Real Weddings: Natasha and Rory’s Modern Woodland Mountain Wedding

Posted by SWEET
/ /
Comments Off on Real Weddings: Natasha and Rory’s Modern Woodland Mountain Wedding

Wedding vows on the banks of Hallam Lake

Natasha and Rory first came to us for a custom letterpress save the date. Rory’s mom had illustrated a pair of owls which they wanted to incorporate into the piece and they knew they wanted to use the colors orange and grey. They also wanted to convey a woodsy feel because their autumn wedding was set to take place in the mountains of Aspen, Colorado surrounded by golden trees.

To compliment their vision, we created an original design that included the hand-drawn owls along with their signature phrase “Let’s fly away”.  The save the dates were letterpress printed on a gray chipboard paper with bold typography to create a rustic and modern feel. The save the dates were so well received that Natasha and Rory came back and asked us to create their invitations as well.

orange and gray woodgrain wedding invitations with illustrated owls and rustic fonts

We designed the ensemble to introduce the modern, whimsical feel to their event. We echoed the orange and grey hues of the save the date but on a crisp white paper, textured with a faux bois (wood grain) pattern. The long horizontal format and bold fonts gave it a modern feel while the whimsical brackets, vibrant orange and tear away RSVP card kept it  fun and playful. Our goal was to ensure that when guests opened the envelope, they would know that the wedding would be fun, modern, non-traditional and woodsy. These invitations were so much fun to create and perfectly captured the vision Natasha and Rory had for their wedding.

Log with illustrated owls

On their big day, owls were everywhere and the whole event was full of cute, modern details worthy of some serious DIY credentials. There were owls on woodcut tree slices, sewn into miniature pillows, printed onto favor labels, accenting the drink menu and there was even a real taxidermy owl at the reception! A giant orange wine cork heart was created with the couple’s initials to accent a side table, and the bouquets were full of orange and white sculptural flowers, succulents and grey-green leaves. Orange and grey paint chips served as escort cards and were hung from twine for guests to pin to their clothing (how fun, right?). A vintage typewriter was available for everyone to write notes to the bride and groom.

Name tags made with paint chips

Their vows were spoken on the shore of Hallam Lake, with the fall trees reflecting on the water. Natasha’s dress and the wedding rings were all of modern design. As the night wound down, even more sweet touches became apparent. Miniature painted wooden pegs served as the cake topper for a simple, minimal white cake and test tubes with loose leaf tea were given out as favors.

Natasha and Rory’s wedding was a beautiful and unique take on the rustic theme.  The personal touches were completely true to the couple, starting with the Save the Dates and carrying all the way through to the favors. We loved working with  Natasha and Rory and are so grateful to have been a part of their big day!

The details…

Photography | Ashleigh Miller Photography
Ceremony Venue | Hallam Lake
Reception Venue | The Sky Hotel
Music | The Parlor Pickers
Florals | Zephyros Farms
Cake | Kim and Jakes
Invitations | SWEET letterpress & design

Read More

Green Practices for Letterpress Printing

Posted by SWEET
/ /


Rubber based ink cans

Photo Credit: Sullivan Studios

Happy Summer! As the weather heats up we’re reminded of simple ways we can help the environment through things like turning off lights, using less water and being mindful of how we impact ecosystems. This inspired our topic for this post: eco-friendly elements of letterpress.

Here at SWEET letterpress & design we present our studio as eco-friendly, but what exactly does that mean? In an industry where the very methods used are antiquated and somewhat mysterious to the layperson, how do we try to respect the Earth? Let’s dive into the details.

Being environmentally friendly is definitely a trend, but we prefer to think of it as a series of ongoing decisions. Some of these decisions are simple and easy while others require some research and a little more effort. Here are some of the choices we have made to consciously reduce our impact on the environment.

Ink being applied to letterpress ink plate

Ink Choices

We hand-mix all of our inks for custom colors. Bridal suites, birth announcements, greeting cards, business cards, personal stationery… you name it and we have probably mixed a custom color for it. There are a few primary types of ink that letterpress printers use: oil-based, rubber-based and acrylic based ink. With few exceptions (metallics only come in an oil-base for example), we use rubber and acrylic inks for our pieces. Rubber based ink dries by absorbing into the paper, while oil based ink dries primarily through oxidation (air drying) so we try to reduce the VOCs in the atmosphere by minimizing our use of oil based inks.

Envelopes and paper supplies

Photo Credit: Sullivan Studios

Paper Choices

We print on sustainable paper whenever possible. Most of our jobs use 100% cotton tree-free paper but we also print on recycled papers, source FSC-certified paper products, and favor envelopes from vendors that have similar preferences. That’s just for finished pieces though, we also care about the paper that doesn’t get printed on. We donate our cotton scraps to a local paper-maker so they are reused. Finally, we compost or recycle every scrap we can no longer reuse.

