students of the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication.  FLUX Magazine, the traditional way the world has experienced FLUX, is an award-winning print magazine that delivers gripping feature stories and stunning photos. FLUXstories is the next step, bringing the excellence of FLUX Magazine to the digital world.

If you’ve ever been curious about what the letterpress process looks like, or wanted to hear about it from me and one of my favorite letterpress printer friends, Bob Giles, check out this video!  If you’d like to see more videos in FLUXstories recent collection, entitled “Do it Yourself, Again!”, you can find the videos here and more about the magazine here.  Enjoy!

The Letterpress Revival – FLUX Magazine – Do it Yourself (Again)

Internet Love

Happy Friday everyone! Twin Ravens Press has received quite a bit of love this week from different corners of the internet. It all started earlier this week when our Magenta Dahlia Cards were featured in an etsy treasury that I blogged about on Monday here. Also on Monday, my “This is How We Roll” Sushi cards were featured on another blog, which you can find here. It’s so cool to find out that folks are digging our card designs so much that they want to feature and write about them! With that said, keep an eye on our etsy shop over the next few weeks, there’s going to be some new stuff up very soon, including small gift cards and new coaster designs! More about those soon.

Lastly, this may be one of the neatest things I’ve seen on the internet, EVER. It takes a few minutes to load, and it is in Spanish. However, even if you don’t speak Spanish, it’s totally worth the wait because it’s awesome. Go check it out!

Weddings | Vicki & Larry

I’m very excited to show off this lovely set of wedding invitations I recently printed for a couple in Philadelphia, Vicki & Larry. Vicki and Larry actually found out about Twin Ravens Press via their super-awesome local wedding planner, Christina Hill. If you’re planning a wedding in the Philadelphia area, you should definitely think about getting in touch with Christina at CHill Weddings. I really enjoy the opportunities I get to work with other wedding vendors, and other graphic designers, and I had a fabulous experience working with Christina as well as her clients, Vicki and Larry. You can find out more about Christina via the CHill Weddings website or on her blog.

Anyway, on to the stationery! Vicki and Larry actually had several different pieces in their invitation suite, but in order to save some money, they opted to have us print only their actual invitation and invitation envelopes. The other pieces in their suite (including a reply postcard, reception card, directions card, and accommodations card) were printed by a separate offset printer. I’ve mentioned this before in other posts, but if you are interested in having your wedding invitations letterpress printed, but don’t necessarily know if you can or want to spend the money to have everything letterpress printed, having an offset printer print part of the suite is always an excellent alternative. It will save you quite a bit of money and allow you to do some really spectacular things (like using special papers or multiple ink colors) on the pieces in the suite that matter to you the most (like your actual invitation).

You can see a picture of the three pieces I did (invitation, inner envelope and outer envelope) together at the top of this post, and below is the invitation by itself:

Larry & Vicki’s inspiration for their design was from an image they saw in a wedding magazine of an invitation featuring the New York skyline. Because they are getting married in Philadelphia though, they wanted their invitations to be a little more reflective of Philly as well as the fall colors that will be starting to happen on their wedding date (they are getting married in the middle of September). All of their stationery was designed by Christina’s in-house graphic designer, the very talented June Park of June Park Designs Isn’t the design simply fabulous?!? Click on the image above if you’d like to see it bigger. Just in case you’re curious what the other pieces in Vicki and Larry’s suite looked like, I snagged this image from Christina’s blog post about them:

It’s not the clearest image ever, but I do love the way that June carried the fonts, flourishes, and the Philadelphia skyline and Liberty Bell motifs through the entire suite. Here is a close-up of the invitation so you can check out the letterpress impression, fonts and colors more closely:

