We will be updating this page with sample work as it happens, so please check back frequently.  Some of the work will be posted because we are particularly proud of it, some because it has an interesting story, and some because the client deserves a shout-out for being so darn cool.

Comments are closed.

Finishing: The Painted or Foiled Edge

July 11, 2012

Edge painting, edge coloring, colored edges; there are many names that describe this process and we have used them all. This process is not new by any means, but we have noticed more and more people are asking for it in the last few months. Edge painting can be matched to an existing color in the design or it can be done with a contrasting tone to add an unexpected pop of color. Finishing processes like this can really add polish to a card design.

This process is often done with engraving ink, which has a matte finish for the non-metallic Pantone colors and a shimmery finish for the metallics. If you’re looking for a very shiny metallic look, foiled edges are the way to go (more on that farther down).

We send out for this process, so it does add to the production turnaround. Below are some examples of business cards with edge painting.
business cards with painted edges
business cards with painted edges

When a shiny metallic finish is needed, foil edging is the best method. We outsource this process as well, so be prepared for longer turnaround. There is a wide range of foil colors available, however gold and silver are by far the most popular. There aren’t many things quite like opening a box of foil-edged cards and seeing a field of metallic staring back at you. Here are some cards with gold foil edging.
business cards with gold foil edges

Notes: Various papers used in the painted-edge stack, Huckabit business cards printed in three colors on 179# Crane Fluorescent White Kid finish cover. Gold-foil edged cards printed in two colors plus gold foil stamping on 110# Crane Lettra Fluorescent White cover.

SF Made Holiday Sale – THIS SUNDAY!

December 9, 2011

Come support creative, locally-made gifts and treats this season and get all your shopping done in one place! This sale features over 45 manufacturers that completely produce their products in San Francisco. The Fort Mason Farmer’s Market is also happening Sunday, so you can even get some yummy fresh market fare. We’ll be at the sale all day. Hope to see you there!

SFMade Holiday Gift Fair on Sunday, December 11th From 10 am- 5pm at the Fort Mason Fleet Room. Featuring 50 SFMade members selling their locally made gift items including: jewelry, bags, chocolate, home items, apparel, body products, children’s wear, pet gear, and stationary.
This Sunday!
10 am- 5pm
Fort Mason Fleet Room 

No entrance fee
San Francisco’s biggest local shopping event is almost here!

Including: Jewelry, bags, chocolate, wine, home items, apparel, body products, children’s wear, pet gear, stationary and more
With 50 vendors you’re bound to find something for everyone!
Featuring: Poco Dolce Confections, DODOcase, Taylor Stitch, Heliotrope San Francisco, Weston Wear, Dependable Letterpress, Sally Spicer, Kika’s Treats, Booty Boutique, Studio Patro, Words and Watercolors, Pladra, In Haus Press, Timbuk2, Paste, Gwen Gear SF, UPsicle, Relode, Glammic, Tamo Design, TCHO, Earthbody, Toute la Nuit Loungewear, Skin on Skins, The Chai Cart, Nosh This, Gooseberry Press, Novodeco, Peggy Li Creations, Project Greenbag, Latticestix, Nectar Essences, Lemon Twist, Woodthumb, ElfSocks, Rickshaw Bags, Wolf & Bears Workshop, Tourance, FAZE Apparel, The Winery SF, Urban FarmGirls, FAVOR & Hotcakes Design, Hilside Bags, Dimension 3, Hey Boo, Wabella, Cocoa, Sharon Zimmerman Jewelry Design, and Tanya Madoff Designs.
Did we mention it’s on the same day as the Farmer’s Market?
You’ll knock those errands out of the park!
Invite your friends on FACEBOOK
PS- Help SFMade win $5,000 with just one click!
Show us your vote by 12 pm today if you believe in making it better, by making it locally. Brookside Foods and Good Magazine will award a grant to the top-voted community organization.

Javier Garcia

October 19, 2011

Javier Garcia of Javier Garcia Design has written on his own blog talking about the process of designing and printing his letterpress printed business card. Since we could not say it better than he did, we’ll just show you a picture of the finished card and give you a link to his blog post if you’d like to know more.

