drink beer and solve (design) problems

scott smith owns east end brewing co. – and produces some of the most known and enjoyed beers in pittsburgh. EEBC is one of the forefront local breweries of the craft beer movement that has swelled here in the past decade.

ive learned a ton from scott over the years we have been working together. (in fact, i think i owe a whole post to his side comment years ago of “make beer, sell beer” – but that will have to wait for now). all that aside, one of the most flattering aspects of working together has been the trust we have gained from him in aspects relating to design, branding, marketing, and the visual aspects of getting things done and noticed.

…to the extent, that he asked us to redesign his/their logo. thats a huuuuuge request and not something we took lightly. its kind of like talking all kinds of shit and then someone says, alright smartass – prove it.

we felt the main goal was to speak to their history but in a contemporary and lasting way. EEBC made its mark in kegs and growlers. ive been there a 2 jazillion times to fill up a growler(s) or snag kegs. so, take those ideas and make a substantial icon. something bold. something that can stand alone….that over time could be boiled down to lose the text altogether and we would all still know exactly who that mark belongs to. keep the earth tone color pallet to hold down the concept that this is an age old product derived from natural ingredients.

to preserve his old “sunrise behind the pint concept” from his original logo, the sun becomes a keg cap, the pint becomes a growler. cleaner, bolder, sturdy …and approved

from this:

original EEBC logo
original EEBC logo

to this:

eebc
new logo updated by commonwealth press

and no sooner than that gets the greenlight and starts going out on everything across the board – scott fills us in on some events he has coming up inside his actual brewery … AND asks if could we help “just make the place look cooler”.

so we do.

we come up with the idea then – mockup a plan for approval to readdress the colors of the walls,  introduce and highlight the brand new logo, emphasize the frog from his flagship beer “Big Hop”, and top it all off with his “buy a good friend a good beer” tag line, right above the doorway.

then we offer to install it all. old school. paintbrushes and forklifts.

install

and it was awesome.

wideshot

during the install scott asked if we could mark “caution” on a small ramp that leads into the brewery that becomes slippery when it gets wet. so we do, in our own style…way efficient and suuuuuuper cost effective using skateboard grip tape (thanks troika skateboards):

slippy

and we got this done all in time for EEBC’s “good wood barrel aged beer” festival this past weekend. it was an awesome event and felt pretty damn good every time i saw someone pose in front of any of these massive icons for a pic – memories for them, branding for EEBC, and proof positive that we get shit done…

and even more – have the most fun doing it.

goodwood

 

HOODIE

its hoodie weather. actually its *THIS* hoodie weather

this week brings the first day of fall. i love fall but holy crap where did summer go. i had so many plans that – well, i didnt do. i guess thats the way life happens huh. all these intentions and then you end up at work – printing hoodies which brings me back to the initial reason i started this.

ITS HOODIE SEASON. camp fires and tents and games of stump. cool breezes and colder nights. yeah – hoodies. so THIS hoodie in particular is why i even decided to write a post. we search for the perfect EVERYTHING and this one damn near nails it in the hoodie dept.

its an Anvil brand number 71600/  Fashion Zip up.

heres why it rules

  1. its a zip. we have taken polls and thats what people are digging damn near 10/1. i personally love a pullover but cant deny the ease and obvious appeal of something with a zipper, on and off w/o knocking off your hat or mussing your coiffure.
  2. at 7.2 oz – its that mid range between too thin and too warm. its just right.
  3. its got a decent selection of colors to choose from.
  4. its combed ringspun. you know those soft fashion fwd tees you love so much. thats why they feel so good. soft and smooth on the outside with a creamy caramel filling…but without the caramel, unless you add it yourself. if you do, please send us pics. that sounds awesome. and gross.
  5. 75% cotton / 25% poly. gives you some breathe without all that shrinkage.
  6. white sewn in features – i accidentally typed “feathers” NOW THAT hoodie would have been awesome – but yeah, white zip and pullstring for that contrasting pop of color that everybody loves so much
  7. it fits right. not too baggy – not to slim. its in the groove and you / your customers / your fans are going to look awesome wearing it.
  8. i forgot what 8 was for but ….
  9. its a fashion fit hoodie for the price of a standard cut.

anyway, thats it. that hoodie rules and you should consider it.
heres a link to the colors etc. and the specs are included there and below.

