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Looking into Letterpress with Carolyn Fraser - Calling Cards

15th July, 2011
Jenny Butler
Friday 15th July 2011

We have been so fortunate to have Carolyn Fraser from Idlewild Press on the Guest Blog this week and we have loved every minute of Looking into Letterpress with her. A big thank you Carolyn for such a beautiful week! Remember to check out Carolyn's blog here and if you are interested in a hands-on letterpress experience Carolyn runs classes too! - Jenny x

A selection of business cards letterpress printed by Carolyn Fraser.

Everyone should have a calling card. Not a business card, but a personal card with just enough information for someone to find you again. In the 18th and 19th centuries, elaborate etiquette governed the use of calling cards in social visiting. Turning down the upper left-hand corner of your card vs. the lower left was the difference between sending congratulations and expressing condolence. We moderns often bemoan confusing sms-speak (a friend only recently learned that LOL does not mean Lots of Love), but the 19th century was a social minefield as well, and the calling card was one of its primary technologies. These days, a calling card is a welcome respite from having to remember someone's e-mail address or their Twitter name. And gentlemen, let me tell you: it's a very classy way to introduce yourself to a dame. I'd be checking you out on Facebook, for sure.

If I wasn't a printer myself, I'd be asking James Taylor at Taylor'd Press to make my set. Letterpress is a side-line to James' offset printing business, and he combines the two in ingenious ways. Here are some lovely examples of his work:

Offset solid backs, grey letterpressed fronts onto Stpehen Chilled white 330gsm card. Designed by Monkey C.

Business cards letterpress printed on drink coaster 390gsm. Designed by Phil Campbell.

Letterpress printed on Stephen Smart White 330gsm card. Business cards perforated, bound into books of 30′s with a wrap-around cover. Designed by studio worldwide.

Offset printed 2 sides and Black Letterpressed front onto Drink Coaster 390gsm.  Designed by The Design Baker.

Letterpress printed on Drink Coaster 390gsm card.  Designed by Maythorpe.

Offset black printed then Blind Letterpressed on Stephen Smart white 330gsm card.  Designed by Light Creative.

- Carolyn x

The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email