Mohawk Blog

Frank Baseman: The Love Notes

Words
Casey Fisk
Photography
Sam Fritch
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Roses are red, violets are blue, Keaykolour comes in 43 lovely hues.

Frank Baseman (Base Press) loves letterpress. When he isn’t molding minds as a professor in the Graphic Design Communcation program at Jefferson, you can often find him through the Dorothy doors of his basement, tenderly printing typographic explorations on his vintage Vandercook SP-15 cylinder proof press, which he affectionately refers to as “Vanessa the Pressa.”

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The Love Notes were printed letterpress on Vanessa using Mohawk Keaykolour 111 cover in Grey Fog, Pastel Green and Chalk “just as a fun project to celebrate Valentine’s Day,” and to “practice the letterpress,” says Frank. “I really wanted to just play with the word ‘love,’ enjoy the overalappage [sic] of the transparent ink colors; and utilize some sayings.”

These cards were printed 5 color, 2-up on 13” x 19.5” sheets and scored using a Kelsey 5 x 8; hand folded. Using antique wood type for the type on the covers, and metal type for the black type on the front, Baseman blends antique and more innovative techniques to make for a beautiful union of materials and method.

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The small metal type used on the covers are revivals of very old type designs cast by Skyline Type in Phoenix. This type was new to Frank, but a restoration of some typefaces that would have been available in the 1800s.

It was also Frank’s first time using Mohawk Keaykolour, and according to him, “it printed beautifully!” Frank says, “My true test for this sort of thing is how the small, fine metal type prints; and I think it printed pretty cleanly on this paper.”

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The Love Notes serve as a love letter to letterpress — a long-term love affair Frank claims is as robust as ever. Frank insists that letterpress printing is a sensual or sensory experience ­— intimate, tactile; and it shows in the care he demonstrates in calculating the configuration of each visual communication.

The five colors used to print The Love Notes play against each shade of Keaykolour in ways that are subtle and distinct. Letters, purposefully mismatched, play with the transparency of the inks and overlapping shapes on the canvas of colored paper to create a series that is both playful and refined.

As the cards say, “Love is a many splendored thing,” and with 43 shades of Keaykolour available, it doesn’t get any more splendid than this harmonious palette whether for Valentine’s Day or your next campaign.


Production Notes

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Print Process
Letterpress
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Materials Used

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