Printing with chocolate?

Friday 20 November 2015

Business cards and swing tags for Roslyn Whiting Leathercraft

I first discovered Roslyn’s beautiful leather products about two years ago in a small shop in Kelso. When I saw the tactile nature of the patterns that she tools into the rich-coloured leather I thought that her product swing tags and business cards would be perfectly suited to being letterpress printed.

So I was delighted when Roslyn contacted me earlier this month to ask if I would be interested in doing just that. She already had a great design which she had commissioned from local designer, Paul McLean Graphic Design, and it transpired she had always wanted to have them letterpress printed.

Working with Roslyn and Paul I translated the design of the swing tags and business cards into something which would print successfully on my little vintage Adana. The tags were originally designed to be printed with the logo reversed out of a solid brown background. This looked great, but would be a printing challenge too far for my little Adana 8x5. The solution was simply to reverse the colours so that the logo was brown on an unprinted background.

Roslyn’s brand colour is Pantone 476 – a beautiful, rich, chocolate brown which she was used to seeing printed on coated stock. Unfortunately, 476 is one of many colours which changes quite substantially when printed on uncoated papers, becoming less rich and almost milky. In order to make sure we ended up with the same rich and deep colour I asked the lovely father and son team, Barry and Michael Rushton of Hawthorn Printmakers to create a custom-mixed ink for me. They were able to come up with a formula which retained the colour’s deep richness, even on an uncoated stock. Running this fabulous ink on my press was genuinely like printing with melted chocolate. The colour and sheen of it was just the same.

Roslyn was keen to have her logo printed with a deep impression on both the business cards and the swing tags. With both items being printed on both sides it was important to print with as much impression as possible, but without distorting the reverse of the sheet. The paper that I used was 300gsm Conqueror Connoisseur, which is made of 100% cotton. I was able to adjust the press bit by bit until I was achieving as deep an impression as possible, without creating any distracting and unattractive marks on the reverse of the sheet.

You can find Roslyn’s beautiful leather work in lots of stockists around the Scottish Borders, or visit the Roslyn Whiting Leathercraft web site.

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