Austin Letterpress

I was recently up in Chicago to visit a college chum and fellow graphic designer. She took me to the most amazing little shop called Four Sided. This store had everything imaginable when it came to print items: flash cards from every decade, playing cards from Victorian England, postcards ranging from the beautiful to the hilarious, and everything else in between. It was overwhelming, but the most amazing 2.5 hours ever spent (yes, this is what happens when you take 4 graphic designers into this shop!) I ended up buying two postcards of Gothic cathedrals and this cute letterpress piece that had different types of knives on it with numbers next to them, like if you were looking at a catalog and picking out silverware. It had a little sticker on it that said Austin Press. So I looked them up. Talk about amazing work. They’re located in San Francisco, in a shipyard warehouse, where they do wedding sets, announcements (baby, moving, etc) and calling cards. First I love anyone that calls business cards “calling cards.” Here are some people who know their history! Secondly, their ideas were fresh. Yes, every letterpress studio undoubtedly prints items with ornament and flowing flowers (which they do as well), but their postcard wedding pack and their calling cards with simple etchings really drew me in. Plus, who can resist rounded corners?

So take a look. I think you’ll like them. I know I do!

Webster’s Pictorial Dictionary: A Masterpiece

I’m sure many of you design bibliophiles out there have heard of this book. I know my initial reaction was one of intrigue; “Hmmmm, a book I don’t actually own.” (I own A LOT of books. A lot.) Then when I actually saw one in the bookstore it was an instant love affair. Who couldn’t love the beautiful olive green with rich brown overprinting. Plus the detailed engraving of octopus on the cover? I’m not sure if he’s angry or waving a greeting with his many tentacles.

So needless to say, me and many of my fellow design buddies couldn’t wait to get our hands on a copy. At $35.00 it seems like quite the steal. Thanks Chronicle!

Several weeks later I was looking at a letterpress printing blog and saw a video about this exact book. Come to find out the mass market copy was simply that: A copy. Apparently a very talented designer named John Carrera not only letterpress printed all the sections, but he then bound the entire book. Yeah…Think about that the next time you break open your own copy of the book.

Well I don’t want to give the story away. Just watch this video. I’ve watched it 3 times already. It’s absolutely amazing!