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an issue of



Why Mass Produc tion? In this issue we delve into what makes an item or a place special in a world of mass production. We all want to construct our own trail, be part of something original, and be different than the next man or women. In a world that is so driven by mass production its no wonder it is hard to get away from a society of copies. It is improbable today to find a one of a kind or limited edition of anything. Pepper Magazine may not be one of a kind but with only 2500 copies in circulation of each issue we are somewhat of a limited edition. They are not quite collectors items. We aren’t that famous around here... yet. Per taining to Our Readers Now that we have 3 issues under our belt we are finally starting to get the hang of everything. The kinks have been loosened and we understand how to take Pepper from a concept to a printed piece. It’s not easy (especially when we are all full time students) but we’ve done it again. We hope this issue is just as pleasing to the senses (the off the press smell, the tactical touch, and tender love and care) as An Issue of Health No. 02.

More is better. We beg to differ.

What ’s Next We have lots in store for Issue4. I would tell you everything if we had it all figured out, but we don’t, because that’s for all of our members to decide once September rolls around. As members come and go Pepper develops. If you are interested in deciding what Issue4 will consist of, I plan on seeing your bright smile at our next meeting. Positions Available Be on the lookout for emails, campus events, and on our website early next fall for details. Once school rolls back around we will need to select new management. We have many of our staff members graduating so we are searching for new talent and leaders to take Pepper by the horns and make it their baby. Stay alert. Stay connected. Stay spicy. Contac t Us Just because the magazine is on hiatus over summer does not mean that we aren’t excited to see our email inbox full. Send a couple words our way. E: W:

Editor-in-Chief: Jonathan Sollie

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verb: Mankind

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the inadvertent mass-production of individualistic differences.

Text by Luke Sollie & Design by Jonathan Sollie



An unoriginal idea due to the simple fact that the stars had already led their chorus to that same song and dance years before.


Oh, and as far as the dinosaurs, they can hardly be considered a success story.

But I digress. ‹‹ Pepper Magazine ‹‹ Issue No.03 ‹‹ Mass Production ‹‹ 03

BACK TO BLACK Article by Rodal Sylte & Design by Jason Pfitzer

“Hey dude, can I use your computer? You need to hear this song!” is a phrase that dominates the modern music-sharing community, whether you like it or not. Anyone who wants to show someone a song is most likely going to pull up YouTube and type in their query, resulting in a digital recording. It’s convenient, it’s free, and it’s been transformed into a pre-video billboard. Now imagine that you had to go buy a vinyl record in order to share music. Welcome to the 60s! No more stealing songs from YouTube and no filesharing websites! It sounds rough, but the surviving relics from the era’s music scene are some of the most diverse packages music can be offered in. When you picture a vinyl record chances are you see something black, round, & shiny. That’s a very accurate picture you’ve got there! But you should know, records come in all colors, sometimes even marbleized with wispy shifts in hue. Some have images pressed right onto the playable surface! Records have recently begun being pressed in different shapes as well, hexagons, pentagons, stars, you imagine it and it can be pressed. The only limit to this medium is that it has to be flat, basically. But let’s not forget the record’s sleeve! The sleeve is what captures the eye of the consumer, and when measuring 12” catching someone’s eye is what these covers are perfect for! Fortunately records really caught on in the psychedelic age, i.e. bright colors and unusual images. Aesthetic advances are some of the reasons people have gained newfound interest in such an old media. Regardless, purists have to face the fact that vinyl sales will never be as numerable as they once were, and will always be a more expensive alternative reserved for special musical occasions. Despite having the attention of audiophiles, sales will never climb high enough for records to be a commonality. As an audiophile myself, always looking to exceed audio standards and push fidelity as far as I can when making a recording or searching for a song, it’s practically become an obsession. I’ve rummaged through stacks of albums both new and old in the basements of many record stores across the nation. Once I find there’s a local album emporium, I’m all over it, prying and prodding their collection as I see fit. Most people would be surprised what they could find. For example, on my last excursion I found a copy of Bruce Willis’ debut album “The Return of Bruno” in the basement of Cheapo Records for two dollars. It’s instances like these that make searching feel rewarding. Despite all these things, records do not get the attention they deserve. They’re responsible for many transitions in the music world. They even allowed artists to hide messages in their songs that could only be found if played backwards or using more or less rotations per minute. Bands continue to pioneer this medium and experiment to the point where the record itself was as unique as the music it carries. This is remarkable considering how simple and inexpensive pressing plastic is. Every time someone thinks, “Now they’ve done it, they couldn’t possibly take ingenuity further than this” a new idea emerges that shatters any previous conceptions, which is something mp3s will not offer, no matter how much tweaking is involved. 04 ›› Pepper Magazine ›› Issue No.03 ›› Mass Production ››

