Monday, July 15, 2013

Freda / Charlie & Lee / TenOverSix

A selection of our letterpressed cards are now available at some inspiring new retailers; Susannah Lipsey's lifestyle shop Freda in Marfa, Texas; Charlie & Lee . . . a beautifully curated space in Vancouver's Chinatown district, and TenOverSix, an L.A. boutique with a major cult following, that opened two sister stores, both located in the lobby of Dallas' fashionable Joule Hotel.

Along with our excitement that TenOverSix Presents (T.O.S.'s annex) is featuring our cards and  art prints, we're especially stoked about this union as we're currently working with them on two secret branding projects! So if in Dallas, check out the gorgeous Joule lobby they designed, as well as their very first coffee house venture, Weekend . . . because what is shopping without a proper pour-over?

Photos: Freda artwork by Rotter and Friends, Charlie & Lee pic found on their Instagram, TenOverSix photo as seen on their blog (our "Good Vibes" print is on the far right shelf).

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Mad Lonny Love.

Being that we're huge fans of Lonny mag, we were beyond thrilled to spot our arrow-comprised "Thank You" card featured in the March issue (see below)! To view the card in detail, be sure to visit the Thunderwing shop. Special thanks to Cat Dash for featuring our beloved design in her stylish wish list : )

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Putnam History Museum

We feel lucky that we get to live and work in the historic hamlet of Garrison, New York, located in Putnam County; a stunning part of the Hudson Highlands region. This region is well-known for it’s rich history. We have the West Point Military Academy. It was here that the most critical battles of the  Revolutionary War took place. It was here that the American Environmental Movement began with the legislative battle against ConEdison, who planned to build a hydro-electric plant on Storm King Mountain. It was here that Russell Wright built his famous woodland home, Manitoga (meaning “place of great spirit”); setting the tone for Modernist living in America. And it was here that the Putnam County Historical Society & Foundry School Museum was established. 

Concluding that the existing name was a mouth-and-mind-full, we worked with museum director Mindy Krazmien and the museum's board of directors to revitalize the organization by first renaming it, and then rebranding it. For this 107-year-old institution, we came up with the name Putnam History Museum, which is a more succinct description of its function in the county and community.

Once a new name was established, we decided that the format and color should be contemporary and memorable, to catch people’s attention, while the form had to be stable and strong to represent the museum’s role as a community stronghold. The combination of typefaces suggests a span of time, from the beginning of the Dutch settlement to modern-day New York. The serif typeface we chose, DTL Fleischmann, is a revival of the eccentric Baroque typefaces designed by Johann Michael Fleischmann in the 18th Century. And the accompanying sans-serif typeface, Gotham Light, is a popular choice rooted in the no nonsense lettering of the American vernacular. The stacked, lined layout of typography suggests the organization of an archive. And the color we chose is inspired by rust; symbolic of age, particularly of iron, which refers to the museum’s relationship with the West Point Foundry.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Green Wave

It was a happy, cosmic coincidence that we were approached to create a logo by a Swedish duo debuting an online boutique, considering that Nic could respond fluently in their native tongue (he was raised by a Svensk-Mamma). So from the moment we connected with the folks from Den Gröna Vågen to design their branding, our bond was sealed . . . they were jazzed about Nic's Swede-ness, and we were excited about the prospect of using umlauts in a brand mark.

Den Gröna Vågen (The Green Wave) is a web shop of sustainably-minded, handcrafted goods hailing from Scandinavia, Japan and the Pacific Northwest. It's a project to which we feel emotionally connected, due in part to Nic's understanding of Scandi-culture, and the fact that I am a native Californian who digs natural materials and mellow vibes. The name Gröna Vågen was originally coined for a back-to-the-land movement that took place in Sweden, circa 1970s, when young families left the big cities to reclaim the countryside and live more aesthetically free and abundant lives. This idealistic concept resonates with us, considering we split Manhattan in 2009 for the same reasons, moving to New York's rural Hudson Valley, where we were able to create a spacious design studio, and have grassy hills for our Pug to run around.

For the logo, we channeled deep psychedelic hippie vibes from '60s and '70s Fillmore West concert posters, and experimented by soaking our hand-lettered design in dreamy watercolor ink washes. We're super excited about their boutique, and though it's hard to browse if you don't read Swedish, it's still a beautiful experience, with lovely products to peruse. Shown below are a series of eye-catching stickers we designed as a promotional tool in celebration of the site's launch.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Highlands Country Club + Tavern

In the picturesque hamlet of Garrison, New York, along the sweeping panorama of the Hudson River, lies the historic Highlands Country Club. Originally founded in 1898 as a clubhouse for local families, including those of William Osborn, Samuel Sloan, JP Morgan and Stuyvesant Fish, the HCC still thrives, especially for lovers of golf, tennis, or swimming, as well as those who visit the club's warm and inviting (and non-exclusive) TAVERN Restaurant. It is also a popular destination for weddings and society events.

