Small but Mighty

There are many great experiences that come hand in hand with participating in an awesome craft show like Show of Hands or the Renegade Craft Fair. One of my favorites is the opportunity to talk directly with shoppers and get instant feedback on the work created in the studio. One of the most common requests we get is for smaller sizes of our most popular large posters (and occasionally large versions of our small prints). This is for myriad reasons that include limited wall space and a cheaper price point. There were a few prints that I wanted to shrink, while focusing on our more socially relevant pieces, starting with the popular Give Bread print. The original is 14x18", and the new one is 8x10" and easy to frame. This series is printed on a 100% recycled white card stock for consistency between the prints.



givebreadsmall1The second print is a tinier take on our It Takes A Village print. You can read about the original one here. I've discovered that this is a very popular print for teacher gifts, but we are always asked for a smaller, more convenient size.

TittakessmallI love the various techniques in this print. It's set up to look like a chalkboard, with wood type and linoleum blocks to create the frame. The green is a linoleum block that's very heavily printed so that the opaque white type shows up similarly to chalk on top of it.


takesavillage1The trickiest of the three prints is a recreation of Enjoy Your Farmers Market, which was originally printed in 7 colors and is sold out (another reason to tackle this one!). This time, it's reduced to 4 colors and an abridged collection of typographic 'fruits'.

Tfarmersmarketsmall2After pulling out the type that seemed appropriate, I did a quick carbon proof on press to see how all of the pieces would work together, and to figure out which type would be which color. Not pretty, but enough to go on!

carbonproofThis is how it broke down to mustard, red, blue and green. There's a bit of overprinting as well to create new colors.



And while we're on the subject of reducing prints, last year I created both mini prints and cards of our best selling posters. I didn't want to print them with another means such as digital, offset or screenprinting, so that they'd be exact replicas of their larger siblings. Instead, I sought the challenge of building them entirely with our tiniest type and ornaments. The first set of prints and cards measure 3.5x5".

Our Urban Gardening poster has been one of the biggest sellers for the studio for years, and was first choice to be shrunk down to this (note that tiny 4 point type at the bottom!):

murbangardening1Skylines are a familiar subject matter in the studio and this one is no exception. It is created from the back sides of wood type and two little 'l's.

Turbangardening5 copy


The greenery is mostly created with lino slugs, or ornamental rules cast on a linotype. The little orange 'flowers' need to be spaced accordingly to line up with the green print.


Turbangardening4 copy

Turbangardening1 copy

Another popular print in the studio is Jubilee, which pulls song lyrics from the charming old timey song. This mini print presented a lot of challenges in maintaining the same typographic feel as the poster, given that wood and metal type styles have historically been a bit far apart. But I found a few in our collection that fit the bill!

Tjubilee1 copy



We scored a hit with In The City, pulled from the song by The Jam. For this one I had to find some tiny triangles and little lines.


Tinthecity1 copy

Tinthecity2 copy


I'm thrilled with how all of these prints turned out! Nothing beats a good challenge, and taking an existing design and manipulating it into a different format while working within the parameters of metal and wood type (and occasional linoleum blocks) is just that. All of these prints are available in our etsy shop.