Monday, December 31, 2012

Street Lettering or Polite Messaging

It’s not uncommon to come across chalkboard style street lettering on city or rural streets in Italy. They are often times humorous messages written by family or friends for brides and grooms on their wedding day. I absolutely love the graphic appeal. They are even let’s say, polite, as they don’t need public buildings for showcase, but only a wide enough street--no one to task in scrubbing away or painting over the writing on the wall, but just a matter of time to wash off with a bit of snow or rain.

2013 is just around the corner and it’s a time for reflection of what has been accomplished in the studio at Pirouette Press--how to make it better--anticipating future projects in the New Year. 

I think this street graphic communicates a message meant not only for the bride and groom on their special day, but for anyone who happens to be on that same road towards happiness, uncertainty and new adventures. 

“ E le Chiavi? Da Li - And the Key? Over there”

Direction Heart

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Tech Crafty :: Web Videos & Apps

I love it when technological gets crafty. Ilenoliukgo (the first and last letters of this Turin based duo-team’s name) create super cute web videos. This motion graphics "The Maya Advent Calendar "for one, foretells all the catastrophic events that are sure to happen on the 21st December, like the sun switching off and your twitter feed off-line!

Another neat one is for Dreamboard. This video shows a girl waking-up, yawning, remembering her dreams then recording them all from bed on her mobile device--then via their free application, a greater  understanding of the meaning of her dreams and inner self... 
Strangely enough, I dreamt of aliens landing last night. Hm, wonder what that could mean. Happy 21st!

Monday, December 17, 2012

A little jewel :: Printing Museum | Museo della Stampa Mondovi, Italy

(Versione Inglese | Italiano)

In Mondovì there’s a little jewel nestled in a side street in the historic part of the city, Piazza.  The first printed book with movable type was produced in Mondovì in the region of Piedmont (known perhaps better for its wine) in 1472. Il Museo della Stampa Mondovì (I’ve included the museum’s facebook link as it’s most up-to-date), has a pretty good collection of printing machines and type.

But I found the people working underground, yes underground, are who make this museum amazing. There’s laboratory beneath the staircase where a man called Roberto Masante, 82 years old, prints publications for the museum as well as Amici di Piazza, a cultural organization. I met “Maserati" (I playfully call him by an Italian sports car) when I fetched the idea to the museum directive to do a collaborative event with Officina Tipografica Novepunti. They agreed, and in the month of August I have spent many hours along side guided by my Maserati.

Il Tipografico

The design of the print collateral got underway and then a master composer, Mario Costamagna, swooped in to help me with the composition of the invite and small poster.  I chose a soft chipboard for printing the invites. The two color job was printed by master printer Edo Ramolfo on an original Heidelberg Cylinder “The finest letterpress machines ever made". These three men combined have more than 100 years of experience.


  Pas Shanti poster_primo passo 

original heidelberg

Passalo Shanti volantino :: flyer

In Mondovì esiste un piccolo gioiello annidato in una strada nella parte storica della città, Mondovì Piazza. Il primo libro stampato con caratteri removibili fu prodotto in Mondovì nella regione del Piemonte (conosciuta meglio forse per i suoi vini) nel 1472. Il Museo della Stampa Mondovì  (incluso il link facebook per il museo come ultimo aggiornamento), ha una collezione completa di macchine da stampa e caratteri tipografici.

Nell’esperienza di crescita ho trovato così persone che lavorano “sotto terra”, si proprio così “sotto terra”, e sono coloro che fanno di questo museo qualcosa di affascinante.
Esiste un laboratorio giù per le scale del museo dove un gentiluomo chiamato Roberto Masante, ottantadue anni, stampa pubblicazioni per il museo e per gli Amici di Piazza, una organizzazione culturale.

Ho avuto così l’opportunità di incontrare una “Maserati” (scherzosamente ho così soprannominato Roberto Masante che bene si districa tra gli scaffali dei caratteri tipografici e tra le macchine)  quando andai a parlare al personale del museo per una proposta di collaborazione con l’organizzazione Officina Tipografica Novepunti.  Alla fine la direzione del museo ha accettato e così ho avuto l’onore di spendere molte ore al museo ed essere guidata dalla mia Maserati personale.