As the HCC boasts quite a rich pedigree, we took a strong, but grounded and friendly approach to its re-branding. For the country club's logo (which required some updating and finessing) and for the restaurant, we developed a graphic language that would allow a distinction, but would tie them together thematically, and typographically (click images to view in detail).

For the Tavern branding, we took inspiration from the carved wooden signage of Colonial public houses. Printed items for Tavern include a business card, postcard, and menu, all letterpressed in brown ink on 100% cotton, natural white paperstock. To further aide in the nouveau-rustic look-and-feel of the branding suite, all the elements we created utilize a redrawn and revised version of Frank Atkinson's 1937 typeface, Half Classic Roman. We admired the inherent characteristics of the typeface, but made changes to the shape of some letterforms, and to the proportion and polish of the typeface in general.

Above are print advertisements we designed for Tavern, and its sister restaturant, Valley at The Garrison, which is another Hudson Valley golf club and luxury inn. These ads have been featured in culinary publications such as Edible Hudson Valley and The Valley Table.

For this project we also had the great fortune of working alongside web-gurus, Rodriguez-Valle on the development of the HCC site. We worked in tandem to unify and integrate the branding piece and the web (as can be seen in the interactive map that we illustrated). The result is distinguished, while maintaining the charm and happiness of the location.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Paper Peace

If on the hunt for happy holiday gifts, we've designed two wall hanging art pieces for our Winter collection.

The first, our hand-drawn "Radiate Good Vibes" poster, is an expansion of our most loved greeting cards, manifested in a framable art print, hot foil stamped on natural white 100% cotton paper, and printed in a signed, limited edition of 200.

It's a deeply meaningful piece for us, as it was conceptualized during Nic's recovery from a serious hand injury last year. Thankfully, he's all better now, which we believe is due in part to the positive healing power emanating from this artwork. Available in two colors; matte grey, and metallic gold, ready to reflect positive light all over your abode. —$45 Ea.

The Peaceful Wall Hanging can be used as a holiday ornament, or inspiring wall adornment year-round. Roughly 7” x 10”, and hot foil-stamped on two pieces of sturdy recycled board, then hung with paper twine handmade in Vienna, each is displayed on letterpressed backing in a clear bag, and sealed with a blank corresponding "To/From" sticker, for easy gifting. It is available in 2 Colors—white on heavy chipboard, or camel on thick white matboard. —$25 Ea.

Both the Vibes print and Peaceful wall hanging (click images for detailed view) can be purchased through Dream Collective (L.A.), or directly through us by emailing

Photos: Thunderwing Press

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Saturday, Dec. 8th > Save the Date!

Save the date for the 2nd annual Thunderwing Press open studio & holiday shop, on Saturday, December 8th, in Garrison, NY, from 1-8.

We'll be debuting our Winter 2012 card collection, along with spiritual wall hangings + limited edition poster prints. In addition to cards and curated crafts, we're also thrilled to be offering a special selection of jewelry by Kathryn Bentley's coveted line Dream Collective, designed and hand-crafted out of her Los Angeles studio.

10% of sales will be donated to the Red Cross, with another 5% donated to the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals, for Sandy relief.

For updates follow us on Twitter: @Thunderwingers.

Have a happy Thanksgiving, and see you at the party!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Lashing Out.

Interior designer Corina Lash has a special gift for employing natural, organic materials, and turning them into modern feats of design. But we're also impressed by her Stevie Nicks-obsession, which was our first major clue that we would be creating a logo for a kindred, witchy soul.

For her logo (shown above), we took inspiration from her interior design projects, as well as her blog, where she muses on things like the delicate lines of Cacharel frocks, the magic of the 1982 film The Dark Crystal, prisms, pastel hair, and pierrots. We filtered all this mysticism through a more serious lens, considering her many accomplishments as a designer, and the final result is a simple-yet-powerful logotype, with a hint of geometry, and lot of magic.

We also created business cards for Corina, printed on 100% cotton paper, off-white with a bit of texture, in a rich metallic gold foil that catches the light beautifully. It's a classic and minimal layout, but the materials feel like bars of gold laying on a sheepskin rug. We know we've designed something resonant for a client when we feel pangs of jealously over their cards. With these, we feel a bit like . . . why didn't we think of that for us? Lucky for Lash, we don't have an A in our name, so dreams of Giza would've been impossible anyway. Plus, Corina is the loveliest of ladies, not to mention gifted at what she does, so we're delighted to have made her happy.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Card of the Rings.