Notes: Printed in 3 colors on 179# Crane Fluorescent White cover

Spinning Wedding Program

October 5, 2011

Spinning wedding program and site map

We love to create fun pieces like this spinning wedding program. We printed flat sheets then die-cut the pieces using custom dies. Hand-assembly with eyelets finished the programs. We were sure to take care to let the wheel spin freely. It was a great way to show the guests where each event was happening and what time they should be there as well as giving them a fun keepsake to take with them. The design was created by Ezster Rabin (

Notes: Printed in 2 colors on 250 gsm Stonehenge Warm White with the inner wheel printed in 1 color.

The Hand-Written Print

January 12, 2011

Preparing hand-written or hand-drawn artwork for letterpress printing is not as difficult or intimidating as many may think. Hand-drawn artwork can take on an entirely new charm when letterpress printed, and we have had some great results. Calligraphy is especially pleasing when relief printed. A follow-up post will go into more detail explaining one of the methods to prepare hand-drawn images, but while we put that together, here are some photos to illustrate the type of hand-drawn art that works well for letterpress printing.

Hand-written hand-drawn letterpress invitations

hand-written letterpress wedding invitation detailHand-written calligraphy letterpress wedding invitation

Calligraphy letterpress wedding invitationHand-written letterpress wedding invitation

The Blind Deboss

September 7, 2010

When asked if we offer embossing, we hesitate to say no right away. Often when asking for embossing, people actually mean a blind hit. Embossing is a process that requires a die and a counter die, while a blind deboss is letterpress printing without ink which allows us to use our standard printing plates. While we do not offer embossing in-house, we are happy to out-source this process when combined with letterpress printing. Below are examples of blind debossing.

Blind deboss Peter Samuels PhotographyBlind deboss letterpress business card Kyle Minor Design

Blind deboss letterpress business card ArboretumBlind deboss letterpress business card Janna Cordeiro

Blind deboss letterpress business card Lisa ZiffBlind deboss letterpress business card Tim DuFour

Kropuenske/Anderson Wedding Invitation

September 2, 2010

Green and grey modern leaves letterpress wedding invitation

Green and grey modern leaves letterpress wedding invitation detail

Becky Chan of Honey and Bloom designed this beautifully modern invitation suite. The solid green leaves were achieved by double-inking the green plate. This bright green and warm grey color combination has become a favorite around the shop.

Notes: Printed in 2 colors on 220# Crane Lettra Pearl White paper with matching printed Lettra envelope

Joey Roth Poster

Charlatan Martyr Hustler Poster

Poster detail

This poster idea was created by San Francisco industrial designer Joey Roth. The original which was featured in the hustler-themed 48 Hour Magazine was not letterpress printed, but Joey wanted to have a special edition printed with us following the encouraging response for the poster in the magazine’s release. You can purchase the poster on Joey’s website here.

Notes: Printed in black on 32# Crane Lettra Pearl White on the Nebiolo cylinder press

Esch/Hunt Save the Date

September 1, 2010

Every once in a while we are requested to print on non-traditional material. When asked to print on wood veneer, we were skeptical, but anxious to see the results. Wood veneer does not allow for a deep impression, but the uneven surface does create a neat weathered look, showing off the patterns in the woodgrain.

Notes: Printed in 1 color on wood veneer in Maple from

Perpetual Calendar

Our first self-promotional piece has gone out, and many thanks to all who have written with kind comments about it.  It was a lot of work, but we’re all very proud of the final result. The idea came from a small, pocket-sized metal perpetual calendar given away by Kaufman-Seeds in Ashtown, Arkansas in 1973.

Notes: Printed in 5 colors on the front and 5 colors on the back on 18 pt Mohawk Renewal board. The moving wheel mechanism between the front and back boards is printed in 3 colors.

If you would like one, you can visit our Etsy store at

Turner Duckworth Holiday

April 22, 2010

London skyline letterpress card

This clever illustration was created for Turner Duckworth’s 2009 Holiday card. The illustration is printed on a separate sheet that is then tipped into an embossed “frame” on the folding card.  We mounted half of the cards to show the London skyline, and half to show the San Francisco city scape, for the two offices of Turner Duckworth. The large solids were difficult to achieve, but definitely worth the effort.

Notes: Printed in 3 colors on 110# Lettra fluorescent white

Your presence is key!

