There’s a raging debate among letterpress printers as to the depth of an impression, of which I’m sure we’d all be better informed were it not for the hysteria surrounding the release of Top Gun: Maverick.
Shannon Vindiolo of YozoStudio pays little heed to this when running her letterpress; she knows exactly the depth and the amount of ink to use regardless of the fiery rhetoric of fellow artisans.
Samples of her work line the walls of her spotless studio. Each piece is unique, often with a sense of humor, and exactly the kind of card I plan to send to everyone on my holiday list after I find gold in my backyard. (Though she works well within a budget.)
Shelves on one side of her office are lined with stationary and gifts, some she’s made and some that lend to her aesthetic. The opposite shelves are filled with thematic kids’ party accessories, including hats, toys, and party favors. She plans to open an e-commerce site, offering these items for purchase along with planning tips and ideas.
I’ll take this moment to mention her expansive talent. Like, if something can be designed she’ll design it. Design an amazing event? Yep. Design an entire personal branding campaign? Mm hmm. Design her entire house and studio when she moved to Westport from Dallas two years ago?? Uh… YEAH.
How does she do it? Being thoughtful and creative is key, but her self-professed “super-human organizational powers” contribute.
But the cornerstone of her mini-empire are her extraordinary custom cards and stationary. She crafts each card and note by hand, selecting the stock, cutting the cards, and pasting photos (if necessary). Many pieces include a logo which - wait for it - she designs. Her envelopes may even be hand-lined with paper from her collection of ‘70s wrapping paper.
On the bottom floor of her studio are two enormous letterpresses, a Vandercook Proof press from the 1950’s and a Heidelberg Windmill from the 1960’s, for debossing the fabulously thick stock she uses. The Heidlberg, in particular, is a beast. She warns me, “This one you don’t want to get close to or you’ll lose your finger or,” she laughs, “your head.” I discreetly step back as the monster roars to life, scarily but precisely slicing the printed stock into perfect circles.
She picks up a circle to make sure it’s perfect enough for her client. While making an adjustment to the press she muses, “Each piece [I design] should have strategy and thought to it, a concept,” then sets down the circle, “I like to make life beautiful.”