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Egg Press

Egg Press

Hand-made Letterpress Goods Makes Mailing Fun Again

Egg Press Tess Darrow was inspired to launch Egg Press after developing a passion for letterpress printing right after college.  She pursued this field by getting a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Textile Design from the University of Washington in Seattle and doing her thesis project in bookmaking.  It was that very project in bookmaking that led her to letterpress printing, as she bought her first press in 1994.  In the beginning, she held a corporate position at Nike, while dedicating her evenings and weekends to printing in her own Seattle studio.  Then, after five years, she decided to move ahead and devote all of her time and energy to printing in her studio.  Her success was somewhat accidental as she initially only intended to do job printing and freelance design.  Surprisingly, because her exclusive collection of greeting cards was so well received, she knew she was onto something and decided to stick with it. Thus, Egg Press was born and today, the studio is located in an old warehouse in Portland, Oregon. 

Egg PressTess possessed an abundance of creative energy at a very young age, and to this day, continues to knit and sew (perhaps even a couple sweaters a month), as well as cook and bake while also being the owner and creator of Egg Press.  On top of that, her biggest priority is devoted to raising her two kids.  Since it’s inception in 1999, Egg Press has continued to maintain its soul and authenticity which cannot be duplicated despite the boom of letterpress lines.  Tess says, “Our designs always come from the heart and are genuinely inspired.  There's a subtle sense of humor behind much of our design.  I also feel that we don't over-design, which to me is refreshing.”

Egg PressEgg Press offers cards and collections for every occasion. The letterpress Animal Collection is fun, cute, and uncomplicated.  Each card features a different animal against a snowy white background.  Some birthday picks are the Happy Birthday Elephant, Egg Pressdisplaying a pastel pink elephant with green and pink stars and the Happy Birthday Monkey, showing a cheeky signature monkey.  Our personal favorites are the solitary Turtle card, shown with a berry red butterfly and the Pig card, a simple pink pig with brown spots.  

For everyday cards, we recommend some from the Botanical collection, each with vellum envelopes. Egg PressThe Grass card exhibits tall blades of grass in alternating hues of avocado green and lime green while the Ferns card showcases fern silhouettes in Egg Presslush and muted greens.  If romance is in the air, the Clams in Love card, with two periwinkle blue clams locked in a gaze, amidst red hearts, will be sure to warm your partner. Or if you want to send a supportive note, the Hang in There card will definitely lift spirits.  This card shows a mushroom with a ladybug design and comes with a unique woodgrain patterned envelope.

Egg Press  

Egg PressIn general, the die-cut cards are her favorites.  Some lovely die-cut choices are the Happy Happy Birthday and Fireworks Happy Birthday cards, which both feature a cut out peep hole displaying the “Happy Egg PressBirthday” message printed on the inside.  The Happy Happy Birthday design presents a diagonal pattern of grassy green circle beads in alternating sizes covering the entire cover of the card.  The Fireworks Happy Birthday card parades a celebratory display of small and large fireworks in shades of olive green and dark brown. 

Her inspiration for designs often comes as a surprise as it is sometimes nature, a vintage object, a daydream, or best of the all, last-minute inspirations.  Tess partnered with Kara Yanagawa a few years ago in sharing the design work for Egg Press.  They work together throughout the entire Egg Pressprocess, from discussing designs on the computer to drawing and listening to music together (painfully listening to holiday music in January while designing Holiday cards).  And for the holidays, the Offset Printed 2009 Calendar is the perfect stocking stuffer!  This practical yet creative desk-size calendar is unobtrusive with its clear jewel case, making it perfect for displaying on a shelf or table. Each month illustrates a colorful and decorative design on both the front and back of a recycled card. 

Her favorite items are usually the riskier cards or ones that are a result of happy accidents.  For example, their "YOU ROCK" die-cut card was very last-minute and somewhat risky at the time, but turned out to be a best-seller with its simple and clean design.  Another risky design that has selling hot off the shelves is a hippo wearing a sweater.  Tess loves their unique sew-it-yourself Animal Stitch Kits, which are hand-screened flat canvas kits that can be sewn (by hand or machine) and filled into small stuffed animals like a monkey or snail. 

Egg PressFor the future, Tess is extremely opened minded as to what could be accomplished in the next five years.  She would love to partner with other like-minded companies to expand beyond greeting cards.  At the moment, Tess feels very blessed by her business and the fine people she works with.  She says, “Some of my best friendships have been a result of Egg Press, and great learning opportunities have come of it.  I didn't set out to open a card company, but am happy I did.”  Egg Press is sold at high end stationers like Egg (Urban Mercantile) in San Francisco, Paper Source, Kate's Paperie, Sugar Paper and OK in LA.  Egg Press is available for designing and printing custom wedding and birth announcements and coordinating stationery.  Click on to visit their online shop and for additional retailers nationwide.

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