Case Study: Wild Ink Press Brings Letterpress Craftsmanship to LightCMS

For those of us who spend our lives in the world of web development, the old-school charm of a business centered around printing on one-hundred-year-old presses may seem both curious and refreshing. So, when we came across such a business using LightCMS to promote and sell their beautiful products, we were intrigued and excited to spread the word about their work.

Fortunately, Wild Ink Press was kind enough to oblige our request for an interview. I hope you'll take the time to learn about this outstanding group that specializes in printing things the way they were printed a hundred years ago and how LightCMS has benefited their business.

Interview with Rebekah Tennis, Owner of Wild Ink Press

Q: Tell us about your business at Wild Ink Press.

A: My husband and I run a small letterpress studio, Wild Ink Press, in Northern California. We design and print greeting cards and wedding invitations by hand on a couple of hundred-year-old presses. 

We are really the opposite of a web-based business. Usually a card design starts with me and my trusty sketchbook and a pen and pencil. Then we have a polymer plate made of the artwork, mix our inks by hand (in very small batches), ink up the press and after a time-intesive process of make-ready, we feed each card by hand into our 1908 Chandler and Price platen press. Each color is printed separately, and then we trim, score, fold and package the product for sale. That is where the internet finally comes into play!

Q: How did you get started in the letterpress craft?

A: My degree is in Graphic Design and after working with a firm my first year out of college, I broke off and started my own freelance business. I did a bit of everything: identity, print design, websites — you name it. However, I was always drawn to paper and the printed piece — the finished printed product and its unchangeability. A logo can get tweaked ad infinitem, a website is constantly being changed and updated, but a printed piece of work? It's done — no changing it any longer! It's so incredibly tangible. 

This led me to old printing methods (which I was familiar with from college) and eventually to letterpress as something I wanted to do. My husband and I took a series of classes at the San Francisco Center for the Book, tracked down our first old letterpress (2,000 lbs!) and we were on our way.

Q: What first brought you to LightCMS?

A: I first came to LightCMS when I was still designing websites as a freelancer and needed a content management system that allowed my clients to easily update their websites. I sure didn't want to do it!

Q: In what ways has LightCMS become an asset to your business?

A: Now that I only use it for my own site, it's made it easy for ME to update my website. Also, I appreciate the fact that the CMS is constantly changing for the better. When I started using LightCMS, the gallery options were not as great and now they are wonderful and easy-to-use. Plus, the store functionality has recently been added! This is huge for my business which was, until then, selling direct to the consumer only on Etsy.

Q: Tell us about the process of setting up your LightCMS store.

A: I had a fabulous intern this summer who did most of the legwork setting up the store. He used my existing design and look and feel to create the layout and then uploaded and tagged the template and we were on our way!

Q: What would you say to someone else who was considering using LightCMS?

A: If you are a designer who doesn't want the headache of updating your clients' content but just want to give them a simple method that works, this a good fit. It's a good platform and, from what I have seen, it will continue to improve and grow.

Q: Anything else you would like to add?

A: Long Live Letterpress!!

Check Out Their Work

You can find out more about Wild Ink Press, their work and their products on their website (powered by LightCMS), their Facebook page, and their Twitter profile.