Così il design per la locandina dell’evento ha preso il via ed il maestro compositore, Mario Costamagna, mi ha aiutata a preparare la locandina e l’invito stesso.
Ho scelto una carta color triciolare per gli inviti. Il lavoro composto da due diversi colori è stato realizzato dal maestro Edo Ramolfo su una macchina originale Heidelberg Cylinder “La più fine macchina da stampa mai realizzata”. Questi tre uomini insieme hanno oltre 100 anni di esperienza e sono loro grata per avermi accettata e guidata in questa avventura.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Pinguino “Be Cool” Christmas Card

What would a Penguin say? Would it be in Italian or English and why not both?
Hand pressed on 110# Lettra with silver envelope.

Christmas Pinguino "Be Cool"

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Letterpress Appointment Cards

Square appointment cards. A follow up to some business cards designed for client. Paper choice this time around was card stock, not cotton. Still this light blue recycled paper (with flecks of dark brown) marries natural cotton paper used for business cards well.

Elisa’s appointment cards

The logo design was inspired by the palmette motif which has a long history that dates back to Ancient Greece and Egypt. This simple symbol has been thought to represent many things like an early version of the halo as well as a connection with the sun’s sunset and sunrise.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Turin Design Week: makers, creators and monsters

This week Turin held “Torino Design Week”: A gamut of demonstrations, talks and design products from mostly Italian makers, but also from the rest of Europe, America and Asia. At Operae (a space where independent designers could present their products) my main intent was to see (new to the scene) Italian independent art book publisher Lazy Dog Press, and their presentation of their first book, “Take your pleasure seriously” featuring (graffiti style) calligraphy by Luca Barcellona. The presentation was developed around and about the contamination of self-production and the new branding of “Made in Italy”.  Also Garagedesign (a virtual place where product designers can submit and develop limited ed. designs for the consumer) offered an intriguing talk on new business models.


L-R Daniele Prosdocimo of Valcucine (kitchen design), 

Luca Barcellona and Massimo Pitis of "Lazy Dog Press”  

At the historical house 'Casa del Pingone’,  Turin based Mag Is In presented their beautifully curated project of 65 independent magazines from all over the world. Among the flux of underground Italian self-produced magazines, art books and zines like Nuant, were (big sigh) monsters House Industries' photo-lettering demo-magazine and the subtle and sweet graphic novelist, Chis Ware. 

House Industries “photo-lettering"

House Industries: Photo-lettering

Chris Ware

Chris Ware: Tales of Tomorrow


Nuant: page open featuring Officina Tipografica Novepunti

It was an inspiring afternoon capturing the increasing move towards the personalization of products, but highlighting the decidingly questionable "how to”; a topic surely to be explored deeper at next years event.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Letterpress Workshop in Italy: Take 1

The first ever edition Pirouette Press workshop along side Officina Tipografica Novepunti, letterpress design group from Milan, took place this last weekend at the Museum of Printing. The theme was to make typographic Christmas cards using wood and/or lead type. The participants dug in and just after a few hours were in the 'printing zone’.  There is a new and fast growing wave of letterpress printing in Italy, and it was exciting to see this historical Italian type made by historical type foundries put back to work!

collage workshop
Top left clockwise: Print proofs, Matteo Vio and Jacopo Mencacci of 9PT,
Merry Christmas card project by Paola Paoletti, Partipants Paola Paoletti and Alessia Ambrogio 
Me recording the awesome work!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Product photography with props

More and more my work focuses on product photography to try and get the best representation of   design I do. I still work with a point and shoot camera, and I like the discipline of learning to use best what I have. It’s a continuous learning process with great hints on the web to take some decent images and improve your skills from the likes of the Biz Ladies section of Design Sponge . It is a part of the process between what you do and getting it out there to the public. Here’s a business card hand printed in two colors on Crane’s Lettra 100lb paper for a painter with prop.

  Painter’s business card w/prop
More attempts at product photography click here.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Saluti da Mondovì :: Letterpress Workshop in lovely Italy

Letterpress Workshop with Officina Tipografica Novepunti and Pirouette Press in Mondovì, Italy at the Printing Museum in the historical city centre. 

Enter by 12-10-12
October 20-21, 2012
150 euros - 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. - min. 4/max 6 people. 

Saluti da Mondovì-prima li stampi, poi li spedisci 
Il Natale si avvincina e non hai voglia di cercare fra mille cartoline tutte uguali? 
Oppure vorresti fare auguri personali tutto l’anno? Potresti essere nel posto giusto!

sabato 20 e domenica 21 ottobre, presso Museo della Stampa-Mondovi, workshop di  stampa a caratteri mobili con  Officina Tipografica Novepunti di Milano e Pirouette Press.