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$AVERS Article by Cooper Whitescarver & Design by Jesse Lindhorst

College students, like many, are always trying to balance many expenses on a tight budget and always looking for ways to save a little money. During my four years on the UW-Stout campus, I have discovered several ways to cut back on a few costs. The following tips could be used anywhere but I will reveal some of my personal saving tips for Menomonie and UW-Stout students particularly. A BROKEN ID We use our campus ID card everywhere. It is our access into buildings and rooms; we use them as a debit card and for meal plans on campus. With all this traveling, the ID card is scheduled to break at some point. About two years into my college career, I took my card to the campus card office and they told me that it was not, “Standard wear-and-tear,” and they refused to

give me a free replacement. I was told to purchase a new card for $20 and pay $3 for a temporary. This is a common dilemma that students encounter. The secret is to avoid the “Middle Man.” Listed on the back of the card is the company number. If you place a simple phone call to the company they will replace the card for free and be understanding. Easily, you have avoided the purchase of both a temporary and new card totaling— $23.

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We all love food. College student or not, we all have to eat. Sometimes, as classes get busy, eating out can seem like a good option. Still, it’s hard to afford the meal despite the convenience. By knowing the dates and days that restaurants routinely display deals, it becomes easier to decide which days to treat yourself and put those cooking pans away! This will allow you to still enjoy an occasional meal out, but still help to reduce the cost. Here are a few deals specific to Menomonie.

Another great place to search for deals is the internet. Online you can find many coupons, savings codes and special deals.

Your birthday is always a great day to go out and celebrate. It also happens to be one of the best days to grab some deals. At Legacy Chocolates you will receive a free truffle and a free lunch at the Acoustic Café. If you’re 21 or older, the Stout Ale House offers free drinks for your birthday.


Next, Jeff’s Pizza has special offers every day of the week. The biggest deals are on Monday and Tuesday with savings up to 50 percent! Get together with a few friends and you’ve created a delicious and cheap meal. No preparation required. Another pizza place is Dominos. They offer a five dollar carry-out, medium pizza. Guaranteed ready!

One coupon website is Every day offers a different, special deal. To gain access to this great feature, just sign up for a free account and enter your location. You will then be placed on an e-mail list and receive the offers directly to your inbox!

While it is possible to get deals and discounts, free is always better! One hobby that is, and always will be free, is geocaching. To start, you only need a GPS (the one you use in your car works just fine) and an account on Start by finding some locations in or near Menomonie. Plan a day trip with friends using these locations, and using the GPS as a guide. It’s good exercise and helps you explore your town.

THE GREAT OUTDOORS During the summer canoeing or kayaking are great ways to stay active, keep fit and pass the day. But, who can afford it?

As UW-Stout students, the UREC offers canoe rental, kayak rental and more at a discounted price for students and community members. Next time you are looking for something to do, solo or with friends, check out the UREC.

MAKING THE CUT Most of us do it one way or another—shaving. Who would have thought it is possible to save money with something as simple as shaving? Here are a few tips to get more life out of your disposable razors. First step, after you are done using a razor, make sure you dry it. The water leaves little mineral deposits on the blade and will make it dull quicker. By drying it, you prevent the deposits from sitting on the razor. Next, when you feel the blade starting to dull, carefully but firmly, push it against your arm. Move the blade the opposite direction you would if you were shaving. This pushes the tiny bent pieces of the blade back into place and you may continue to use it. A UW-Stout college student or not, there are plenty of ways to save money on a tight budget. If you want to add to the list I’ve started here, go to Pepper Magazine and leave a comment on the “Stoutie Savers” link to pass on the secrets to money saving in Menomonie.

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The “Comic Creators” (a new student organization on campus as of March) is an emerging club whose members concentrate on everything comic books. Not simply reading them, but also developing their own comics within the club. The club also hopes to address individual drawing techniques and story content in order to hopefully produce increasingly more significant comics and/or graphic novels. If the opportunity arises they’ll consider expanding into the field of motion comics, as well. Now down to business: The club meets on Thursdays from 5:45-7:30pm, though the meeting time may be subject to change depending on the sorts of events the group has scheduled. These could include field trips to any number of locations. These were exercises where each new comic box was filled, one artist at a time.

