As some of you know, earlier this summer my graphic designer (the super-lovely and talented Anna Thompson) helped me reinvent my logo and branding. I was tickled with the results, and celebrated straightaway with a brand new set of letterpress business cards and stationery. The day I went to pick them up, all I could think of was the Woody Allen line from Annie Hall: "Love is too weak a word for what I feel - I luuurve [them], you know, I loave [them], I luff [them], (two F's!)." Raleigh Custom Letterpress 2Beautiful, right?!?!

I was fascinated by the fact that among hundreds of cards, not one was off-kilter or off-center (no easy task with such a rectilinear logo!), and that the ink was perfectly distributed on every card - no exceptions. I've had cards and other things made by several printers, and have never had such consistency and attention to detail. In fact, I was so pleased by how they came out that I asked the owner whether he'd be willing to have me come and do a mini-session in his studio. I wanted to find out how he got such great results, both to satisfy my own curiosity and so I could share the love with you here... I know in particular that my spring brides-to-be are starting to think about invites and the like. Internet: meet Travis Friedrich of Parklife Press:DRaleigh Custom Letterpress 1

Turns out the secret is no secret at all: like all quality work, Travis' is the result of time, experience, patience, talent, and exacting standards. There are no real short-cuts to his process - each card, invitation, announcement, and envelope is placed in the letterpress machine by hand, one by one.

Raleigh Custom Letterpress 5Raleigh Custom Letterpress 4I could wax poetic about how cool the printer itself is, too... a true work of genius from the machine age. It self-inks between each "press", then the plate touches down at just the right pressure to create a perfect indentation in the paper. Where letterpress used to be restricted to relief images created by typeset blocks, now any image, logo, or font can be prepared for letterpress use and re-created perfectly on paper in any number of colors or no color at all... some of the coolest pieces he showed me had texture embossed on the paper under the  inked letterpress above.

Raleigh Custom Letterpress 11The day I visited, Travis was working on a set of business cards for a local real estate agent. They were quite involved - each of the four ink colors had to be printed separately, and the double-sided card was actually a composite of two papers glued together. Each turned out as a stunning little work of art all it's own, the craftsmanship and quality readily apparent to anyone.

Raleigh Custom Letterpress 7Raleigh Custom Letterpress 13I also got to see some edge painting while I was there - where the edges of a card are painted a different color than the card itself. It's a popular trend among letterpress fans, but apparently there's no set standard of how edge painting is done. There's very little information online or on the various letterpress forums about how each printer does it, so here I present to you a big industry secret... shhh - don't tell! Raleigh Custom Letterpress 9Raleigh Custom Letterpress 10One of the really nice things about Parklife Press is that Travis offers optional design services (which he does himself) as well as calligraphy services (which he works with a calligrapher for). For the busy bride who still wants to have a gorgeous, custom set of letterpress, hand-addressed invitations, that can mean total one-stop-shopping :DRaleigh Custom Letterpress 12After my Mr. Rogers-style field trip, I'm totally hooked. If I loved letterpress before, now I'm obsessed... and seeing it created in person gave the hand-crafted junkie in me a new rush. I can very honestly recommend Travis' work as some of the best (just in case you were wondering: this is neither a solicited nor paid endorsement). If you're on the market for letterpress (locally of course, but he also does work for people all over the world), here's his info:Raleigh Custom Letterpress 14

As a special offer to my lovely readers, Travis is offering 20% off any order started before 10/7 when you mention you heard about Parklife Press through Megapixie Photography.  This is an AMAZING discount, especially if you already know you need letterpress services sometime in the coming months. Travis wanted me to remind you that in order to take advantage of the discount, you don't necessarily need to finalize the order, but just contact him, open an order, and send in a deposit.

Thanks again, Travis... I'm handing my cards out like candy, so you can expect to hear from me again soon!

Raleigh Custom Letterpress 6xox,