November 21, 2014

Machines without Screens #1 & How to Add QR Codes to Your Handcrafted Business Cards

Yes there is such a thing as a wireless printer that doesn't require a battery. The beautiful treatment you find from letterpress printing uses press machines like this one pictured below, with some dating back to the 15th century.

Recently, I visited Liliqoi Studios in Hayes Valley with my fellow blogger and friend Kelly Egan from A Side of Sweet. We are working on some future video collaborations, and wanted to investigate the inner workings of this handcrafted and timeless tradition to see if it was a good place to start.

Stay tuned for future Sweet & Sweet Video Collabs!


The two ladies who run the studio are very talented and accommodating. They offer all sorts of workshops and fun activities for groups and parties. You can find more here about events like the upcoming DIY holiday card party with wine and cheese. (Sounds fun!)


Examples of their beautiful letterpressed treatments:



We also got a quick lesson on how to letterpress. It is definitely a skill, but with a little practice and a lot of elbow grease, it is very rewarding to create something like this by hand.


First a demonstration.


I cautiously approach the press - with so many levers and no user interface or automation in sight - it was a little intimidating.


First you have to push this giant wheel, which gets everything running.


Like, really push it.


Still not hard enough? Jessica stepped in to offer a hand.


It only took a few tries, but at last I printed a card, and now I'm hooked - letterpress for everything!


Inspired, I went off to find color in the artful world of Hayes Valley for my own business card design. We came across some beautiful graffiti and I fell in love with these colors. I'm in the process of a rebrand, but one thing my business cards will have is a little pop of color, and the second is a custom QR (Quick Response) code. Mostly for fun, but also for the techy folks who want quick access to my mobile website.



If you would like to generate your own custom QR code for business cards or anything else, you can try sites like this one from qrd.by - its fast, easy and free.

There are also sites that let you create your own design like this one from Visual Lead which makes it visually more appealing.

Have fun designing and let me know how it goes!

-XO Julia



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