While we’re talking about the invitation I do have to mention that we did have a slight miscommunication regarding the colors for these initially. When Christina originally sent me the design, she said that the color didn’t need to be totally specific. However, when Vicki got her order from the offset company for all of the other pieces and the order from me for the invitations, the red/orange color for the names and branches on the two different pieces didn’t match. Why would something like this happen you ask? Well, the simplest answer is that all computer monitors aren’t calibrated the same, and because of this what a printer sees color-wise on the screen, doesn’t actually tell them anything about how the print should look when it’s printed. Have you ever been in a big box store like Best Buy or Target and looked at the giant display of lots and lots of different TV screens that are made by different companies, and come in different sizes, but are all playing the same movie? Ever notice how the color on the different screens looks a little bit different from screen to screen, even though the movie they are playing on all of them is the same? If you haven’t, check it out the next time you’re in a store like that. The same thing is true of computer screens and monitors. If you or an outside designer sends me a design, it may look totally different color-wise on my computer screen to what you see on yours.

How do we remedy this, you ask, and make sure that everyone ends up with the color they want when the invitations are printed? The best and most guarantee-able way to do this is to provide us with a Pantone color number for the color that you want. Pantone has created an industry standard for colors and color matching and you can request to look at one of their books (also called Color Formula Guides) from almost any printer or designer in your area. They look like this:

(Image Source)

Seriously, if you are having something printed by us, or another printer for that matter, and really want a specific ink color, all you have to do is walk into any Office Max, Kinko’s, or other big box print/copy center in your area and ask to see one of these books. Each book has thousands of different colors for you to choose from, and all you have to do is tell us the three to four-digit number of the color you want and we can make it happen!

To show you the difference that having a number or not can make, here is an image of the first run of invitations we printed for Vicki, before we had a Pantone number:

As you can see, this invitation is really pretty, but quite a bit more orange than the ones that I put up previously in the post, and it’s quite a bit more orange than the other cards that had been offset printed. Vicki, Larry and Christina were all fabulous to work with, and completely understanding through the reprint and this is what the new invitations looked like:

As you can see, the red is a much better match to their other offset pieces.

The other two items I printed for Vicki and Larry were their invitation envelopes. Vicki chose an inner/outer envelope combination from Waste Not Paper company. The inner envelope was a charcoal grey to match the ink color on the invitation and it was left unprinted. The inner envelope was a sparkly white (called Stardream Opal) and it had their return address and the liberty bell image letterpress printed in charcoal grey ink on the flap. Check them out:

I love how Vicki and Larry’s invitations turned out and working with them, Christina and June was absolutely fabulous!

Congratulations Vicki & Larry!

Shop Twin Ravens Press in Portland, Oregon!

I have great news today for all of my Portland, Oregon readers, shoppers and aficionados!  If you live in Portland, Oregon you can now buy Twin Ravens Press products locally in a few different retail shops in your area.  The first store in Portland to ever carry Twin Ravens Press products was Broadway Books.  Broadway Books is a very nice, independent, locally-owned book-seller located in Northeast Portland at 1714 NE Broadway.  Go check them out!  

You can also purchase Twin Ravens Press products at two other locations.  The newest shop in the Portland area to carry our products is Oblation Papers and Press.  I’m very excited that Oblation started carrying our products because I have been in love with their little paper boutique since I was a college student – long before I even thought of starting Twin Ravens Press. Oblation is  an old-world letterpress print shop, urban paper mill and fine European-style paper boutique.  They specialize in custom invitations and announcements, but also have a lovely retail section, where one will find Italian correspondence stationary, fine fountain pens and distinctive paper from around the world.  The also carry an assortment of eclectic gift items, French wax seals, photo albums, journals, raw materials for bookbinding, designer office supplies and an unrivaled selection of handmade and letterpress printed greeting cards.  If you’d like to read more about Oblation’s printing and retail shop you can on their website. Below is a photo of the inside of their store, it’s really fun and inviting.  
Oblation has two locations.  Their original location (pictured at the top) is in downtown Portland in the Pearl District at 516 NW 12th Avenue and they also have a retail location in Bridgeport Village at 7243 Bridgeport Road in Tigard.  If you love my work, and/or letterpress printing in general and you’re in Portland, Oregon, go check out Oblation.  You will love them!  
Do you own, work at or know of a retail shop in your area where you’d love to see Twin Ravens Press’ products?  If you do, e-mail me at [email protected]! I love working with other retailers and would be glad to send your shop or a shop that you know of a wholesale catalog and price list.  We would love to work with you!

