By Carmen Pease
Age before beauty, they say. Not so with the announcement for letterpress-printer Peter Kruty Editions’ 10-year anniversary, where both take the cake. "It truly captures all their skill in a small card that speaks volumes," says judge Megan Patrick. "I can’t think of a more effective way to approach self-promotion." Which is why this whimsical birthday card, with its parade of pretty, picture-book characters, snagged this year’s Best of Show.
"Ten years of print production might be only a blip in the five-century legacy of letterpress printing," owner Peter Kruty says. "But for us, it was truly a milestone of surviving and thriving; a moment to reconnect with clients and friends we’d met along the way, a chance to open ourselves up to new collaborations and to a greater awareness within the design community."
What made the judges so sweet on the piece was its eye-catching intricacy and attention to detail. "I was just amazed by the sheer craftsmanship of the piece, especially the careful registration of multiple-color letterpress printing," says judge Bryn Mooth. Even judge Tricia Bateman had to pull out her loupe and marvel at the card’s exquisite five-over-four-color production.
"We wanted to show the level of design sophistication that is possible with contemporary letterpress," Kruty explains. And yet the piece is refreshingly devoid of the overdone brashness that seems to befall too many print-shop promos. Instead, the four-person team at Peter Kruty Editions showed off their talents with details like the screened, tint-color fills of the critters’ ears. "It’s the perfect representation of Peter Kruty Editions’ capabilities," Mooth explains. "All the lavish, expensive and over-produced printer’s promos could take a cue from this piece."
That’s because, in the truest sense of self-promotion, they stuck to processes and supplies that they’d use in typical client work. The paper, for instance, is the same stock they keep on hand for wedding invitations. And the retro imagery? Right again—it’s not just sugar on top. They chose the "troupe of sprightly animals," as Kruty calls them, as a way to reflect the shop’s own design style and to lure more like-minded artists and designers to turn to them with projects.
Art director Sayre Gaydos adds, "Some of our clients even thought that there was actually a party happening, and they wrote in inquiring about the details!"
Fortunately, it’s efforts like these that let the group have their cake and eat it, too: "Any promotional effort creates excitement and a heightened sense of team spirit," copywriter Kat Bridges says. "It was thrilling to get together and imagine a charming piece heading toward hundreds of mailboxes, representing each of us individually and the shop as a whole."
Kruty adds, speaking to his favorite part of the project, "And of course, we enjoyed trying to figure out which of us was supposed to be which party animal."
Get the October 2006 Self-Promotion Design Annual
Title 10th Anniversary Promotion
Design Firm/Client Peter Kruty Editions, Brooklyn, NY; www.peterkrutyeditions.com
Art Director Sayre Gaydos
Designer/Illustrator/Printer Amelia Grohman
Copywriters Peter Kruty, Amelia Grohman, Kat Bridges