Nic focuses his heart in two directions . . . toward our Thunderwing Press endeavors, and his students at the School of Visual Arts, where he is a professor of graphic design and typography. As a gift to his Senior Portfolio class, he created hand-crafted, lettepressed keepsakes, to hopefully inspire, and show his appreciation for all the heartfelt work they create. Here is Professor Taylor's description of the gift . . .

The goal of any educator should be: To empower young people – not just to teach subjects and material – to teach ways of thinking, modes of conduct and to convey an enthusiasm for living and a high standard of aspiration.
During my own on-going education, I came across A Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi. Musashi is known for many things; he was a skilled craftsman, painter and calligrapher, sculptor, writer and strategist, but he is best known as the undefeated samurai. Engaging in over 60 contests for his life, he was never once harmed. He survived 6 wars, and is famous for having defeated multiple opponents simultaneously. During his final years, at age 63, he retired to a mountain cave, where he wrote his book. He describes it as "a guide for men who want to learn strategy." 
Among the countless pieces of wisdom found in this book, I came across a list dealing with honor and conduct. The page with this list has remained dog-eared for years, and I have finally transposed the list into a gift for my students. 
I remained 85-90% faithful to the original words, but made changes, hybrids, and edits where I felt necessary. The product is a small, thick card in 100% cotton paper, painted with a jet black edge, then letterpressed in hand-set lead type; the old-fashioned way in 10 point Garamond. The card is angularly wrapped in hand-made Nepalese Lokta paper, and sealed with Chinese black paper twine.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Bellocq the Casbah.

We've created hand-letterpressed gift cards for one of our most aesthetically admired clients,  Bellocq Tea Atelier, using only the most luxurious of papiers, to accompany their exquisite pure leaf teas.

Each card was letterpressed on richly textured, recycled Reich Odeon paper in classic white. Where most papers are made to look handmade, this stock is actually created using old world papermaking techniques, giving it a historic-feeling felt finish.

 We recently visited Bellocq at their dreamy sipping salon in Brooklyn's Greenpoint, which is a must experience for any lover of special tea blends, and a decadently bohemian atmosphere. Entering the atelier is a truly special happening, where you feel as if you've discovered a French-Créole opium den, circa 1890.
Inside their romantically plum-plastered walls are antique wood curio cabinetry and velvety blush banquettes, where the phrase high tea has never felt so perfect. Their blends, with seductive names like The White Wolf, Gypsy Caravan and Hindu Holiday, are liable to change your life (we're serious!) . . . or at least make your day feel a little more exotic.

Bellocq sometimes hosts mad tea salons with inspiring guests, such as an artisan chocolatier, accordionist, or an antique tin type photographer. Be sure to tell them Thunderwing sent you. 

To view the letterpressed business cards we also created for them, click here.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Garance Doré visits Thunderwing HQ.

We were given the dream task of designing and producing personal stationery for fashion photographer, blogger, illustrator and CFDA award recipient, Garance Doré, who also happens to be the loveliest of people (and if all that weren't enough . . . naturally gorgeous too). After having a blast conceptualizing and oohing-and-aahing over various handmade papers in the NYC flat she shares with her guy, Scott Schuman (aka; The Sartorialist), we went with a soft cotton paper in warm white, to be paired with a recycled kraft envelope, each one foil-stamped in rich gold, the cherry-on-top being that every card is accompanied by a vellum print featuring one of her inimitable fashion illustrations.

After completing the stationary suite, her curiosity about our creative process was still sparked, so one perfect Summer afternoon she, along with her team, came up to Thunderwing HQ in Garrison for a studio visit, to capture the letterpress process though her trusty, magical lens, which she lovingly wrote about here, on her gorgeous site (click the arrows to view all the wonderful photos).

What was only scheduled to be a brief tour, turned into a full day of lively conversation over tea and locally baked gluten-free French macarons, and we set off on a gorgeous nature walk around Russel Wright's modernist woodland home, Manitoga, browsed for vintage in historic Cold Spring, and visited local artistic friends whose stunning custom-built homes we knew she'd adore. She even conducted an impromptu shoot and interview with our stylish and inspiring neighbor Doris! We were just so jazzed to share our special enclave in the Hudson Valley with Garance, which was even more illuminated by her beaming, inquisitive, positive energy. 

Photo captions, from top: Our look at the stationery suite we created for Ms. Doré; A peek at our archive of vintage letterpress blocks, which she featured as the Weekend Inspiration on her site, along with our now famous letterpressed sandwich card; Garance's image of us working in the studio . . . Nic printing on our beloved turn-of-the-century Chandler & Price printing press, Aka: Grandpa; Pretty Garance exploring Cold Spring's Main St., after lunch on the porch at our local hang, Hudson Hil's.

Letterpress love and hugs to our PR wiz Delinlee Delovely for making this awesome collab happen, as well as Garance's sweet dream team . . . Emily & Alex. Thunderwing vous aime!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Cards, ahoy!