Entro: 12-10-12
Costo : 150 euro (materiali compresi) 
ore 10-18  minimo 4 | massimo  6 persone


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Snap Shots :: I shot a hipster

There are different sorts of projects I’m wrapping up and others on the horizon. One in particular which has been gnawing at me (I should add, gnawing at me like one does on a chicken bone) is developing a lounge|wine bar menù. The creative process topic is a popular one and I think there is no exact formula, but you end up figuring out what makes you tick. Sketch is such a popular method and some think it’s the truest one. Sketch for me starts in my head, more commonly known as concept. Then I like to approach the subject or topic by defining it. Give it a name then define that. Well, here’s a practical example I’m working on: the lounge|wine bar one. On a structural level, I have no idea it’s container. This is a photographic study only. My muse is Kevin, he’s a bartender, dabbles in public relations and hipster. Key word, hipster-the modern day dandy.

Il tema del processo creativo è popolare e penso che non c’è alcuna formula esatta, ma personale, troviamo quello che funziona per noi. Sketch è un metodo popolare e alcuni pensano che sia il metodo più vero. Lo schizzo per me inizia nella mia mente, poi affronto l'argomento definendolo, do un aggettivo e una definizione. Bene, ecco un esempio pratico su cui sto lavorando. Il menu per un wine bar. Magari non ho ancora idea circa il contenitore del menu, ma sicuramente il concetto è chiaro. Questo è solo uno studio fotografico. La mia musa è Kevin, è un barista, si diletta nelle pubbliche relazioni e ‘hipster'. Parola chiave, hipster-il dandy moderno.

Other images of the modern day dandy, click here

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Style Me Pretty: Letterpress Wedding Invitations in Rome

Thanks to Style me Pretty for citing Pirouette Press on their site for letterpress wedding invitations printed for destination wedding in Rome. I’m happy to have participated in this very pretty and eco friendly wedding! Pirouette Press, located in Piedmont Italy, can make it a perfect solution for couples wishing to have letterpress for their dream event in Europe.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Italian Independent Printers

This room was where we had our letterpress laboratory at the Museum of Printing. It’s the Amici di Piazza Cultural Arts Association space lent to us to demonstrate mostly letterpress poster design.
Greatest part was coming together with others that are a part of this growing Italian independent printing movement.

Sala di Amici di Piazza

Maria and Roxy

Monday, August 6, 2012

Passalo Shanti :: laboratorio di letterpress

web promotion for Passalo Shanti

Pirouette Press and the printing museum are gearing up to do a correlative event during the Mostra dell’Artigianato, artisan and arts fair in Mondovì. Special guests Officina Tipografica Novepunti are joining for a two day laboratory to get our hands dirty!

Pirouette Press ed il Museo della Stampa in preparazione ad un evento correlato durante la Mostra dell’Artigianato. Ospiti graditi, Officina Tipografica Novepunti per “sporcarsi le mani” per un’esperienza di laboratorio che durerà per due giorni.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Elisa’s business cards :: carta di visita

Elisa’s carta di visita

Custom logo design and letterpress business cards for recent PhD graduate and doctor.
The logo design was inspired by the palmette motif which has a long history that dates back to Ancient Greece and Egypt. This simple symbol has been thought to represent many things like an early version of the halo as well as a connection with the sun’s sunset and sunrise.

Paper :: Italian Fabriano Rosa Spina 200lb cotton paper
Cards printed with vegetable based ink in two colors:: dark chocolate brown and hand mixed aqua

Monday, July 9, 2012

Tune In or Tune Out :: design like radio.

How does one tap into their creative energies to start the creative process? This is a topic that comes up very often on design blogs and podcasts, and there are many schools of thought. Some think it’s a science and we can encourage if not downright demand it.  I’ve even heard of professors creating special zen like rooms where students can enter to specifically enact the process. While others on the other end of the spectrum prefer to think of it as an entity called “genius” that literally comes to you to share its magic. I think there’s some truth to both. It’s like tuning in, paying attention to when the mind is open to new or refreshed by old ideas. And so, yes, I think there is a sort of science behind it because it transpires more often when I hear good discourse, take a walk or bike ride around sunset, see good design and the list goes on...


