We're through creative a branding and digital agency from Macclesfield near Manchester. We've put together this site to create a source of inspiration, we hope you like it.

Hard Graft Print Collateral

Posted: December 20th, 2011 | Author: Beast Pieces | Filed under: 2 color, 60pt, ahlstrom blotter, custom, diecut, flood, hard graft, labels, Letterpress, Packaging, salty, strathmore label stock, warm gray | Comments Off

Hard Graft, it literally means “Hard Work,” and boy does this European company live up to their name. Makers of beautifully designed and handcrafted gadget cases, this duo (one English, one Austrian) has a passion for what they do–and it shows. From designing the products and tracking down the finest italian craftsman (they used to make every single item themselves), to packing each order by hand, they are involved in every aspect of their business. We’re actually surprised they don’t have sheep in their back yard (then again, for all we know, maybe they do). Moral of the story–they care, these are the kind of people we love to work with.

To complement their 100% wool felt and leather goods, they designed noted cards, merchandise cards and labels for us to produce. The note card and angular merchandise cards were printed on 60pt Ahlstrom Blotter, which is what we traditionally recommend for coasters. Though the outcome is beautiful, these items were a challenge to run on press. Whenever you run a flood of color alongside fine type you will constantly have to fight to keep the text crisp while still making the flood of color as solid as possible. This project was especially tricky because the blotter stock is notoriously challenging to run solid areas of color on, there is no avoiding what we call a “salty” result–luckily this was the look they were going for. They were finished with a custom diecut, which helps the cards tuck tightly into felt pockets prior to shipping (see the picture below that Hard Graft was nice enough to send over of the cards in use).

The labels were printed on Strathmore Soft White label stock, receiving a kiss-cut after printing, allowing them to easily peel off the backing sheet.

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Howler Business Cards

Posted: December 9th, 2011 | Author: Beast Pieces | Filed under: Business Cards, custom, custom duplex, diecut, duplex, duplex after, french, lemon drop, Letterpress, minneapolis, mohawk via, red, round corners, scarlet, soccer, tonal ink, tonal varnish, yellow | Comments Off

Designed by Priest + Grace for Howler magazine, these oversize business cards are an amazing example of what a good design and a little tonal ink can do. Howler magazine is a quarterly publication for soccer enthusiasts in North America, so it only made sense for these cards to reference the size and color of actual penalty cards used in soccer.

There are several production techniques we used to successfully produce these cards. First, instead of printing all of the information blind we used a tonal ink color (a red ink on the red, yellow on the yellow). When something is printed blind it relies solely on good lighting conditions to be legible. Our solution is to print using a tonal ink, which creates just enough contrast between the artwork and the paper to make your contact information visible. Secondly, these cards were printed with fronts and backs up on the same sheet, duplexing the sheet after printing. This allowed us to run a heavy impression on press but then conceal the impression show through by duplexing the sheet back to itself.

The red cards are printed on Mohawk Via Scarlet Vellum 80C (duplexed to make 160C) and the yellow cards are on French Poptone Lemon Drop 100C (duplexed to make 200C).

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Olli Salumeria Business Cards

Posted: December 6th, 2011 | Author: Beast Pieces | Filed under: 110lb, Business Cards, crane lettra, custom, duplex, flood, Letterpress, lettra, Printing Tips and Tricks, red | Comments Off

Yael Miller, from Miller Creative, designed these gorgeous business cards for Olli Salumeria, a salumeria that makes dry-cured salumi in Virginia. Though the outcome is, dare we say stunning, these cards posed several production challenges along the way.

As a general rule, we don’t suggest using letterpress when the design uses floods of color and require clients to agree to our Solid Areas Disclaimer before we will proceed with their job. To achieve a nice solid coverage of color we had to run the ink heavy across the card, thankfully we had added some additional stroke weight to the artwork in the pre-press stage so the line work would not fill in on press. Another trick we used was lightly wetting the sheet before running- this cuts down on the appearance of saltiness and variation across the color.

Flood aside, take a look at that red. Yael refers to it as “Ferrari red,” and we can’t say that we disagree. The design actually specified a Pantone GOE color, which is not a Pantone book we match to, but since we custom mix all of our colors we were able to match a swatch that was mailed in for reference. We took one of our base red inks and pumped it up with a hit of fluorescent red to really get the color to pop.

These cards are printed on Crane Lettra 110lb cover that we custom duplexed after printing to make 220lb. By duplexing after printing we were able to run the flood without completely flattening the text on the other side of the card (not to mention we love any excuse to make a business card thicker). A custom diecut, shaped to reference a ticket or label, finished off the cards in an unexpected, yet refined way.

This project can also be found on FPODesignWorkLife, and Miller Creative.

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Target: Design United

Posted: October 14th, 2011 | Author: Beast Pieces | Filed under: Client Focus, Completely Unrelated, cotton, custom, Design, design united, hand-drawn, ink, Letterpress, mehndi, minneapolis, Poster, Print, printing, target, unique | Comments Off

Earlier this year we were asked to participate in Target’s Design United campaign. Target made use of the massive street level windows of their corporate location to showcase their bullseye logo as interpreted by 51 local artists. We were thrilled to be included and submitted a dozen prints for them to choose from. The display was up from April to October in downtown Minneapolis.

Our process started with a hand drawn mehndi inspired pattern that we scanned in and cleaned up to create a photopolymer plate. We also created a plate of the solid Target logo which we used to lay down some background colors, allowing us to utilize the transparent nature of the inks and achieve some great overprinting. Our pressman went to town and applied most of the inks by hand directly to the plates or paper, resulting in dozens of completely unique pieces. Some of our favorites are below, along with some shots of the installation that we took while it was up this summer.

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AIGA MN Design Camp Event Recap

Posted: October 11th, 2011 | Author: Beast Pieces | Filed under: AIGA, Completely Unrelated, custom, Design, design camp, Event, Letterpress, letterpress services, minnesota, MN, News, nisswa, unique | Comments Off

Yesterday we posted about our involvement printing the materials for AGIA MN’s 2011 Design Camp, but we thought it would be fun to share a peek into the event itself.

Ben (Principal), Selina (Studio Director) and David (Pre-press) were all up north participating as campers and Sam (Designer) was on the committee running the event, so Studio On Fire was well represented over the weekend. We had a booth up at the Friday night Business Expo where people were able to snag a paper airplane and pet assorted samples that we brought to show. Keynote speakers, a networking dinner, a variety of workshops, collaboration lunches and late night bonfires quickly filled the rest of the weekend.

Keynote speakers included Peter Buchanan-Smith (Best Made Company), Jamie Koval (VSA Partners), Michael Osborne (Michael Osborne Design), Jan Wilker (karlssonwilker), and  Josh Kenyon and Colby Nichols (Jolby), it was great to meet each of them. Special thanks to the dudes from Jolby for stopping by the studio after camp and going with us to grab patio beers- good times.

Enough chatter, on to the pictures! David took some great shots throughout the weekend (on actual film!) and Phong Tran (of dblthink.com and official AIGA MN photographer) was gracious enough to share some of his photos, since we were too busy playing with wild cats to bust out our cameras most of the time.

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