  • 7.2 oz
  • 75% cotton/25% polyester
  • Combed ring spun
  • Unlined hood
  • White circular drawcord
  • 3/4” contrast white neck tape
  • 2″ rolled forward shoulder
  • Back Patch
  • 1x1athletic rib-knit with spandex
  • Double-needle finish on all
  • Double-needle topstitch at neck, shoulder and waistband

 

want to get that (or anything) moving?
thats simple:

a warm and delicious art show with spak brothers

Spack Brothers

THIS COMING FRIDAY – Spak Bros Pizza and CommonWealth Press will be hosting a functional art show on hand screened pizza boxes for all medium pizzas ordered, until they run out.

4 artists from CWP
– mark bogacki, everyday balloons, dan rugh, and keith caves –
have each  illustrated and screen printed (they damn selves) very limited edition pizza boxes for Spak Brothers to distribute until every box is gone.

While the custom boxes last, any customer that orders any medium pizza will receive their order in one of these pieces of art.

We hope this to be the most delicious and beautiful and clever and simple and functional art show pittsburgh has embraced.

Order fast, they won’t last. COLLECT ALL 4

…cwp / spak

5 great things that happened for CWP in 2013

i keep seeing lists and i dont know why but i damn near always click on them. i make lists everyday – next time you see me, look at my left hand, its always got a list on it…sometimes just one thing, sometimes down to my elbow. they are ALWAYS just to remember things.

so as we are all getting snowed on and im drinking coffee thinking how beautiful things look outside – i decided i need to make a list of things i dont want to forget from 2013. not that i would forget them but i wanted to share them with you because, to be honest, you were a big part of them.

it was HARD to narrow it down. so much radness went down …but here we go

the be all end all best thing of 2013 for commonwealth press was

1. THE BRICK INCIDENT.

if you dont know what im talking about CLICK THIS and read it.

in summary – someone threw a brick through our window for whatever reason. we ended up auctioning it off for $1150 – fixed our window, gave the winner $2200 worth of amazing gifts, and donated the remainder to some amazing local charities.

why is this the most amazing thing of the year? honestly for us, i think it was seeing people that we barely knew – or we didnt even know knew us – coming to help for something that could have been easily ignored. that simple feeling of community over something trivial lets you know that we are all part of this city. it wasnt any dire circumstance, it wasnt the first time our window had been smashed out, it wasnt even all that bad, it was more that you knew we existed and we all turned something absurd into one of the most simple and positive and hilarious and fun things ive seen in a long time.

i will never stop loving you pittsburgh.

2. THE BEER BARGE

gain, if you arent sure what it was – check it out here: the CWP beer barge

summary: pittsburgh craft beer week, rent clipper, 30 brewers, 3 hours, 3 bands rolling down all 3 of our gorgeous rivers…ticket sales crash servers, over sell tickets by over double what were available….work it out and have the most amazing day i can remember in the city.

this event taught me a lot about business, planning and people. ill be honest, the whole thing blew up in my face initially and i had no idea what i was going to do. with a little bit of honesty and some planning we were able to make it work for everyone involved. it was honestly one of the coolest things ive done in this city and am still blown away that we pulled it off.

3. THE PIRATES MADE THE PLAYOFFS

summary: THE PIRATES MADE THE PLAYOFFS.

that wasnt just good for commonwealth press (i mean we did sell a good amount of our BLACK AHT tshirts) it was good for the whole city. that feeling – watching the fireworks – felt like fireworks.

holy crap i just got all warm again thinking about it. (see lists are good)

4. CommonWealth Press Ale

summary: team up with friends and make something amazing together - click this for more info and a killer little documentary we shot

it was amazing to make beer, i cant lie. this is cool just for the cool factor of it. beyond that though, it was an insight that we were so lucky to have.  being permitted and even INVITED to take part  in what people we respect do for a living – behind the scenes at penn brewery – early hours… not just the beer (mmm beer) but the aspects you dont see – or even know about. the law and the flow of work and the people that make it happen – getting into it with them, the sweat and recipes and then – AND ONLY THEN getting to plan it out in the flow of what we do for a living – with something we created from a concept.

i dont know if i can go on without rambling, but if you were right beside me id hug you right now.

