Imagine touching an image of a record disc on paper and it plays the song on your ipad!

I came across this amazing 11 minute video of Kate Stone on…

Kate says “I love paper and I love technology.”

She creates interactive printed paper using ordinary paper, conductive inks and tiny circuit boards.

Take 11 minutes out of your day to be amazed and inspired by a woman who ‘successfully failed at school’, then spent 4 years herding sheep on a station in NSW, Australia. She then returned to the UK to study electronics and later went on to complete her PhD in physics where her focus on moving electrons eventually led to the creation of her ground breaking company, Novalia and creating interactive paper…

Stone sees herself as a “creative scientist,” blending art and science to create startling fusions of new and old technology. To date, applications include a newspaper embedded with audio and video, posters that display energy usage in real time, and the extremely cool paper drum kit and set of DJ decks she demonstrates on stage.

Imagine this technology in an invitation? Perhaps it’s the future…

Cheers Jodie

Letterpress – just a buzz word?

Whiteman Park Print Shop Wedding Invite

Letterpress invitation on Crane Lettra by Whiteman Park Print Shop – Perth

Letterpress… trendy, expensive, vintage, tactile and exclusive.

The guys who’ve been around a while (AKA the ones who did their apprenticeships on this old machinery) recon’ it’s hilarious.

They can’t believe ‘Letterpress’ is now really groovy and in fashion when they thought it was old technology.

Hints for the Pressman

Published in 1957 – this book is came with one of our T Platens

We’ve had a couple of old Heidelberg T Platens for years. One doesn’t have the printing head as we only use it for die cutting and the other we print our Designer Letterpress range on. We also have a Heidelberg cylinder for the larger die cuts.

Recently I advertised for an operator to run our old machinery.

Each applicant looked at me incredulously when I explained to them how nowadays people want the deep-etched look you can only achieve with cotton papers and being heavy handed with the press. These guys had been in the industry a long time…

T Platen Gold Ink

Printing ‘Antoinette’ on our T Platen

You see, in the ‘old days’, if you could feel the impression on the back of a page, it wasn’t acceptable. The mark of a good printer was the perfect kiss-impression….just touching the paper enough to clearly see the print.

But they all love operating these ‘old girls’ though. Set this, tweek that. But once she’s going, get yourself a cuppa and just keep an eye on her.

Have a watch of our T Platen ‘Ed’ going – yep, ours is a bloke just to be different…

… I love the sound of the swoosh swoosh! It’s kind of comforting… Between that and the sound of our ole’ envelope machine, there’s no need for music in our workshop!

See ‘Ed’ in action…

Impressworks printed iflap envelope

Printed Crane Lettra iflap Envelope by Impressworks QLD

With the craftsmen ageing, the knowledge how to expertly operate these machines is sadly disappearing. However, with the new popularity of letterpress, they have the opportunity to pass on their lifetime of experience and knowledge to a new breed of printer excited by the possibilities of this timeless process.

With people like Phil at Whiteman Park Print ShopDesignworks and YouTube, the craft is not only staying alive, but thriving!

In my research for this post, I came across a wonderful competition by Whiteman Park Print Shop to celebrate 25 years in business. The winners will be part of their exclusive letterpress art exhibition titled ‘My Perth’. For full details, go here.


The delivery end of our envelope machine.

Are you interested to know how an envelope is made and see our vintage FL Smythe envelope machine in action too?

Cheers Jodie

5 ways to make Jodie’s ‘Soft Dollars’

Soft Dollars

I’ve been making ‘Soft Dollars’ for years. I can’t even remember where I learnt the term from.

But when I began writing this post, I thought I’d better google it.

To my surprise, Wikipedia’s definition begins with “is a term generally used in the asset management and securities industries” (I stopped reading there)…

Hence why I titled this post as ‘Jodie’s Soft Dollars.’

To understand my soft dollars concept, you need to think perceived value VS actual cost.

You can get very creative with soft dollars. Whether you have a retail store or home studio business, soft dollars can work for you too.

$$$ Here are my top 5 ways to make some soft dollars

1. Free class – you need to be already running and charging for these classes. Let’s say you charge $35 for a two hour class. It costs you $80 in wages & materials, so you need to have 2.5 paying customers to break even. However, you always give a discount immediately following the class, so you make profit there on anything they purchase (and they usually buy up well due to the discount). Therefore, to give someone a free class, the perceived value is $35, but all it costs you is the materials as long as you have a couple of paying customers. 2 for 1 class is good as they get to bring someone along for free, or split the cost between them! The extra, added benefit of the free class soft dollar, is you get a better atmosphere in your classes with more people, so they enjoy it more and recommend it to their friends. Happy Days.

2. DIY Creation Guides – To someone who’s not brilliant with MS Word, has a small budget but wants a gorgeous invitation, you could save their day by offering the free Guides & templates on your own website. Who knows what price they could perceive them at. Time is a precious commodity.

3. Free RSVP cards (or Gift Cards or whatever they haven’t ordered) – It might cost you a little time to create the artwork, but if you can make them out of off-cuts or waste, the cost is negligible. Whatever you normally charge is the perceived value.

4. Hand out free note pads with your jobs – Keep all your off-cuts, trim to any size (no matter how small) and make into note pads. To do this, jog the piles of paper so they’re even. Set up several piles along a bench, with the edge to be glued slightly hanging over the bench. (You can make taller pads and tear them into smaller ones if you prefer.) Put some decent weights on them. We use bricks. Get some regular PVA glue and a paint brush. Paint the edge hanging over. Let dry. Voila! Little pads. Careful not to put too much glue on, or to glue it to your good kitchen bench!

5. Utilise full-time staff (if you have them) during quieter times to make your little pads. The point is, you’re paying them (or yourself) to work every day anyway. It would no longer be a soft dollar if you had to get someone in to make them…

What soft dollar ideas can you come up with? Go back to the top of this post and click on ‘Leave a Comment’ to share you ideas.

Remember… perceived value, not real cost.

Cheers Jodie