Tactile Connections

October 19, 2016 Written by Jocelyn Kearl

At Third Sun, we work in an almost paperless world. We design websites and advise clients on how to deal with their online communications. Even so, we work to create the feeling of textures and depth as part of our digital designs. Life is just better with texture.

When we get to live in the real world of physical textures on print design projects, it's always interesting to consider how the printed piece can create a tactile connection.

Several years ago, one of our favorite graphic designers in town, Gabriella Hunter, designed a stunning letterpress holiday card for us and recommended Bjørn Press + Design in Provo to do the work. Letterpress is an artisan process using plates and ink that hearken to a day before Kinkos and digital printing.

The letterpress work from Bjørn Press was beautiful and the impact was memorable.

Over the years, we've used letterpress from Bjørn Press for our holiday cards, our 10-year anniversary coasters, and our business cards. When the project calls for it — and the client's budget allows for it — we get to use Bjorn Press for other print pieces that create a unique, texture-rich moment.

Recently, we designed a complete branding package for Geneviève Company, a progressive wealth management and financial technology firm. The goal of the design (and the company) was to evoke old world, banking values with modern financial methods. That classic, established feel came out in the branding, but the printed pieces took it one step further.

With help again from Bjørn Press, we designed a heavy, letterpressed card on a soft, cream stock. We added gold foil as the finishing touch, creating a card you can’t help but rub between your thumb and fingers. We hear sometimes that business cards aren’t relevant anymore. But how often do you hand out a card that your clients can’t help but study, touch, and ultimately remember?

And if the collaboration with Bjørn Press wasn’t good enough already, there turned out to be a Small Lake City twist in the story. The owner and proprietor, Bryce Knudson, was my classmate in graduate school at BYU. A poet, Bryce found printing as a way to lay out poetry.

As things go in our digital world, I'd sent Bryce jobs over the years but had never seen him in person and hadn't made the connection to the Bryce Knudson in my grad program, until one day, I decided to go personally pick up a print job to see the studio he runs with his wife and artist, Deborah, in the garage behind their Provo home.

I love that two nerdy English majors (sorry, Bryce, but I figure we can own that with a badge of honor) ended up in separate but complementary worlds where we get to help our clients create impact.