The One that Started it All

The fact that I’m somewhat knee-deep in custom work at the moment kind of got me thinking the other day about the first custom printing job I ever did.  I really, truly love doing custom work for people and have been designing custom letterpress printed items and other personal projects for quite some time now (for at least the last seven years), but this is the first custom job I can honestly say was done under the name of Twin Ravens Press. 

Twin Ravens is still a very young little company and when I started it almost a year ago, I had a good friend, Ashley, who was about to have her first child.   Ashley is also an artist and illustrator and she had seen some of my early Twin Ravens greeting cards and some of the custom projects I had done for other people prior to starting Twin Ravens Press and she really wanted me to design and print her baby announcements.  I was totally excited and thrilled to do so, but I insisted that the project be a joint venture.  This is what we came up with: 

Ashley had just gotten back to Oregon from a vacation she took in Hawaii and really wanted an ocean-themed birth announcement.  She drew the cute little octopus down at the bottom right-hand corner of the announcement and I found the two starfish shaped ornaments in my metal type collection.  All of the words are Baskerville handset metal type.  The announcement was printed on an A7 size card with rounded corners and was paired with a coordinating blue envelope.  Here is a detail of the type (and yes, that is, in fact, their son’s real middle name):

Pretty fun, don’t you think?  Oh, and did you notice that picture of the cute little boy playing in the fall leaves at the beginning of this post?  That’s Ares now.  He’s already almost ten months old.  I took that photo of him playing in our backyard just a couple of weekends ago.  I guess what they say about time is true: it sure does fly…


I’m proud to say that I dropped off my ballot for the upcoming November 4th election this morning.  If you live in Oregon you will probably be receiving your ballot by mail this week if you haven’t received it already.  With one of the most important elections of our time (in my opinion) occurring only 16 days away, I would encourage you to educate yourself about the issues if you haven’t already, and then have your say about what the next four years are going to be like in this country, by voting.  
Normally, I intend to keep my personal opinions about everything other than letterpress and graphic design off of this blog, but in this case I feel I can make an exception.  This month I created 250 of the cards you see pictured below in support of the Obama campaign.  Each card is approximately 4″ x 5″ and was printed in three ink colors (red, blue and black) on Crane Lettra’s Bright White 100% cotton letterpress paper. Each card features the following quote from one of Obama’s campaign speeches: 

“Hope is what led a band of colonists to rise up against an empire; what led the greatest of generations to free a continent and heal a nation; what led young men and women to sit at lunch counters and brave fire hoses and march through Selma and Montgomery for freedom’s cause.  Hope is the bedrock of this nation; the belief that our destiny will not be written for us, but by us; by all those men and women who are not content to settle for the world as it is; who have the courage to remake the world as it should be.” Barack Obama, January 3, 2008

I sent 155 of these cards off to the Amalgamated Printer’s Association for inclusion in their monthly mailing and I gave several out to family, friends, neighbors, etc.  I have approximately 50 left, if you would like one for your very own, please contact me and I would love to send one to you (while they last).  
I hope as a country we can come together and make better decisions for ourselves than we did the past eight years, because making the wrong decision in this election would only cause us 4-8 more years of the same failed politics that we’re dealing with now.  If you need more convincing that voting for change is the way to go, watch this video: 
Seriously.  Think about it.  Happy Voting!!

A New Kind of Publishing

Hello blog world, here I come!  

After several years in college of being strictly a blog lurker on the internet, I have finally decided to start my own adventure in blogging for my design + letterpress studio and business, Twin Ravens Press.  Here you will find all sorts of stories, anecdotes and images about the letterpress world and the work that I do, as well as stories about what it’s like to be a brand new business owner in your 20’s, shortly following college.  
The next few posts will be some back story: how I got my press, why I decided to start a design + printing company, and some of the early projects that I’ve done.  If you can’t wait until the next post to check out what I’ve been doing lately, head over to my etsy site and check stuff out for yourself at:!