Using Boxcar polymer letterpress plates

Photo Credit: Sullivan Studios

Plate Choices

Letterpress printing uses either handset type or printing plates. We print our projects by designing them and having plates made for us. There are two main options: plates made of magnesium mounted on wood or polymer plates that mount onto an aluminum base. We print primarily using our Boxcar Press base and  have our polymer plates made through Boxcar as well. We toured their facility and were impressed with the friendly people, their professionalism and their commitment to the environment. They have a wind powered facility and recycle polymer leftovers. In general, polymer plates are more eco-friendly because they are recyclable, use less material and the registration process is easier so it requires less make ready (practice paper used to adjust everything on the press until you start printing final versions)

Letterpress work bench with ink and cleaning supplies

Photo Credit: Sullivan Studios

Cleaning Product Choices

To clean the ink off a press after printing, most printers use solutions that have high VOCs. This is difficult to avoid entirely, because getting all traces of ink off the press and the rollers is critical to print quality but there are ways to reduce the use of high VOC cleaners. Solvents such as paint thinner and California Wash are commonly used, but as a general rule we clean initially with vegetable oil and then we go back over the press and rollers with solvent last. This allows us to maintain a clean printing press but significantly reduce the VOCs involved in our press cleaning process.

Biodegradeable packaging

Photo Credit: Sullivan Studios

General Practice Choices

In addition to the detailed elements of letterpress, we also adhere to some eco-friendly principles for the studio. We reuse, recycle and compost to the fullest extent possible (and cart everything  home to dispose of since our landlord doesn’t offer recycling or composting) and package our greeting cards in biodegradeable sleeves. We use repurposed packaging materials for our orders and always ship carbon neutral. Additionally, we have something called the “Sweet Tree” program. For every order over $1000, we plant a tree through American Forests.

There are lots of little ways people can be more environmentally conscious at home, but we extend that idea to our studio too. Letterpress is an eco-chic process with some adjustments to the standard workflow, and we plan to continue doing what we can to keep that up.

Do you have any eco-friendly practices for stationery or do you have a letterpress-specific tip that we could put into practice? We would love it if you would let us know in the comments below.

We would like to thank Sullivan Studios for the awesome studio photographs featured in this post.

Read More

Holiday Highlights

Posted by SWEET
/ /
Comments Off on Holiday Highlights

We are still decompressing from a very productive 2010 holiday season. Aside from participating in local handmade markets, we also printed a number of custom holiday cards. Here a few of our favorites…

The clean design of this modern New Year’s card for cypher13 Design Studio is accentuated by a red foil stamp, edge painting, and a blind impression grid. Black-on-black printing lends the envelopes a subtle-but-stylish look.

We collaborated with Saffron Design to create these holiday cards for Cindy Crawford Licensing and Crawdaddy Productions. Printed on thick, duplexed red and white felt stock paper, the silver ink adds a festive flair to this classic design.


Read More

May Madness is here.

Posted by SWEET
/ /

Sweet Letter 2010 business card

Every year, the National Stationery Show brings out the crazy. It’s an industry fact.

We’ve been pretty darn busy in the print shop over the last couple months. March and April were chock full with wedding invitations and we are just now scrabbling to generate some new product for the show (which is, ahem, next week). With a fairly elaborate wedding set still left to print before we fly on Thursday, the window is closing fast and Manny can only chug so fast.

So here’s my big crazy for this year – I decided we needed some new and improved business cards for the show (not too crazy) but I also decided that they needed to be 2 over 2 with a die cut and a full flood on the back. And in order to have a good stash for the future, we decided we needed 900 cards per name. Needless to say, this has put quite a damper on product output. But really, who will buy our goods if we don’t have a killer b-card to back it up?

Happy spring everybody, I look forward to sharing more (and sleeping) after the show!

Read More

The Business Card Challenge

Posted by SWEET
/ /
Comments Off on The Business Card Challenge

Letterpress Business Cards

Our friend Brian over at Tee & Cakes is not only a baked goods guru but also a sick graphic designer. He presented these three business cards designs to a client and the man just couldn’t decide which one to go with. So, he chose all three, each more exciting and challenging than the next for us to print. Highlights include a full flood of orange with tiny white text knocked out and serious duplexed black stock with metallic gold printing.

Read More

SWEET & Boxcar

Posted by SWEET
/ /
Comments Off on SWEET & Boxcar

SWEET has officially joined the Boxcar cult. After touring the Boxcar Press facility in May, we were sold. Not only are they the nicest folks around but there operation in pretty dang impressive. We are proud to work with a platemaking company that has figured out how to cut down significantly on plate waste and recycle the rest. Did we mention that they are wind powered, too?

Read More

New home in Nobo for Sweet Letter Press

Posted by SWEET
/ /
Comments Off on New home in Nobo for Sweet Letter Press


It’s a big month for us. We moved into our new studio in North Boulder!

We couldn’t secure a fork-lift so the press had to be delivered via boom truck. I have to say, it was pretty scary seeing 1500+ pounds of letterpress goodness flying through the air with just a few chains wrapped around it but Manuel (the press) is now safe and sound.  Hope he likes his new home cuz it may be a while before he moves again!

Read More