Four-Color Christmas and Holiday Greeting Cards

Printed with warm wishes for joyful holidays

On the occasion of the 80th Anniversary of The Norlu Press

As promised in my July 18, 2017 preview, I have printed very special Christmas and Holiday greeting cards as a way of celebrating the 80th anniversary of the founding of The Norlu Press. This post provides details about the cards themselves, but I am selling them in sets of five with a companion limited edition print. You can read a future post on this blog to learn more about the signed and numbered prints when they are ready for purchase, which I expect to be August 25, 2017.

Card 170819_3_Christmas_Display
Technical Details
Press: 1863 Gordon Jobber
Rollers: Composition Rollers cast in 2013 on original cores by David Hauser at Tarheel Roller
Inks: Dense Black, PMS 485 Red, PMS 7740 Emerald Green and PMS 1235 Goldenrod by Southern Ink
Stock: Crane’s Lettra 100% Cotton 110LB/300gsm Fluorescent White Cover scored on press and Crane’s Lettra 100% Cotton 80LB/118gsm White Text from CutCardStock
Size: A2 (5.5”x8.5”, folds to 5.5”x4.25”)
Front Panel:  Original American Type Founders (ATF) Holiday Decorator No. 817 in four colors from the 1929 Decorative Material for Holiday Printing supplemental catalog and circa 1937 casting of 30-point Trafton Script by Germany’s Bauer Type Foundry.
Card 170819_5_Season_w_Back
Back Panel: 18-point Rondo by Amsterdam Continental, 10-point Gothic 554 by ATF, 8-point Engravers Roman by ATF.
Impression: Front panel is a “21st Century Kiss,” a term I have begun using to describe just enough impression to create and emboss on the front with a very slight deboss apparent on the back. Back panel is a kiss with no emboss/deboss.
Total Number of Makereadies and Impressions per Card: Seven, including hits of black, red, green and goldenrod in close register.

These cards are not only a technical feat, but they are also beautiful. The fluorescent white Lettra stock took the specially formulated letterpress inks beautifully, and its weight allowed me to pump up the impression on the black engraving so that the snow on the roofs of the buildings appears to fluff up and out of the paper.

Card_ATF 170603_01 (Card with Type)

The 80th anniversary Christmas card with the circa 1937 30-point Trafton Script by Germany’s Bauer Type Foundry.

I chose Trafton Script by the Bauer Type Foundry for the greeting line because it was originally cast at about the same time Louis DiRisio (my father) and his boyhood friend Norman Alfe founded The Norlu Press in 1937. The ATF Holiday Decorators, which appeared in the 1929 supplemental catalog, predate the founding of the print shop, but the image they combine to form evokes what I believe must have been the Christmas mood of my father’s early teen years in Fairport, New York.

The amount of time invested in each one of these cards is significant, as they required a total of seven impositions/lockups, makereadies and press runs on the Gordon Jobber that was my dad’s first press. The four colors in perfect close register from original metal dies are unlike any letterpress greeting cards that are available in the current market. The work was painstaking and precise, but the result is very much worth the effort.

Card_ATF 170617_15 (Lifts of Finished Cards)

Lifts of almost finished cards awaiting the addition of the greeting at The Norlu Press, June 2017.

Two versions of the card are available. One version bears the greeting of “Christmas Greetings,” while the other offers “Season’s Greetings. The debate on which is more appropriate, more traditional and more modern is significant. Rather than enter into it, I prefer to offer both versions, so that as many people as possible can share the quality, beauty and precision of fine handcrafted letterpress greeting cards. Options are also available for customers to add a verse, with or without personalization, to the inside of the card and to personalize the envelopes.

Card 170819_4_Dual

Two versions of the card…same attention to detail, same superior craftsmanship and historical emphasis.

The run is limited to 20 sets of five Christmas Greetings cards and 20 sets of five Season’s Greetings cards. They are mailed with the complementary signed and numbered print in premium packaging and will be available on August 25, 2017 starting at $24 in my Etsy store at


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