Friday, June 22, 2012

Letterpress First Communion :: Prima Comunione

Letterpress invitations for Juliette’s first communion (prima comunione). This was a project for a rather spunky girl, and with her mother I worked on this custom design to set the tone. The prints were printed on a combination of fine Italian and French cotton papers in two colors.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Letterpress Workers Project/Event :: Work

This month I was at a closing of a letterpress poster event themed “Work”. It was hosted by 9punti, a group of nine designers come together to explore the art of letterpress. The event was staged at Archivio Giovanni Sachhi, a living museum where fantastic wooden models are archived made by Giovanni Sachhi for famed Italian designers as Aldo Rossi and Ettore Sottsass.

collage gs
Giovanni Sacchi workshop & wooden model for Campari
I had the opportunity to contribute a poster to "The Letterpress Workers" event along with other Italian  printers. I approached the concept of work like play. Both work and play entail rules to follow and objectives to obtain. My inspiration was Flemish Renaissance painter, Pieter Bruegel’s "Young Folk at Play”. The imagination of young people at play borders the seriousness of work, but the key is the sense of passion and joy revealed in the act of play. My paper choice was packing paper to connote the functional and durable.
IT: Concetto: Lettering per interpretare il Lavoro come Gioco. Ci sono delle regole ed obiettivi. Il lavoro visto in termine di gioco, lavora sodo attraverso l’immaginazione per creare soluzioni creative per raggiungere l’obiettivo.
Scelta di Carte: Carta di imballaggio per connotare il funzionale e durevole

More photos on my Flickr page

Hard Work at Play, Play Hard at Work, Work Hard at Play
My contribution along with Italian printers "Hard Work at Play, Play Hard at Work, Work Hard at Play”

Monday, May 14, 2012

Pirouette Press Laboratorio :: Creative Event

To celebrate my first year at letterpress printing, I opened up the laboratory to friends. I thought it would be nice to involve other creatives too. It turned out to be pretty international affair. Italian dressmaker Francesca Ferrero of Kòrai displayed some of her romantic and somewhat retro inspired designs, French photographer Jèrome Poulaier showed his street photography, Charlotte Le Noxaic spoke about her travel photos to exotic lands like Peru and Vietnam (nice to interact with the person that experienced firsthand and hear their explanations and impressions was, I think, an added bonus). Illaria Panero inspired us with her talk on Symbology, and a married duo from Texas happened to be in town to add to the fun. As it turned out  Jessica had studied art and design not so far from where my parents live, and contributed some paintings on wood with salvaged cornices. Corey whipped up great finger foods with just enough spice to remind me of Texas! Guests had the chance to get their hands inky and work up their own lettering designs to print up on my proof press and take home.

stationary peace love
Pirouette Press stationary presented at studio event

the proof
guest prints
Printed works by guests

Kòrai  dress designs by Francesca Ferrero

Friday, April 13, 2012

This is not a Taco Truck :: Kyle Durrie

It could happenstance you see this letterpress show on wheels in your town. I had heard about Kyle Durrie’s mint cross-country Kickstarter project (which twice met it’s goal of raising at least $8,000), and was intrigued. While visiting Flatbed Press and a series of prints Austin’s very own musician/artist, Bob Schneider had done, Kyle’s used delivery truck was conveniently sitting outside in the parking lot.

Inside Kyle Durrie’s studio on wheels

Lino’s print with Kyle

From top left: inside Flatbed Press, outside Flatbed Press and Kyle’s truck,
sample prints she’s done on the road

Friday, April 6, 2012

New Trends in the Art of Letterpess

This was a letterpress print submitted to the Danish Museum of Media, Denmark. It was a humbling experience as printers from all over Italy, America and Europe participated--I saw plenty of great work to aspire to. The project turned out to be a challenge given my set of wooden letters are Italian, both my hand lever press and proof press are German. Italian type height follows its own rules, lets just say, and so I found pressure from press to type to paper sensitive issues. I was dead set on using ultra thick cotton paper (now I’m interested in using thinner grades for my next submission coming up to the Salon Internazionale del Mobile in Milano), and so no easy task. This obstacle however, leant to a great blind emboss effect, but I still wanted for the wooden letter imperfections to show.

type poster

Evol Love 2011 letterpress print 15X16 cm

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Pizza Piemontese fatto in casa

Spent a great last weekend with Anna Savino and her husband who came into town for the weekend. She’s a food, wine and culture blogger covering northern Piedmonte, and in particular the Langhe hills wine region between the Italian Alps and Riviera. She’s easy to reach and anyone coming to this part of Italy should read her blog for some amazing tips on where to go to spend quality time. So, what better way to treat our friends than with some pizza ‘fatto in casa’ (made at home. Here she guides you with an illustrated step by step on how to make the best pizza. It’s a recipe formulated over many years of happy experimenting by a Piemontese called Lino.

