Template Choices: 3 Letterpress Designers on 3 Different Squarespace Templates

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Template Choices: 3 Letterpress Designers on 3 Different Squarespace Templates

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We are pretty big fans of the ease of Squarespace, but with more than 60 templates, choosing the right one can seem like a pretty daunting task. And while we have featured some fantastic ways to choose your own template (modesty might not be our strong suit), pulling the template trigger will honestly be the most challenging part of your Squarespace design process. Decisions! So in our effort to demonstrate the template versatility (and just maybe inspire you to get your own side hustle off-the-ground), we chose three letterpress companies who all have fabulous Squarespace sites, but built their websites using different templates. They might all be working in the same industry, but each picked a different template and design to make their own. Happy template choosing!

Western Editions’ cover using the Bryant template.

Western Editions & the Bryant template

Western Editions is a California-based letterpress company whose tagline “We print cute shit” is as cheeky as it is apt. It’s the perfect sentiment for this pair of former roommates, who manage to bring an irreverent spin to the more than five-hundred year old technique of letterpress printing. Before moving to Squarespace, letterpress artists Erin Fong and Taylor Reid, had a friend create a website. It looked great, but they couldn’t update it on their own. Although the to-be-updated list grew, the website project sat on the back burner. Finally, they decided that they needed to be distraction free, so the pair booked a room at the Ace Palm Springs (dream team!) and gave themselves a few days to bust out a new site. “We worked on our site AND worked on our tan and left with a sparkling new website,” said Erin. After trying a few templates, they landed on the Bryant template, which checked all the functionality boxes and also offers the clean, modern design that best represented the brand.

Alissa Bell’s cover using the Avenue template.

Alissa Bell & the Avenue template

From the moment that she took her first letterpress class at the San Francisco Center for the Book, Alissa Bell was hooked. After a short stint on Shopify, she launched the Squarespace website for her letterpress company in 2013. Since that 2013 launch, she’s experimented with a few different templates. Then two years ago, she landed on Avenue and that’s been her site template ever since. The biggest selling point was that Avenue had the ability to create an Index. One of the most central components of Alissa’s business is the large variety of styles that she creates for unique client projects. But she didn’t want those disparate looks to make the site feel disjointed. The Index allowed her to feature the work in a clean, cohesive way, yet still showcase those custom projects.

For the Press cover using the Flatiron template

For the Press & the Flatiron Template

Atlanta-based For the Press is the newest letterpress studio of our Squarespace group. Mirely Cabral launched her studio just under two years ago, in the beginning of 2016. She always had a love of paper, and wanted to do something creative with her hands. Before she really knew what hit her, she was in her tiny red car on a road trip to Iowa to pick up her first letterpress machine: a Chandler & Price Pilot Press named Saoirse. In her day job as a designer, Mirely had designed Squarespace sites for other clients so she already had some template favorites. She wanted something clean and simple that could grow along with her business, and the Flatiron template seemed to fit the bill.

Western Editions’ site built with the Bryant template

We talked to all three letterpress companies about their experience with ecommerce, goals, their creative process and more:

Did you sell your work in other ways (pops-ups, wholesale) before launching the site? How has the response been?

Western Editions: Before starting Western Editions, we would team up to do pop-ups and vendor fairs together, selling our separate items. Then eventually we put our talents together to create prints and cards that turned into our shared business. As an analog printshop, we crank everything through our press by hand and love handing that finished product off to real people. We are constantly asked at vendor fairs if we have an online shop or a wholesale line and now we do! It’s great to be able to direct people to our e-commerce shop page. We have also created a wholesale page (that’s password protected even!) for retail clients to browse our full line and place orders with us. It is still really exciting to see new addresses from all across the country pop up on the orders we’re receiving.

Before having a website, most of our custom design work was from word-of-mouth referrals and friends-of-friends. Squarespace has allowed us to reach and work with people all over the country!

Alissa Bell: Prior to this year, most of my work was sold in other venues than the site. I’m lucky enough to have built up a robust word of mouth business with other entrepreneurs and the wedding community. Up to 2017, the site served as mostly a gallery for people to discover me through or to send potential clients to prove that I’m real (haha). This year I’ve been in a transition as I launched a new stationery collection in March – and in connection built a whole new site on Squarespace.

For the Press: Yes! I participate in a few local artist markets in the Atlanta area and sell my stationery. I’ve also had the pleasure of partnering with Madewell, and hosted a pop-up shop for Mother’s Day a few months ago. Recently, I have also expanded into offering my cards for wholesale purchase.

Western Editions’ site built with the Bryant template

What is your creative process like? 

Western Editions: For our personal line of art prints and cards, we try to think about things that make us smile and translate that into a letterpress good. For example, Erin just saw this plastic bag that she loved at a Chinese restaurant. (You know, the pink bag with the red rose that says “thank you”.) We just created a card based on the colors and sentiment of this nostalgic plastic bag. Plus, we love puns! Often we will say something and then think “Hey! That would be a great card.”

Alissa Bell: My creative process draws from a combination of my life experience and the art and cultural influences I surround myself with. While in the stationery world for almost 6 years, I have mostly been designing and creating for other people. When it came to designing this Collection I wanted to create something that truly reflects me. Influenced by Halston, Robert Irwin, and Luis Barragan, I focus on the celebration of color while showcasing the simplicity of great design.

Listen beautiful relax classics on our Youtube channel.

For the Press: There’s not really a set process that I come back to because each project can follow a different process depending on the client. However, my projects are most successful when my client and I are able to have an open dialogue at various parts of both the design and printing process. I usually get approached by someone, often designers or brides, with some kind of vision for what they want the end result to look like. From there I’ll recommend papers and inks that I know will work well with what they are trying to achieve. If the project involves design, I’ll gather as much info from what they are describing and produce some options for them. Once the design and the specs are in place we’ll move forward with a plan and timeline, and I’ll usually get them a proof before completing the entire project.

Alissa Bell’s site built using the Avenue template.

We are in the last quarter of 2017, what are your goals for your site and business next year?

Western Editions: Some of our goals for next year would be to update our photos with newer client work since we are always growing and developing our style. We are also excited to grow our wholesale line and get into more stores across the country. Up until this point we have always worked one-on-one with wedding clients to create custom designs that fit their exact needs. Through this work, we have found that not all clients have time or the vision for this. We are super excited to launch a new wedding collection in Spring 2018 that will offer a handful of designs, typefaces, and ink colors for clients to easily choose from.

Alissa Bell: The same month I launched the Collection and new site, I also had my first baby! He is now 6 months old and I’m beginning to catch my stride as a working mother. I have high hopes for next year as I am starting to have more dedicated time to pour into the Collection. I’m currently working on completing the designs for 2018. and I’m so excited about the new colors and a few pieces that are being added. In the new year, I hope to build new wholesale relationships and also find more ways to drive direct to consumer sales through the site.

For the Press: My goals for my site next year is to get a blog up featuring more of my process and work. I am also working on expanding my online product offerings. Along with that I think I want to continue to grow and keep print beautiful letter-pressed paper goods.

Western Editions and the Bryant template

Are you feeling inspired yet? Maybe it’s time to get going. And don’t worry about buyer’s remorse, you can always switch up your template game.

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Source: design-milk

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