Based in New York's historic Hudson Valley, Urban Boatworks are wood artisans, having a vast combined knowledge of applications and techniques that span refinishing and restoring historic homes and crafting custom cabinetry, to building sailboats from scratch. They are believers in function first, and that true aesthetic beauty stems from intelligent engineering and high-quality construction. Everything from Dana & Julien's workshop is done with the utmost commitment and love.
 In developing their brand look-and-feel, we took inspiration from the Shaker movement, channeling classic simplicity, and heartfelt hand-craftsmanship. With guidance from Dana & Julien, we then articulated UB's mission statement, as well as the tag-line "Woodworking for Home and Sea". Because of the strong sense of tactility in what they do, we wanted them to have truly unique cards. They are twice as large as average business cards when unfolded from their envelope vessels. These envelopes can also be used to enclose color and material samples for their clients. Each piece was hand-letterpressed in a deep marine blue, with a typographic selection that is decidedly modern in arrangement but with a classical bent. The prevalence of the anchor is at once a symbol of sea-faring travel, as well as home and stability.
We are currently designing graphics for their company car, a sea-foam green Cooper mini that will soon be seen zipping up and down along the Hudson : )

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Karen Walker's Little Aliens.

Being that Nic & I both wear Karen Walker sunglasses on a daily basis (his: Pilgrim, mine: Anywhere), we were over-the-moon when journalist and PR guru Linlee Allen (aka: Delinlee Delovely) asked us to create style cards for the L.A. launch of Walker's Little Aliens collection.
For the soirée in April at the Chateau Marmont, we letterpressed individual style cards for each pair of sunnies in grey ink, each card resting in a custom fabricated neon-green plexiglass disc (shown below). Our displays were placed in front of antennae-adorned glitter-and-sequined mannequin heads by Claire Cottrell, and alongside dreamy wildflower and spacey protea arrangements by Lili Cuzor. We were also elated that Karen included our letterpressed “Sending Good Vibes” cards in each gift bag, which were so sweetly written about on Cuzor's blog.

To view more photos of the event, check out photographer Jeana Sohn's Closet Visit blog, Aussie Vogue, The Hollywood Reporter (featuring an interview with Walker herself), and The Chalkboard (brought to you by L.A.’s awesome Pressed Juicery, who catered liquid goodness for the party).

Vive le Little Aliens!

Photos (from top): Karen Walker, Stephanie Keenan, Thunderwing Press, Linlee Allen

Monday, July 2, 2012

Emma + Ben

We were ecstatic to be asked to design romantic wedding invitations for the union of Emma Forrest and Ben Mendelsohn. Ben is an actor hailing from Australia (with an insanely long filmography to his name), and Emma is a writer I've always adored. If you haven't read her riotously personal and beautiful memoir, Your Voice in My Head, it's a perfect Summer read. They were married at the fabled Chateau Marmont, a location dear to Emma's heart, as it is essentially a neighborhood clubhouse/home-away-from-home for the couple, and was also featured in her first novel, Namedropper (released in 2000), which is what first made me fall for her word wizardry. So when Emma asked us to create something unconventional yet still full of classic old Hollywood romance, we were over the moon! 

Taking inspirational cues from the Chateau's storybook architecture, Film Noir, and a book the couple so sweetly sent us about the nuptials of classic Hollywood stars, we first designed a save-the-date featuring a 1940s photo of Bogie and Bacall that Emma & Ben adore. We playfully mixed the iconic Martinique banana leaf wallpaper pattern from the Beverly Hills Hotel, with a custom crest imbued by the Chateau's heraldic-style neon sign, to create a feeling rooted in Los Angeles folklore.

Being that both Emma & Ben are soundtrack obsessed, they also wanted us to instill a rock 'n roll vibe into the piece, so we designed the invitation as a broadside, inspired by '70s Rolling Stones tour posters, so each invitation would feel like a frame-able work of art when pulled out of the industrial mailers that guests received. By an act of kismet, my sister, Lizzie Brandt, emailed us a beautiful photo she had recently taken of swaying Santa Monica palm trees, which became the background image in silhouette, silk-screened on creamy sepia-toned cotton paper from France, in metallic gold by Brooklyn's Haven Press, along with the '40s Technicolor-inspired custom burgundy and sea-foam green shades we had chosen for the vintage customized type and crest designs.

At the bottom of the invite, we added two custom Art Deco monograms, as well as the RSVP date in roman numerals; each gesture inspired by the opening credits of classic films (see an example from the 1939 Claudette Colbert film, Midnight, below).

We're ecstatic to have taken part in the joining of two creative and passionate souls, who will endlessly inspire each other, and for eons longer than Bogie & Bacall had the chance to. Mazel Tov, you two!