Monday, October 28, 2013

A Wedding Suite for Sarah: "Paper Moon"

Sarah contacted Anna Coleman to design her wedding stationary.  The result was this extremely appealing suite we couldn't resist but name "Paper Moon".  It has that the feel of those lyrics:

Well, it's only a Paper Moon,
Sailing over a Canvas Sea,
But it wouldn't be make-believe
. . . if you believe in me.

It's a sweet song from my childhood, and the tune came to mind the instant I saw Anna's thumbnail sketches and final inked art.  Anna did her final rendering in ink-on-vellum. (sigh), such a traditionalist.  She should only be a letterpress printer!

As with almost all our custom printing, the stock used was Crane's Lettra, 100% cotton rag content, which features an extruded, luxuriant tactile feel to the touch, and which receives the inked impression with just the right amount of deboss to render a spellbinding three-dimensional effect. In the following photos, I had to angle the light in different positions to best pick up this deboss effect, which is why some image come out bluer than others.  I am not using a professional camera: it's a Canon Powershot.  One day I'll splurge for that $1200.00 Nikon, but till then, these images will be produced by the good ol' point-and-shoot.

Coming in a little closer, you can see the titling font that I used: Caslon Open, 18 pt.  Script is Bickham.  The ornaments which were designed by Anna consist of a crescent moon, rose and petals, and two little Love Birds nuzzling on the lower crescent of the moon.

Aww. . . . is that cute or what?  Anna specializes in what she has come to all Animorphism, which is, rendering animals in their lifelike character and nature, yet matching that nature to human characteristics.  It was a concept she honed during her years at Flagler College, where she earned her BFA.  Pen and ink is her medium of choice, which works perfect for Letterpress. 

Another close-up of the Rose and Petal motif.

We call these corner designs "spandrels", the same term used for corner ornaments on Clock faces.

Caslon Open has become our favourite titling font.  I have this font both in digital format on the design computer, and also in foundry metal format, in 18 point font size.  This is a hard font to come by in the form of metal.  My particular "hot metal" font dates to around 1910.  In Sarah's case, we needed to size down her text to fit the ornament design proportionately, so we went the digital format font.

As you can see, we carried the Paper Moon ornament over to the RSVP, in reduced form.  The detail came out like an engraving!

Here is a shot of the card itself, to give an idea of the general lay-out and proportion.  This is a 4-bar format card which comes with a matching, addressed envelope.

A close-up of the RSVP

Another close-up, showing the text.

This is the matching Reception Card.  We carried the Rose and Petal Spandrels over, in reduced form, onto this card as well, with the same engraving-like result. 

A close-up of on of the Spandrels . . .

. . . and the text.

Here is the Suit all together, with addressed matching envelopes.  I might add that the envelopes are text weight, semi-sized, and are calligraphy-pen friendly.  Shown here are: Reception Card, A7 announcement, and RSVP.  Envelopes are addressed.

This suite is available for customizing. If you are interested in using "Paper Moon" for your own wedding stationery, contact us through our site, or email us directly!

That's it for now.  Stay tuned for our next installment!

Our 2013 Christmas Card, Now Available on Etsy!

It's that time of year again!  It's been an eventful year for us: in March, G. Johanson, Printer officially became "Paper Wren Press", and almost immediately thereafter I found myself in the hospital coming within an inch of my life and eternity.  After several months of recuperation,  we found ourselves creating  multiple suites of Custom Wedding Stationery, signing a contract with Affluent Bride, producing a series of greeting cards with designer Anna Coleman, attending two Indie Market shows, and now, it's Christmas.  So what are we doing for our card design this year?  Well . . . . 

Since time is of the essence, we decided to reach into the past and reprise our card from last year, only with some slight changes.  The first change is the "Christmastide 2012" legend, which we changed to "Merry Christmas".  It is still printed in oil based gold florentine, which I like a lot better than gold foil.  Another change is the reverse, which sports our new logo!  These cards are currently for sale on our Etsy Shop outlet. Another change is that this year we are offering a customization of this card: since the legend is typeset with 18th century Fleuron brackets, we are offering custom text, in which "Merry Christmas" can be substituted with another line or multiple lines.  For details, contact us either through our site at, or directly via email at

And now, some photos we took during the process of creating these unique custom limited edition Christmas greeting cards:

The black run on these cards were printed in folio, both sides at one shot.  This year, we included our logo, which is a mag cut.  We 'quadded' it out to accommodate text which is typeset beneath.  In essence, this card is "laid up", or locked up in the same manner the printers would have used back when the featured woodcut illustration was new : 1490!  Two years before Columbus' maiden voyage!  In fact, this cut comes from that part of Italy where Columbus hailed from at the same time in which he lived there!

Here's the first pull from the folio impression.

I flipped the camera around for a closer look, right side up.

Just in case Latin escapes you, this print in it's original 1490 publication was part of a larger volume entitled Legenda Sanctorum Trium Regum, which means "Legend of the Holy Three Kings", Modena Italia, 1490.  You Latin scholars check me out on this, ok?  Hey, how do you like our new Logo?

The completed card after the red and gold impression runs.  This card reminds me so much of the cards we would send when I lived in Munich, Germany as a kid in primary, or Elementary School.  That German cultural streak has been something I've carried with me my whole life long, and has influenced my design tastes almost to the point where sometimes I wonder if I shouldn't market my stuff in Europe!  As a Letterpress Shop in an era of Hipster "whimsical" design approach, we tend to be hopelessly Carolingian in our tastes.  That is, except for the designs we carry by Anna Coleman.

Here is the card after the printing process, where each card is scored and hand folded with a bone folder.  This card saw a run of 200 in this series, which means over 200 impressions through the press for the black, the red, the gold, the scoring of the fold line with a brass rule, then each card is hand folded to ensure a perfect and level fold.  A lot of hours . . . and a lot of Coffee!!

Another shot of the back side.  The card stock chosen is Crane's Lettra, 320 gsm extruded Pearl White 100% cotton, which comes with a matching envelope.

So, there it is.  Our 2013 Christmas Greeting Card.  It is an "A2" sized card, which means it measures 4.5 x 5.5 inches, bifold.  The interior is, as usual, left blank, ready for your own creativity!  Custom return addressing is available upon request, please contact us for details.  I might add that bulk ordering of this card at a reduced price is something that can be considered, but remember these are limited run cards, unique, one of a kind.  Thus, a bulk order would be considered another limited edition run. 

Thanks for joining us in our guided tour of this year's Christmas Card offering.  We have yet another design which might . . . might be able to be slipped in before December.  It is based upon the 1933 U.S. Christmas Seal.  More on that, later.

I remain Your Humble Servant,
G. Johanson, Printer.
Paper Wren Press.