March 5, 2010

Save the Date, Presence is Key, Maybelle Imasa-Stukuls

Here is a beautiful save the date token designed by Maybelle Imasa-Stukuls, one of our favorite calligraphers, treat-bringers and jet-set globetrotters.  The tag is printed on 220# Lettra Duplex for maximum depth of impression, die cut with a slot hole punch to accommodate a wide ribbon.  Maybelle sourced the perfectly-rusted keys at a Paris flea market.  Check out Maybelle’s other work here.

Heart SF

January 28, 2010

Check out the just-opened Heart wine bar on Valencia St near 24th.  It’s a beautiful space and a great new addition to the Mission’s bountiful offerings for food and drink.  Kitchenette is serving food, there is art on the walls… and we printed their business cards.

Notes:  One color printed in two passes, on 110# Lettra Pearl White cover, die cut


We love working for wineries, in part because the letterpress process is such a great complement to what making wine is about- a traditional craft, an interest in quality over quantity, and an appreciation for having good work to do.  Chanda Williams is one of our favorite designers not only for her beautiful work but because she brings us so many great clients.

Notes:  Printed on Somerset Velvet Soft White 300g printmaking paper

Jonathan Richman

We rarely get to use lead type anymore- in this age of desktop typesetting, few designers are comfortable delegating the typesetting to someone else, and hardly anybody remembers the traditional protocols around specifying typesetting.  Nevertheless, on occasion we get to use the type that rests in our cases and it’s always nice to revive the old skills and working processes.  When Jonathan Richman came into the shop to talk about a business card for his side business doing masonry he spotted the type cases and said, “I want that!”

Business card, lead type, hand set

I promised to draft something for him, and later that day began looking through the type for something suitable.  I pulled a galley of type out of the galley case but it was a short galley mixed in with the long ones, so I dropped it, pi-ing an entire galley of 12 pt. Nicholas Cochin.  Was it a sign?  Who knows.  It’s what we used, after several hours of picking up the type and getting it standing on its feet again.  One of these days we’ll distribute that type properly….

Designer: Dependable Letterpress
Client: Arcane Masonry

Black ink on 110# Lettra Ecru cover, printed from hand-set foundry type

Weideman/Wright wedding invitation

This beautiful wedding suite featured calligraphy and illustration by the groom.  We assisted in formatting the files for printing and resizing artwork to best fit the envelopes.  It was a deeply personal invitation to a special and unique event, ably coordinated by Nicole Sillapere and Rosemary Hattenbach.

Notes:  Printed in three colors on 110# Lettra Pearl White, using matching Lettra Marquis envelopes

Gift Tags

This holiday gift from Rubber Design featured gift paper patterns fashioned from rejected logo designs.  The letterpress-printed gift tags were packaged with offset-printed gift wrap sheets.  This was printed on our Nebiolo cylinder press, which enabled us to get the solid ink coverage on the larger areas in the design over the full 10 x 12″ sheet.

This has been turned into a product available soon from Notion Farm.

Notes:  Two colors plus blind deboss on 110# Crane Lettra Pearl White cover, die cut

Tooth Fairy

January 21, 2010

We love these unique tooth keepers from Notion Farm, a project of our friends at Rubber Design.  Award winning!  Get one for the tooth-dropping kid in your life.

Notes:  Two colors in three passes on 110# Crane Lettra Pearl White.

Magic Ray and Mystic Pen | Musée Mécanique

The Musée Mécanique is a San Francisco treasure, a private collection of arcade games, folk art animatronic dioramas, fortune telling machines and photo booths.  Don’t miss the world’s only steam powered motorcycle!  We are proud to be the printer for the fortune cards that come out of some of the fortune telling machines.  These historic designs came with the machines, and we replicated the artwork from scans of past printings.

The antique vending machines require cards of a specific thickness in order to vend properly, which means they have to be printed with a letterpress.  The biggest logistical challenge to printing these fortunes is collating the thousands of cards so that the same fortune doesn’t ever get delivered twice in a row.

Milling bases for printing plates

Dan Zelinsky, proprietor of the Musee, milled us some fortune-sized blocks to mount the plates on in the MM machine shop.  We form a Useful Machine Admiration Society, new members are welcome.

Notes:  Two-sided printing on poster board.