Folklore & Letterpress: A Beautiful Calendar by Studio on Fire

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Studio On Fire earned Best in Show for this project in the Midwest category of the 2015 Regional Design Annual—the most prestigious design competition in the USA. See more winners from the Midwest, and be sure to enter by the April 1 deadline!

Making a calendar in the 21st century is a bold move. It’s hard to compete with the ease of organizing our lives on the glowing devices in the palms of our hands. But for 15 years, Studio On Fire, a Minneapolis letterpress shop, has produced a calendar as a client gift and a vehicle to show their stuff. They’ve made it clear that there’s only one way to take a fading concept and make it into something that would be unfathomable to discard: Make it memorable.

So memorable, in fact, that you want to look at it every day for a year. “Studio On Fire’s work shows how ink on paper has moved beyond the ephemeral,” says judge Charles S. Anderson. “I view them as collectible pieces of art and testaments to the power of great design combined with impeccable printing.”


2015 Studio On Fire Letterpress Calendar // Studio On Fire, Minneapolis;, Studio On Fire (creative direction/art direction/design/illustration), Valerie Jar, Brian Gunderson, Drew Millward, Tyler Gross, Mattson Creative (illustrators); Studio On Fire (client)

Every year, Studio On Fire chooses a theme, color palette and paper stock, and then selects illustrators whose styles will translate well to letterpress. The 2015 “Folklore” theme was born during a brainstorm on the studio’s front stoop, and the team settled on four spot colors to bring it to life, along with a wood grain pattern to letterpress with a tonal ink.


“At our studio, the print processes are really part of the design process, [and] this calendar is a prime example of that,” says Studio On Fire senior designer Sam Michaels. “Figuring out how things are going to be produced and then making sure the artwork is appropriate is a conversation we have with clients daily.”

It’s clear that for this personal project, the team heeded their own advice—resulting in a lasting impression all year long.


Don’t miss your chance to be spotlighted in the pages of PRINT’s 2016 Regional Design Annual! Deadline: March 11, 2016. Enter today!