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Feel free to look up the Comic Creators on Facebook, just search: Comic Creators (UW-Stout). Their page features any new member artwork produced/featured during the meetings. Currently they have their first-ever comic templates from their first meeting uploaded at the moment. Check the club out! Article by Rodal Sylte, Images from Jessica Sumption & Design by Jason Pfitzer

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Written by Katrina Wollet, Design by Jesse Lindhorst



At age twenty-one, I still thought I wanted to be a lawyer, a title underneath my signature. After an internship at a law firm, I promised myself that I would not attend graduate school to sit in an over air-conditioned office with Ansel Adam photographs hanging over long, white hallways. For me, that is a black box over the little candle, the soul, inside my stomach. Like Ray Bradbury, or Antoine de Saint-Exupery, I find myself preserving childhood in my writing. I love to read and can often be found, book in hand, on wood piers, grassy patches in cemeteries, swings, beneath big trees or near coffee! (I might be a Mother Fool’s addict.) I have watched my writing mold and form under direction of professors, peers, friends and members of Madison’s artistic community. If I'm without words, my spine gently buckles and my shoulders fall to ground. It is a craving I am excited to share. I learned quickly. I don’t want a title underneath my name. I want my name to be my definition. I want to stay a child at heart, in mind, in imagination. ››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››

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two sticks.

i crossed two sticks on the ground, in the square, in the grass, in the place where we used to lay and you put your hand on my belt. i love those sticks. i love them more than i ever loved you because they don’t move, and they don’t lie, and they don’t forget. And i lay down beside those sticks and your face doesn’t come back this time. Your face doesn’t hold a place on this grass any longer, not on this grass, this square, in this place because it’s mine now and I’m crossing you out with these two sticks. the next time i’ll plant trees, in rows, in this place. they’ll make the same cross so you’ll remember that you’re gone and now i’m here and i’ve crossed you out. you can’t come back. i’m marking your grave and you don’t have a choice. i’m making your grave with broken trees and fallen branches. I’m claiming this grass, and this place, and you can’t come here. i’m marking them with sticks and branches and trees and maybe i’ll plant a forest. maybe i’ll make a bonfire and have a party and you can’t come. and while i’m lying there, in the grass, faceless, or without your face. and while i’m on the ground, in that square, and that place, and i’m sitting there or crying or remembering you’re not there

but, then you can’t come because you’re dead, and this is your grave, and i crossed you out. ›››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››

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the gardener

the plants were high, like children without payments or cars or neighbors. the gardener had strung her green, leafy plants from the ceiling near the giant entrance windows of the house. every morning, when the gardener awoke, she opened the curtain and the sun was like the yellow-crusted stage lights. the plants were the props on a stage- a recreation, an inspiration, a forum for imagination. the applause from inside the gardener’s stomach, was almost audible like a proud parent in the audience. the inside of the window smelled like april. the plants arms had grown twisted and tangled and touching. over years. over space. with her help, they had grown, touching. as the sun crawled inside the frame, it moved like a summer caterpillar, too big for it’s winter coat. outside, it was white and frozen. the inside plants would cling to the window pane, breathing and painting clouds with condensation.  some of the winter days, the plants were very sad because they could not go outside yet. heavy drops rallied in the painted clouds and the tears poured down the inside window pane in quiet, crooked paths. the window seal now a saturated tissue.  the gardener did not get angry at them for their tears. she did not want to rid herself of their unhappiness and didn’t erase, couldn’t erase their painted pictures. she found them very beautiful. she let them feel sadness and said, “like the coldest winter days, sometimes they are the brightest.”  one morning, the sun was very, very bright. as the gardener opened the curtain, she saw the cloud paintings were disappearing, a sign of short breath. the inside plants retreating, like ripples in the lake water. it would be another six weeks until she could move them to the porch.

she said and walked to the drawer with the envelope. the edges had torn and wrinkled with time but she could feel the seed inside. it was a large seed like an apple in a child’s hands. she placed it in her back pocket and grabbed the shovel, the watering can. the ground outside was cold, still snow covered but she knew exactly how many steps from the front door, to the middle of the garden. the plants tried to stay awake and wait for the gardener to return but their arms had grown tired and needed rest. the next morning, a giant, blooming tree had grown in the garden. the gardener pointed her finger and said, “it’s time i tell you this story.” the leaves on the inside plants grew firm and the window pane started to cover in small clouds. “this tree was born in winter, born in a place sleeping from life, born where there was only a open canvas, an open, empty canvas. in this moment, it is free from competition. it is free of errors. a white, untarnished stroke. today the sky is grey, the air is frozen, the clouds black, but the tree can bring the light. the sky may look like snow, like saturated rags strung from space but the tree will be the candle and the light can come from the ground.” the plants could feel the glowing heat from the tree and the ground glowing near its base. the indoor plants started to breath heavy breaths, deep breaths and the window was painted with big clouds, their oversized outlines. the window was fogging and their view of the new, outside tree was textured in condensation. the plants could breathe again. heavy, long breaths. and they could paint again. “there is light in every breath,” the gardener said. “it’s the season of symphonies, when we’re together. everything sounds acoustic,” she said. “just look at the tree when it is necessary. there is light in every breath.” ›››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››

