I had been designing one-of-a-kind letterpress invitations for clients in southern California for several years, when the time came for me to tackle my most challenging design project of all; my own wedding invitations. I must have created nearly 8 comps before finally settling on the design I felt captured the essence of my soon to be husband and my wedding celebration. The response we received from the invitations was astounding. Guests flat out refused to return the response card in fear of "breaking apart" the perfect little package they had been given. Shortly after my wedding, I began the hunt for thank you cards. I searched and searched, but could not find anything that quite fit my style, or that complimented the wedding package I had created. I realized I needed to start from scratch once again. I designed my own thank you cards, and then two others... and before long, I found myself with my very first line of stationery. The purpose for Elum was to create a line of stationery that was as appealing for its sophisticated, yet whimsical look, as well as it's quality fabrication. I knew that if I was going to pursue a line of letterpress cards I would only consider using the best possible printmaking papers I could find. The craft of letterpress is still unfamiliar to a large percentage of people, and I wanted to create a collection that would draw new attention to the wonderfully tactile art form.
Our letterpress and design studio got its start in the small beach community of Cardiff by-the-Sea in North County San Diego. Cardiff, as the locals refer to it, is famous for its surf spots and its hillside ocean views . . . and yes, it's as wonderfully romantic and laid back as it sounds. Over the years we have grown to occupy a luxuriously large warehouse space in a much less luxurious part of town called Sorrento Valley, famous for it's . . . well, warehouses. But, we are still doing what we love; creating. From the design conception to the letterpress printing, we handle every step of the production process for both our stationery collection and our custom printing projects in house. This ensures that we have complete control over the quality of our product at all times. Every single piece that we create at Elum is done so with a passion for design detail and a strive for printed perfection.
We know that you can email a friend a message in mere seconds, and we know that stationery isn't the necessity that it used to be. But, we see stationery as having a new place in our technological world. We see it as art. Our cards are like small pieces of art that have been handcrafted on some of the most beautiful printmaking papers from around the world. With the growth of technology, our love for the purity of cotton rag papers and the unique craft of letterpress printing grows ever stronger. Our stationery collection is designed to be an indulgent little accessory. We understand that it is not a necessity, but it is a pleasantry. There is nothing like dropping a simple note to a friend on a simply fabulous note card. We are relentless about the superb quality of our product, and have an unwavering dedication to our production and design standards. Even if you don't know letterpress or paper, when you come into contact with one of our pieces, you know instantly that there is something incredibly special about it.
Letterpress is a printing technique that embeds the artwork into the paper. The plates used in letterpress printing are called relief plates, meaning that the image area to be printed is raised from the surface of the plate. The press operator handsets and hand inks the plates that are used to imprint the designs and lettering onto the paper. The letterpress works to sink the image into the surface of the paper, creating a textured, 3 dimensional design. The technique of letterpress printing began in the mid 1400s with the invention of movable type by Johannes Gutenberg. For centuries, letterpress was the only method of printing used for reproduction.
The process of letterpress printing is a tedious labor-intensive craft that requires the utmost attention to detail. Today, after centuries of change and technological advances in printing methods, the processes and craft of letterpress printing have remained virtually unchanged.
Since our inception in 2001, we at Elum have believed in leaving a small footprint on the Earth. We use tree-free, 100% post-industrial waste cotton rag papers and soy based inks for our every-day stationery and custom invitation lines. Even the products that we manufacture overseas contain tree-free papers and recycled grey board. The steel-backed letterpress plates are recycled after use and the scrap and waste papers that accumulate get picked up by fiber recyclers. We have been recognized by Legacy Fibers for our outstanding contribution in paper recycling for the past seven years.
We encourage our customers to be intelligent about their purchasing decisions, to ask questions about sources and materials and to use the limited resources of our planet wisely.
Printing is inherently a non earth-friendly process but we are doing our best to limit the amount of natural resources we consume and the waste we leave behind.