5. our new dryer

summary: we got a new dryer

seems pretty insignificant doesn’t it?
but in context, the first dryer i got fits on my desk. i bought it because i could carry it down my basement steps at my house. this new dryer is the size of a tank – gas powered and was delivered from south carolina with barely 2 inches to fit thru our warehouse doors. 5 of us plus the guy we bought it from to get it off his trailer and onto skids into the warehouse. its size isnt what let it make the list – what it offers us does.

it has upped our print quality and output plus with it there is now no job we cant take on. being as small as we are but using the kind of tools that the big shops use lets us keep our pricing fair, our turnaround amazingly quick, and keeps us moving toward constantly working smarter, not harder. your support let us afford it and we are doing our best to make you proud.

 

so thats it. seriously thats my list. SO MANY awesome things happened but i had to narrow it down – it wasnt easy but i feel that these are a pretty solid view into the year.

and oh 2014 – i couldnt be happier to see you.

 

CommonWealth Ale

reflecting back on the year and all the amazing things that have happened – of all the things that we have been involved with, i can honestly say that making CommonWealth Press Ale was one of the most involved processes i have ever done. working with Penn Brewery – with andy and sandy and the whole crew over there gave me a perspective on design and production and creation and teamwork that i could never have earned by simply sitting at a desk. hashing out the design, logistics, distribution…good lord this was involved.

creating something from scratch. something you can hold.

i cant say how much i loved doing this enough. i honestly cant.

i hope you like this:

 

Commonwealth Press Ale from commonwealth press.

TROIKA skateboards

TROIKA skateboards – SKATE OR DONT

we are officially starting a new pittsburgh based skateboard company TROIKA skateboards - well, “we” meaning dan rugh from commonwealth press and dave kaule from triad skateboards.

why? mainly because we really want to.

theres no grand vision of greatness, just 2 good friends looking to creatively spend sometime doing things they both love.  dave was never solid with how triad came to a close and he and dan have been kicking this idea around for far too long. theres no reason not to. and why wait – so here we go.

we also deciced to include you the whole way as we develop this business – as youll see by the TROIKA website, there isnt shit going on yet…but there will be. we are going to do this step by step and let you in on the whole thing. from posting designs to growing our team, hosting demos, spreading word, all of it.

we have our first deck already run – completely manufactured right here in western PA by our old pals at PENNSWOOD. its for sale RIGHT NOW, RIGHT HERE:

they are $45 in the store, $55 online (covers shipping and handling)
we also already have 2 more in the works with amazingly sick graphics from local artists mike budai and matt gondek. BOTH are beyond amazing and we couldnt be more stoked to work with them (and many more to come)

we are also putting together a team.  so if you have some videos, email us some links.
we arent looking for who lands the most technical shit, its who is having the most fun. seriously, if you have video – get it to us.

and now for the GIVEAWAY. to get things rolling we are going to give away 1 free TROIKA skateboard. also some tshirts, kooizes, and stickers.

all you need to do to enter is the following 3 things:
1. “like” TROIKA skateboards on facebook  ( at http://www.facebook.com/troikaskate)
2. FOLLOW @TROIKAskate  on twitter and tweet “hey @TROIKAskate, gimme a free skateboard”
3. FOLLOW @TROIKAskate  on instagram

early next week we will pick some winners from those of you that do all 3 and get you your free goodness.

and so you dont have to ask – TROIKA is a russian sled pulled by 3 horses – the perfect icon and bridge unifying TRIAD and COMMONWEALTH PRESS.