(photos by Anna Savino in our kitchen)

Friday, March 9, 2012

A little Milk & Granola Perspective

Nothing like a little granola and milk humor to validate life’s existential questions. Droga5’s ads for Kraft MilkBite Bars asks those very important questions with this little guy named Mel (part granola/part milk). He’s discovered his artistic side, had dating dilemmas, joined a book club and confronted his parents (I’d personally like to see Mel sit down to do his taxes). Last I’ve heard he’s made his way out from the dairy section to engage in new experiences.

Great article on Adweek. You can also follow Mel on facebook-cool little morsel that he is.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Characteristics of a snail and Italy

Letterpress is not the easiest thing to catch on fire here in Italy and paradoxically it’s “new”, whereas in the States it’s “vintage". Italy with its own internal timer and tendencies, is a culture very connected to their roots. This is evident to me when I see a group of young adults still celebrate with a long meal and bingo at the end of the evening. New things come in small doses, and while in America there is so much to tap into, explore, share and a “let’s do it” attitude, Italy is conservative and reflective. It is a place of outstanding art and design where when steps are taken, they are taken at a snails pace, intentionally slow. It’s the dragging of the tail that shouldn’t be missed making strides.

Italia sul vino e paesaggio

Monday, February 13, 2012

XOXO = Love Amore Amour

These were some photo cards done in three languages: English, Italian & French. The French Amour edition were for Il Baluardo Ristorante as a special menù take-away concept for clients. Along with a romanic feast, they’re offering Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut on the wine card. Très romantique!

XOXO Love Photo/Cards
Il mio San Valentino :: portafoto carta
Saint Valentin 2012
rose photograph by Kate Trafeli

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Vintage Style_mini school notebooks

Letterpress Vintage style inspired notebooks. Thought the best way to tie up these notebooks were with a shoelace. We all remember learning to tie them at five and turning pro at seventeen -- focusing on the style of the shoe and having long forgotten the lace.

notebook collage
letterpress vintage inspired notebooks :: quaderni vintage

Friday, January 27, 2012

Adorable Cotton Tape

Stoked! I had recently been to Anthropologie in Austin and bought a brass P to hang my bookmarks and stuff on. They wrapped up my package with some cotton tape with their name printed on top, and I just had to find it... Got some ordered today along with a decorative Japanese Washi tape via Cute Tape and can’t wait for it to get here (hope it doesn’t get stuck in customs).

Friday, January 13, 2012

Rob Roy Kelly /// All American

ATX is where I spent my Christmas holiday with old&new friends and family. Another important point to my visit was to listen to some fine live music, which Austin and Gruene are popular for, and get in touch with some of Austin’s letterpress community. Wow, I think I hit the jack pot! One of the great visits I made was to the Rob Roy Kelly American Wood Type Collection. Thanks Laura for that:)

Rob Roy Kelly American Wood Type

It’s pretty amazing to think that only in Texas can you find a trove of comprehensive all American wood type manufactured in the 19th c. The coolest part of this visit, I think, was the private tour given by David Shields associate prof. of the design devision at University of Texas. Another clever endeavor done by the department was to even classify different modes of planing wood by the different early manufactures of wood type like J G Cooley, American Wood Type Co. and Hamilton Holly Wood Type Co.

Rob Roy Kelly American Wood Type
New American Wood Type_Virgin Wood Type

I also learnt of two gentleman who are keeping the craft alive by producing new American wood type. At Moore Wood Type specialized equipment has been produced to be able to use the finest of maple wood for cutting. Then there’s Virgin Wood Type out of the New York area who purchased crates full of goodies when American Wood Type Co. went out of business in 2001. They are on the exciting pursuit to sort and put names to type bought with the help of the American Wood Type catalog put together by none other Rob Roy Kelly.

Rob Roy Kelly American Wood TypeRob Roy Kelly American Wood Type