The Pressman | BnS Letterpress Video

A very good friend of mine, Bob Giles, sent me a link to this video yesterday.  I wanted to share it with you all because, not only is it a neat interview with him, but it also has a lot of footage of Bob’s letterpress print shop as well as some historic printing footage.  Without the help of Bob, Twin Ravens Press probably wouldn’t be in existence today.  Shortly after I graduated from college, Bob took me under his wing and taught me a vast majority of what I know about letterpress printing.  He’s an amazing guy, and I’m so happy that I ran into him years ago.

This video was produced by University of Oregon School of Journalism student, Isaac Viel.  Check it out!

The Pressman from Isaac Viel on Vimeo.

Stayin' Alive

Alright, I’ll warn you now that this post is way out of left field, and really has nothing to do with letterpress, but bear with me.  With the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup going on down in South Africa, I’ve found it difficult to stay fully on-task, all day long for the past week or so without periodically checking my iPhone or the internet for updated soccer scores.  Along with this, I’ve also been checking in periodically on the blog of the one South African artist I know of, Heather Moore of Skinny Laminx, hoping to see some photos or updates from someone who’s actual right there where the World Cup is happening.  (If you’re curious about Skinny Laminx, go check out Heather’s Etsy Shop.  I’ve purchased her tea towels and aprons before and trust me, they are awesome).  Heather hasn’t posted much about the World Cup on her site, but as I was catching up on her blog this morning, I did run across a pretty awesome bicycle video.

Cycling is another sport that I can get behind, as much as, if not more than, soccer.  I love riding my bike places instead of driving, and quite frankly, Eugene/Portland/Oregon in general are some of the most bike-friendly places I’ve ever lived in or been to.  Bicycling is pretty much a culture in and of itself up here.

Anyway, The Bicycle Portraits Project, which takes viewers on a bike-themed tour of South Africa, one of which is set to the most unusual version of the Bee Gee’s “Stayin’ Alive” that I’ve ever heard is being funded through Kickstarter Funding, and I think it’s a pretty nifty project.  I’ve reposted the videos below, so go check it out!

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)

Vespagraphics Business Cards

Check out these awesome business cards we printed for owner/creative director of Vespagraphics, Keith Van Norman, last Friday! Vespagraphics is a graphic design company in Eugene, Oregon that focuses predominantly on print media, so it was quite the compliment that the owner, Keith, hired me to design and print his new cards, rather than designing them himself. Keith’s company focuses on creating socially, environmentally and fiscally responsible design solutions within their own work, and he wanted to keep up this responsibility with his business cards by using an environmentally responsible (recycled, tree-free) paper and soy/linseed oil-based inks.

Keith’s cards were printed on a custom, seeded, 100% recycled, 100% cotton paper by Porridge Papers in a cream color. The paper is embedded with wildflower seeds that will actually grow! They were printed with two ink colors: chocolate brown and deep burgundy-red. Design-wise we chose to go with a more antique-looking layout, with a vintage-inspired rendition of a Vespa in the center of the card, and all of Keith’s relevant contact information thoughtfully placed around the Vespa in a slab-serif font. I really love the wood-type inspired typeface that we used for the actual business name. I’ve used this typeface on a few other projects before, and I absolutely love how crisp and classy it looks letterpress printed!
Then, to be extra-fancy and unique, rather than keeping this card a standard rectangular shape, we die-cut the cards on the letterpress into a unique and more organic shape! I find die-cutting to be a really satisfying process that can really add a lot of character to certain designs. For Keith, it was the perfect finishing touch to make his cards really unique and interesting!
Keith was an absolutely wonderful client to work with and it was so much fun getting to show him the actual process of printing his cards from start to finish! He actually came and hung out in my studio on Friday morning while I was printing his cards, just so he could check it out. It’s really fun for me when a client takes as much interest in the process of creating their cards, as well as in the outcome! If you’ve ever wanted to see more photos of my shop, Keith took quite a few while I was printing, which you can see on his flickr stream. Check them out! Also, if you’ve ever wanted to see a 1912 Chandler & Price Letterpress in action, Keith took a short video of me as I was printing and die-cutting his cards. Check it out here:
If you are interested in having new business cards designed and printed for your company, please feel free to contact me anytime! Also, if you are in, or are willing to travel to the Eugene/Springfield, Oregon area and would like to visit our studio to check out the actual printing process, you are more than welcome to do so! (Just make sure you make an appointment first).
Thanks so much Keith! You rock!

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?!?  

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!  

Weddings | Theresa & Matt

Here is another lovely wedding invitation suite I completed last month for a couple in South Carolina!  Matt and Theresa are getting married next month in Greenville, South Carolina and wanted a classic, elegant and beautiful set of stationery for their wedding.  You can see a photo of all of the pieces from their invitation suite at the top of this post!

