Pixie is a Chicago based company specializing in unique, customized paper designs. In today's world, where everything is done on the web,
it is important to remember how intimate and wonderful a thoughtful card or note can be. Our goal is to bring back the personalized touch
of a simple piece of mail, whether it be a handwritten thank you or an exquisitely crafted special occasion invitation.

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Letterpress me!

Letterpress is back (did it ever go anywhere) and it's bigger than ever!
People are paying top dollar for single letterpress cards which can run up to $6 a card. Single cards are found around the Chicagoland area in shops and boutiques.  They make great impulse buys for businesses to display at the the counter, but some stores specialize in these cards such as Paper Doll in wicker park, Paper Source in Lincoln Park, and Greer in Lakeview.  I took a stroll to a few of these stores, thinking that business may have died down because of the economy, but all the stores were booming; people can't get enough of this stuff!

Wikipedia definition:
Letterpress printing is a term for the relief printing of text and image using a press with a "type-high bed" printing press and movable type, in which a reversed, raised surface is inked and then pressed into a sheet of paper to obtain a positive right-reading image.

So it's basically just indented type and design on a card?  Is it really worth 5 times what you are paying for a standard printer?

I wanted to know what the hype was all about and decided to enroll in a letterpress class at Columbia College Chicago. It was a 4 - 8 hour a day course that taught the basics of letterpress—setting metal type, printing on a Vandercook cylinder press, making choices of paper for letterpress, mixing inks, and proper cleanup. (my plate and print from plate below!) how cool!

This truly was a unique experience and I now understand why they can charge so much for a single card:
Labor + Labor + Labor = one exceptional card 
When laying out your plates, everything is done by hand and must be tested for alignment, density, and color.  It takes time and patience, it's not as easy as click and print, which my generation of designers have become so accustomed to.  It is a form of art that has had such a interesting and important impact on our history in everything from the start of newspapers and books to elegant wedding invitations.

Once PixieChicago.com is complete (selling mainly on Etsy for now) I fully plan to add a line of letterpress stationery and do custom wedding invitations.  New products should always be added to any business to keep customers intrigued and coming back for more, so within a year I would love to feature this as the NEW product for Pixie!


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