Something old, something new, handcrafted in paper and online, too. We're talking about Brooklyn’s own paper goods design studio, Walk Up Press. Founded in 2009 by designers, Elizabeth diGiacomantonio and Joseph Traylor, Walk Up offers custom designed letterpress items for all occasions, be it invitations, stationary, greeting cards, business cards and more.Their product boasts a simple and sophisticated aesthetic framed by minimalist designs that reflect life against an urban backdrop. And all items are made the old fashioned way...by hand.

Walk Up Press uses the oldest form of mechanized printing still in use to date called letterpress. The process involves applying ink to letters and images cut from wood, metal or plastic and pressing paper onto the plates, creating an inked impression on the paper. It takes a lot of time as all items are fed by hand one by one through a Vandercook crank machine with lots of love to ensure that each final product is unique and special.

In typical New York fashion, Elizabeth and Joseph met in 2006 as random Craigslist roommates in a 6th floor walk up while both were in design school. Joe worked in fashion and was also a teacher, while Elizabeth worked at an architecture firm and then started freelance work designing invitations and announcements for friends. She wanted to create a product for typical occasions that set itself apart from everything else on the market at that time, where people could have an interactiverelationship with the process. Together, they came up with cards and designs that were relatable and honest, keeping them open-ended and generic enough so they could be used for literally any occasion or non-occasion. The “He said, She said” series of cards perfectly illustrates the personalization process, introduced with a leading message on the front, but leaving the inside of the cards blank to finalize the allusion. However, custom work is available for those who want it, giving the entire card a feeling of personal professionalism.

All designs are modern, creating a nice juxtaposition to an old fashioned production method for fun yet straightforward designs. The look of letterpress is more interesting with simple and modest motifs, allowing for more control over the process. But it’s more than just method for this Brooklyn duo. Although it’s not easy being green in a paper market, they do try to focus on sustainability. Joseph worked at a print maker in college and they try to bring that ideal into early product development. Although recycled paper is utilized in production, most of the paper comes from a family-owned company in the Midwest..

From freelancing to making cards for a friend’s store in Brooklyn, it was the Stationary Show, a trade show where companies buy and sell their next new products, where it all came together, leading to distribution of their designs at major players like the MoMa Store in New York City and Paperchase in the UK. Now their products are available in San Francisco, Denver, Chicago and various retail locations throughout New York City as well as online. Walk Up Press indeed looks to be headed in the right direction.


by Shauna Horn