LadyBird Blog

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Letterpress Machines: A Rundown

The types and variations of letterpress machines is a vast and complex landscape. The machines were produced worldwide for hundreds of years, with some specialty machines still in production to this day. Navigating this landscape can be a daunting task for anyone new to this industry. With this blog post, we’re hoping to provide some clarity on the subject for you, our lovely reader.

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Bicycle Cards for the Dean Family

This baby announcement design for Cooper James Dean represents all things boy-themed & fun in life. Little Cooper’s room was bicycle themed, and mother Adrian wanted to bring this motif further to life in her baby announcements. The fun lines of the bicycle illustration bring this baby announcement to life! This baby announcement combines the new media of a photograph with the age old craft of letterpress. It’s a delicate balance of crafts that comes together to create a memorable and beautiful card.

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Make Your Own Letterpress Base

As we have been starting up our letterpress shop, we’ve found that there can be many unforeseen costs. From a few special cleaning solutions here to some missing antique parts for the machine, getting up and running can end up costing you an arm and a leg. As a DIY loving couple, we tried to utilize local resources and our own craftiness wherever possible in getting our side business off of the ground. One of the largest costs in getting a press ready for printing in this century is getting what’s called a base. The letterpress base allows the modern design/printmaker to adhere photopolymer printing palates to. These printing plates are created based on digital design files and allow for an easy transfer of modern graphic design work into the letterpress medium.

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Our 2013 Holiday Cards

These holiday cards represent the love of a newly married couple: ourselves! We designed this personal piece to celebrate and spread our love and marriage with friends & family. Our holiday cards feature falling snow in the form of the playful typography of asterisks falling like snowflakes. The blue colored ink was hand-mixed in studio & meant to convey a certain warmth that is sometimes absent in colder winter palettes. San Diego winters never quite cool down like the rest of the states, so we decided to represent this with our colors. The bright red envelopes add a fun dash of color to this joyful holiday card. We were so happy with the outcome!

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California Styled Save the Date Cards

Save the Date cards for our own wedding! Needless to say, we pulled out all of the stops and focused many hours of time & energy into this project. By combining bold graphics, patterns & simple illustration, these Save the Dates truly represented us as a couple. We are obsessed with handmade, vintage goods & California, so these elements were a must for our save the dates. With envelopes & ink colors to match the rest of our wedding suite, these cards kicked off our wedding announcement with a bang!

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Letterpress Inks for Printing

This is a quick introduction to letterpress ink types that anyone getting into the craft should know about. It’s meant to be a primer for newcomers, like we recently were! Our hope is that it may someday save another startup the hours of research and searching we went through to decide which path to follow regarding our inks. Spoiler alert: we use oil-based inks.

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Moving our Letterpress Machine

We recently found out that moving our letterpress machine is quite the undertaking. We were fortunate enough to find our first press, lovingly named Big Boy, in Huntington Beach, CA. It’s fairly rare to find a letterpress machine in California, so we jumped at the opportunity to purchase. A few days later we were coordinating the big move South with the fine folks at QP Equipment. It arrived on a Saturday evening, and we hoped the process would be quick so that we wouldn’t be disturbing an event going on in our shared space. This ended up not being the case, however, and we would like to thank all of the fine people at 3rdSpace for their patience with our loud noise during their event.

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Introducing LadyBird Letterpress

Hello there. We are LadyBird Letterpress. We hope that this website will grow over time and become our little corner of the web to share our work with the world at large. As you may already be aware, we are a startup letterpress design and print shop in sunny San Diego, California.

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California Letterpress Wedding Suite

Our wedding invitation cards were a continuation of the style we established with our save the dates. We used bold graphics and strong typography to convey our marriage messages to friends & family. The wedding invitation card design includes many fun yet simple illustrations that help to embody our playful spirits. In combination with gray envelopes, these one-color cards clearly conveyed our messages to all guests. An illustrated map card provided additional information surrounding the wedding day.

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