Monday, December 14, 2015

Christmas Gifts For Print Lovers

Christmas is close and what I love most about it is giving. Giving a gift isn’t the easiest thing in the world, and it can sometimes turn into a nightmare if you’re not into crowded scenes blustering with promotional sales urging you to BUY. Gifts after all should mean something; it’s personal for the receiver and the giver.

Here’s a collection of gift ideas for those in your life who are graphically, designerly and tasterly inclined. This curated list also happens to marry the digital with the wonderfully tactile medium, print.


MINIMAL PHOTO BOOKS FROM YOUR PHONE
image source Artifact Uprising

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Style Your Next Party With Paper Goods


DIY PAPER GOODS: FOXY BABY
FEATHERED HATS, WOODEN CAKE TOPPER,
LETTERPRESS BUNTING & ORIGAMI FOXES
Seems like forever since I last posted, and it’s not for idleness, and actually I like the fact that I don’t have to post (despite the rules of social media), but want to post. My baby girl turned a year and I had a very full couple of months preparing for her party. As the usual, there were some obstacles, like finding the right decorations, cake and outfit. The rest and certainly most importantly fell into place when friends and family arrived and enjoyed the day with us.

I initially started by thinking up of a theme. I turned to Pinterest to gather some birthday themes for kids and created an inspiration board to gather ideas. I really liked the woods animal theme, but I also loved the origami theme too, and I knew I wanted some sort of photo backdrop. I figured out how to fold a fox, a bear, a rabbit, but as time permitted I could only project and letterpress one of them. The deer would have won out, but I couldn’t find a simplified origami version of it, and so my Foxy Baby was born!

We got a cake made, and made a calligraphic cake topper ourselves. I did some freehand calligraphy and my hubby carved it out of 2 mm aeronautic plywood--a nice keepsake for the coming years. The cool thing about this is we didn’t have to stop short with style choices that on-line businesses offer you for calligraphy cake toppers. If you’ve got a flair for doodling, I’m sure finding a laser or wood cutter could help do the job.

TEEPEE WITH STAR RIBBON & POM-POM
BIRTHDAY CAKE WITH WOODEN CALLIGRAPHY TOPPER
My color choices were salmon, gold and a watery green (best way to describe it). The watery green was hard to find in paper. Actually I did find an awesome Japanese paper in just the right color and did get it shipped from Denmark. I absolutely love it, so much I decided not to use it! So, that’s how watery green got nudged out of the design. Surprisingly gold paper was easy to find and got some shimmery sheets in thick card stock by Favini for half the price.

The idea that these party paper goods inevitably get taken out with the biodegradable paper plates and excess cake frosting made me a little uneasy. But that’s what party paper goods are made for, for the sole purpose for party. So I thought it important to weight in equal parts function, design and cost. Best not to spend a fortune on specialized paper for kid parties, but still find the right paper, design and printing technique to make it look good!

PARTY HATS & ORIGAMI LETTERPRESS FOX
I wanted party hats, but I knew I would never find them at any stationery store here. Yes it’s true, online everything is a cinch, but as noted before, most of these novelties come from America...and living in Italy you must tag on shipping costs and the like and decorations alone can push you over budget! The obvious solution was to make my own (with a little help from my friends). After looking at a few tutorials online, party hats, festooning and bunting was made.

For the photo backdrop, we got an Indian teepee custom sewn by a local tailor. We chose a cotton linen blend material for the teepee and some pretty trim and cotton star ribbon to embellish it from La Boutique, a modern old fashioned haberdashery in town.
It was to serve not only as a backdrop, but a cubby hole for our growing girl that can last her long after the cake’s been eaten.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Letterpress Chalkboard :: Beer On A Curve

My recent explorations in chalkboard paper for a client has been satisfying. On an earlier post I wrote about making your own chalkboard paper rather than downloading a digital file. At first I started off with hand lettering and a paper wire bound construction for the drink menu, but with the client we thought it wouldn’t survive the wear and tear. Back to the drawing board...
MY VANDERCOOK MAKES BEER ON A CURVE

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

DIY :: Chalkboard Paper

I was doing some shop comparisons and recording results. What a fun challenge to find not just the least expensive paper route, but also authentic. I needed to find some chalk paper and realized that most of the chalk paper sold are digitally mastered pdfs. Which got me thinking... Why pay for a digital file when the possibility to make my own shouldn’t be that difficult? After all, I only needed a small quantity and the essentials I already have: black card stock, white chalk pencil and a fixative to prevent my work from rubbing off. It worked!
PENCIL SHAVING ON BLACK CARDSTOCK,
CHALK PENCIL & FIXATIVE FOR ADHERING
DIY CHALKBOARD PAPER

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Is Graphic Design Art?

So there’s a question older than “why are we here”.  Is graphic design art? Some say it depends on whether the project functions for the sake of monetary gain versus existing for its own sake. But maybe it’s about the scope.
PROTOTYPE, PLAY AT WORK.
EXPERIMENTS WITH HANDLETTERING
DRINK MENU 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Turntable Tuesday :: Paper Chase

What is the most important factor when designing a stationery project? Some would say the concept others would say resources. I would have to say paper a lot of times. It communicates feeling, craftsmanship and richness that is hard to convey with ink and ideas alone.

Italy is an old country and along with it come craftsmen from generations down. They have their methods, and imbue soul into what sometimes seems a soulless market place. This is indeed why we, paper lovers, are so inclined to them. They are elusive, plainly dressed and always at the dinner table to share a story.

DETAIL WINTER WEDDING Piedmont, Italy
 Letterpress silhouette bride and groom
Magnani’s Etrusca - textured Italian paper