Above is a photo of their invite.  Matt and Theresa chose a standard A7 size for their invitation and wanted to stick with classic black ink and two beautiful typefaces.  They chose Crane Lettra Pearl White paper for all of the pieces in their suite, because it’s beautiful, soft and takes the letterpress impression really well.  Here is a close-up photo of part of the invite so you can see the pretty typefaces they chose: 
Their reply card is a standard 4bar size, printed on the same 100% cotton paper and in the same fonts.  I really love the beautiful swash “T” at the top for the “The” in “The favor of a reply is requested…”  I also really like how Theresa chose to have her guests indicate which event(s) they planned to attend.  If you are having multiple events happen on your wedding day, in many cases it’s nice to know which event(s) guests will be attending and who will be at what, especially if, say, the reception doesn’t immediately follow the wedding.  Here is a photo of the reply card by itself: 
And another close-up to show off the letterpress impression and the pretty fonts: 
Prior to hiring me, Theresa had seen this suite that we did several months ago for Kiely & Scott that style-wise is fairly similar.  I sent her a sample in the mail of Kiely & Scott’s invitation when we first started working together, and Theresa really liked the envelopes that Kiely had chosen for her suite and decided to use the same ones.  Both the reply envelope and the invite envelope are from Green Paper Company.  Green Paper Company is an awesome Chicago-based paper company that produces beautiful, colored papers and stationery items, all of which are made of at least 30% post-consumer recycled waste.  I enjoy working with them because they are both beautiful for letterpress and great for the environment!   Here is a photo of Theresa’s reply card with it’s corresponding reply envelope from Green Paper Company, printed by us: 
If you read the post about Kiely and Scott’s invitations, you’ll recall me talking about a pretty shiny paper in blue that is almost like fabric that we used to line Kiely’s invite envelopes.  Theresa really liked that paper, but she’s incorporating evergreen and chocolate brown into the accent colors of her wedding.  Lucky for her, the same liner paper also comes in an evergreen!  Here is a photo of her invite envelope lined with the evergreen shiny fabric paper liner: 
And here is a close-up of the return address printing I did on the flap.  I really like how Theresa chose to use the script font that she used for her and her fiancee’s names on the invitation for the whole address on the invite envelope.  It’s so pretty!   
To complete their invitations we also designed and printed a separate reception card with a map of the area on the back.  It is also a 4bar size, like the reply card, printed on Crane Lettra in black ink.  I really love letterpress printed maps, they always look so cool.  Here is a photo of the card, back and front: 
Very pretty, don’t you think?  I think they turned out fabulous!  I am currently in the process of producing a gorgeous multi-page, letterpress printed program, a dinner menu, a kissing menu, table signs and thank you cards for this same couple for their upcoming wedding.  I will post some info and photos of those when they are done!  
Theresa and Matt have been an absolute pleasure to work with and I’m really excited they chose to hire me for their wedding!  They are also a really really cute couple.  When we first started working together, Theresa sent me this link to a YouTube video of Matt’s marriage proposal.  Theresa is an executive producer at the NBC News station in Greenville and Matt proposed to her at work.  I’ve watched this video a couple of times now, and it just makes me totally happy every time I do because it’s so cute.  Check it out if you’d like:  
Congratulations Theresa & Matt!

Don't Divorce…

I work with a lot of people all over the world who are getting married.  These people want to share their life with another person completely.  They want to start families.  They want to be there for each other and support each other through good times and bad.  In my opinion, it is beyond all reason that two individuals who want to be wed and have families should be prevented from doing so.  I think that it’s pretty powerful and very lucky if you believe you’ve found that one person in your life that you want to share everything with and can’t imagine being without.  

Last month, Ken Starr, who led the campaign to impeach former President Bill Clinton in 1998, filed a legal brief on behalf of the “Yes on 8” campaign.  If validated it would forcibly divorce 18,000 same-sex couples that were married in the state of California last year before the passage of Proposition 8 in November.  
The video entitled “Fidelity”: Don’t Divorce… was Courage Campaign’s response to this action.  Courage Campaign is an online organizing network that empowers nearly 400,000+ grassroots activists to push for progressive change in California.  Watch the video, and if it moves you, you can sign their letter to the California Supreme Court asking them to invalidate Prop 8, reject Ken Starr’s case, and allow all loving, committed couples to marry regardless of their sexuality or gender(s).  

50 People, One Question

An old friend from college sent me a link to this video, this evening. What a beautiful thought…

In a few words: do what you love, love what you do and be happy where you are, right now. More letterpress tomorrow. Enjoy!