our interns went to the three rivers arts festival

we had one internship position this summer and met 2 dudes that were so dead on right for the place that we couldnt pick just one – so we expanded what we had planned and took on both. Codey and Dylan hit the ground running and have done some killer work already. we have a whole series of what we are calling

CommonWealth Press: SHIrT SHOW
so stay tuned, its pretty absurd.

before we get to those, i want to post this while the three rivers arts festival is still fresh in all of our minds. last week we sent the dudes down to walk around, talk with some of our friends that were working at the festival, and just get them in their element doing what they do.

so here it is, codey and dylans first ever CWP video posted live to the world…


we are opening a new store

we leaked some pics last week and are now officially and proudly announcing that we are opening a new store in the south hills, in mt. lebanon, right on washington rd. (691 washington rd to be exact) this will be in addition to our long standing south side location and we have the highest hopes that it will be a great addition tocommonwealth press, the street, community, and city.


i heard more often than not how people would love to visit our brick and mortar store but just dont make it to the south side that often. i always mentioned that we have an online retail store and ship daily but you know – its pittsburgh and I DONT GO THRU TUNNELS AND I DONT CROSS RIVERS is a pretty strong ethos. its amazing what our physical location here in the south side has let us accomplish – from obvious walk in traffic to allowing us to really integrate into the community – also pissing off some people and stirring things up a bit, its all in good fun and we hope to continue it.

after looking for a really really long time we chose mt lebanon because theres a great walking neighborhood, a seriously involved community, the best landlord in the entire city, and i think they need us. with a solid  base of existing restaurants, hitchhiker just down the street, and an unexpected and growing influx of entrepreneurs to the area, im beyond stoked to plant a flag in the center of the whole place and see what we can do here.

Screen Shot 2015-05-27 at 6.08.02 AM

i honestly have no idea when we will be open but the place is in great shape. we just need to paint, plan it out, stock it, hang a sign, and get things rolling. its going to be a bit bumpy but we move fast and im sure it will smooth out eventually.

its overwhelming to think about but it feels really good and im thankful that its even possible. after 14 or so years of hard work, a quality product, and a fair price (from an independently owned mom and pop) – we are not just surviving but growing, all because of you and your support of this nonsense we are all hammering on.

so as always – a sincere thank you pittsburgh.
(and stay tuned, we are going to have a hell of a grand opening).






I was asked by aiga pittsburgh to design the promotional material for their annual award show PGH365. its THIS FRIDAY NIGHT – (info) 

I said no initially.
i have little patience for most professional groups, awards in general, and design by committee in any capacity. AIGA is an exception. They are an organization that makes their mission the promotion and celebration of design in all aspects. The amount of support they have offered me over the years has been humbling and in truth, i was honored to be asked. once i realized what they were actually asking…
i proudly accepted their offer. 

I was given pieces from years past and told my only constraint would be content. We would be creating some mailers, web graphics, a poster, the awards, and whatever i want to add on top of that. Looking at what had been done for previous years was inspiring. I saw some great work from Nick Caruso, Bearded Studio, and Andrew Twigg.

With that intimidation aside i set out to tackle the project in my own language and on my terms. My background falls heavy with the production ends of offset printing, web development, and of course screen printing. My thought is that people see the end results of design all day. I want to take the attendees on a tour of what production and DIY really feels like.

CommonWealth Press was created from literally nothing. I built my first shop with things i pulled from dumpsters – with no equipment, minimal space, and no money at all. So for this i’m going to take that exact route. Im going to highlight the printing process from end to end – idea to physical piece – do it with what is immediately available – give them the feel of dirty hands – physically working on a design – on a zero budget. Every item will be found, reused, recycled, every image will be with my phone – i will have touched every piece going out. Keep everything simple and direct. Hopefully someone will see it and think “pshh i couldve done that” – because they can. And should.

So now, concept.

The tiny kernel to carry thru everything is the PGH365 tagline. 365 obviously covers the days in the year that this award show spans but i also wanted a spin to make it my own, a nod to the printers that make it happen, something that speaks to the designers overall idea and aesthetic. standing in front of our inkwall i realized how many hours have been spent mixing ink to match each specific vision. to take something as etherial as an idea and use exact industry wide calculations to precisely mix and match that vision. It hit me that the rosetta stone that unites the language of most printers and designers is the Pantone color book. It is gorgeous, functional, and precise.


(if you are a designer and do not use it for print projects – your printers think you’re a dick)

so in a coffee rant with Kim Fox and Bill Krowinski i present the idea of using a pantone swatch to overlay the entire concept of idea to paper, covering ink and every aspect in between. Kim blurts out “Pantone 365c” and the idea was done.

the first piece was the initial mailer:

first mailer. printed using both digital and traditional offset

that piece is a combination of digital printing and traditional offset. everything was printed digitally with registration left to spot color in the actual pantone 365 square on on a traditional press – we coined the term “tradigital” and watching it go down was worth this whole experience.


Thats Dave Kaule from the printing post. He is a swell guy.

from there the signage would be the simple screens we use everyday – exposed (backwards for legibility) and ready to print but appropriated to show people were they can get a drink, see work, or go pee.


then we had another mailer to go out but as happens quite often in committee sessions –  it had to be done, printed by the printing post, and off to the mailer AND OUT that very day. I needed a fast solution for a process to work into the concept that was between the ink and printing, naturally thats the mixing stage.


Having to rush for this piece sucked but got stoked when Dave mentioned that green isnt pantone 365c. “I know, its being mixed – like the event, we aren’t there yet”. Lay it on thick.

next was the web version, yeah those are RGB and HEX numbers, youre getting it.


we got to inspect the space – its an old warehouse on north side at a spot called SmartSolutions. They are lending AIGA a raw space, which fits this aesthetic perfectly. I ran some banners around an exposed framework in the center of the room

Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 1.49.08 PM

and all within the parameters of GET SHIT DONE. that 8 foot by 30 foot image is the same that was shot by a cel phone, then boosted in res, and output at 192 lpi because thats what it takes to do that shit.

the event is THIS FRIDAY and i want to keep somethings behind the curtain. we have a pretty rad poster available and are hand making the awards as well. they fit dead in with the rest of this pile.

im so stoked on having done this. the process overall, some of it completely sucked but for the most part it was collaborating with friends, drinking coffee, solving problems, and goofing off. If that was on my gravestone id be pretty stoked and consider it well done.

come hang out – again it is THIS FRIDAY NIGHT – click here for time and location 

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:

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.


and it was awesome.


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):


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.




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


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.


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.



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.