 

MEAT & GREET

we have been working with allegheny city smokehouse for a while now. these guys are solid locals doing some delicious work. everytime jared comes to pick up an order we end up just yammering about printing, food, pittsburgh, beer, running a small business and whatever else pops up.

lately jared has been bringing over samples. seriously, dude  just shows up with food. – one of these samples he unleashed on us he calls “the polish hammer”. smoked kielbasa sandwich with pickled cabbage on rye with some crazy ass mustard nonsense they whipped up. its amazing. its honestly all you can do to not just unhook your jaw and one-bite it.

it also just happens that we have all this beer left over from the beer barge and jared has all this meat – so we decided to pull resources and have a happy hour here at our warehouse next thursday 8/15/13 from 6-8.

YOU are invited. come hang out – try some of what allegheny city smokehouse has to offer and enjoy a few beers, all on us.

OH YEAH – in the middle of all this nonsense we asked jared if it was possible to smoke a T-shirt. he said he would give it a shot – and it worked. so the first 24 people to show up will get a free traditionally bacon smoked tshirt, wrapped in butcher paper, and delivered fresh to your hungry hands. no joke. a bacon smoked tshirt. cracks me up everytime i say it.

heres the facebook invite:
https://www.facebook.com/events/485506984865791/
add yourself, add your friends.

come hang out for 2 hours, you arent busy, and we would love to see you.

your pals at commonwealth press and allegheny city smokehouse

 

 

 

 

recycling screen printing film positives

Reducing the Negatives of Film Positives

When I started working at Commonwealth Press there was a stack of old Gildan boxes in the very corner of the shop that seemed to be slowly growing as time progressed. As we quickly grew and that once “extra space” was slated to be our new receiving area the boxes needed moved. What a surprise it was when I tried to sling one of those boxes up over my shoulder, this friggin’ thing had to weigh nearly a hundred pounds! Upon cutting the box open I was not surprised to find it stacked full of old film positives that were in limbo, we didn’t want to throw them in the trash but had no idea where or how to recycle or repurpose them.

What you may not know is that every job at CWP requires multiple film positives to create the stencil to print your artwork. Early on as a business we would catalog these films in case the customer were to want to rerun the art at a later date. As time passed it became apparent that too much time, effort and resources were being used to preserve the integrity of these films for a very low number of reruns. At that point the decision was made to print new films for all but a small select number of jobs and dispose of the films after the jobs were completed.

Disposing of the films was a half-finished idea. Yeah, we were not going to ever reuse them or catalog them in expensive folders again, but what would we do with them? Throwing them in a landfill to sit for the next 500 years was out of the question. I hated even the idea of having our companies name emblazoned across a pile of plastic buried into the ground. We would recycle them!…..someday, when we get around to it.

As with many supplies in the Screen Printing Industry our film comes in bulk rolls with no instructions, no recycling stamp and not much for a label. So I got a hold of the manufacturer to find out what the films were constructed from, they told me it was Polyethylene terephthalate (PET, sometimes PETE) with a light coating to accept ink and it was easily recyclable. After talking with a few materials recyclers I found out that no one was going to pay us to take these boxes off our hands. So I turned to the Pittsburgh Public Works Recycling Division for answers. They were very helpful and said they would be more than happy to accept this material with our weekly recycling as long as it was labeled.

We made arrangements for them to accept the unlabeled materials after they were bagged and the bags were labeled with the# 1PETE symbol so the sorters would know the contents of the bags. Going forward we were going to have to label each of our films to avoid confusion at the sorting center. I approached our artist and asked him to incorporate the  #1PETE recycling symbol into our art template so every film we printed would be easily identifiable and could just be thrown into any recycling container and eventually made into future products.

We know that the films used in screen printing don’t account for the smallest fraction of a percent when it comes to polyethylene use. We’ll leave it to the beverage industry to do most of the spewing of this certain material all over the planet. We found a way to keep the poly we use from finding a direct path to the landfill and hope to pass this information along to as many print shops as possible.  It is not common knowledge as to what materials make up films and where and how to recycle them. We hope this changes that.

So here are the simple instructions:

  1. Find a recycler. If they recycle plastic, they recycle #1PETE. It’s the most common and simple plastic to recycle.
  2. Add a recycling symbol to your art template, or somewhere on all your films.
  3. Dispose of it in the proper bin along with other plastic recyclables.

It’s very, very, very easy. DO IT!