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it’s what i learned

riding the city bus to work. even city buses have hierarchy.
 don't sit behind riders that have not showered or can’t shower. in the front, children scream at seeing-eye-dogs that hide under bus seats.
 singing isn't just for children.
 it's what i learned. people pushing strollers don't sleep.
 people pushing strollers are high on the hierarchy pyramid.
 don't sit behind crying babies
 who don't care
 if they're hurting your ears.
 putting your bag on the other seat
 doesn't mean someone won't sit there.
 single women on buses
 are there to be hit on.
 it's what i learned.
 i don't like baseball. and, i don’t like you. and, stop asking me.
 assertive women are undesirable.
 it's what i learned.

 sometimes, when it's raining,
 men give their umbrellas to pretty women.
 i always bring an umbrella.
 looking out rain-steamed windows
 doesn't make the bus drive slower.
 you still get to work at 8:57, 8:57, 8:57.
 sometimes, at transfer points, you see registered sex offenders.
 eating out doesn't happen at restaurants
 and no, i don't want to eat out with you.

the people i work for don't ride buses.
 republicans don't ride buses.
 people who can't afford bikes ride buses.

 friends don't recognize you in your work uniform.
 it's what i learned.
 jobs are hard to find. doctor visits are expensive.
 doctor visits don't,
 when jobs aren't found.
 college is a privilege.
 lonely people talk to bus drivers.
 lost bags aren't found.
 lost people are found
 on buses.
 it's what i learned.
 riding the city bus for two hours is possible. trains don't care if buses are late 
 or if you're late
 or sun burnt
 or what your last name is.

sometimes, buses take wrong turns, too.
 it's what i learned.
 but i won't always ride the bus,
 if i don't want to.
 it's what i learned.
 i'm white. i have privileges.
 it's what i know. it’s my education on the city bus. ››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››

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Article by Cooper Whitescarver & Design by Jonathan Sollie

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QR codes. Maybe you know what they are, maybe you don’t. You’ve probably seen them around on posters or products you buy from the store. What’s up with them? Let’s dive in and see what they’re all about. It turns out that QR is an acronym for “quick response” and it was originally developed in Japan. What’s so quick about them is that the data encoded within the code can be decoded, well, quickly. We’ve seen these codes on posters around campus and when they’re scanned they will take you to a website relating to the poster. It turns out these codes can hold more than just website addresses though. They can also contain 4,296 characters of text (Denso), 7,089 numbers, a phone number or a text message or even an email. These things can even hold up to the level 2 kanji character set (Japanese language). Pretty cool huh? They can hold so much data because they hold data both vertically and horizontally unlike standard barcodes, which can only hold data horizontally. If you have a QR code reader on your mobile device, try scanning the one here. If you don’t have one, you can find an online decoder and try it there. It’s pretty large but it’s holding 246 characters of text. The less information the code holds, the smaller it is.

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This is an example of a complicated QR code and shows just how much data can be contained in a single image juxtaposed next to a simpler version.

Let’s try some experimentation the following should take you to our website. Just a standard QR code, nothing special.

No way! That actually still works. I couldn’t believe it the first time I tried it. I’m still baffled how this is enough data to still get our web address from it. Keep reading to see how this worked despite the added graphic.

Great, that worked. Not let’s add color and our logo to it. There’s no way this is going to actually work but it’s worth a try.

Let’s break down the various parts of a QR code with the help of the web. The QR code page contains this image that tries to explain the various aspects of these codes but I wasn’t satisfied. I dug deeper.


Version Information


Format Information


It turns out the large black squares located in the three corners are so the decoder knows the orientation of the code. The data is held within the little black dots that are throughout the code. QR codes are so awesome and durable that even if 30% of the data is missing from damage, design, or dirt, it can still be recovered! That is why I could put the Pepper logo on top of the code and it still worked. Stay under 30% and you’re golden.

Data and Error Correction Keys

This was a very brief overview of this technology. If you’re interested in reading more, I’d suggest visiting the inventor’s website: Works Cited Denso. QR Code Features. <>.

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Article by Theresa Ptak, Photography & Design by Jesse Lindhorst

Attention designers! Imagine. You are given a single page advertisement due by the end of the week. The item to advertise – a can of soup. Your creation method is up to you, any method without touching your computer. Wait. Is this possible? Yes. No Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop or any other design software.…zilch. It’s 1975 and MacBook Pro doesn’t exist. Actually, at this point, Steve Jobs is still working for Atari. To start, there is paper and pencil. What else is there to work with? The answer is plenty! Although a more time consuming and tedious, there are many tricks and tools that can be used to create a unique piece. While technology and trends change over time, principles of design such as color, shape, size, composition, craft and unity stay the same. A graphic designer has always started with preliminary ideation—the process of sketching and making thumnail drawings. This hasn’t changed. But, unitl recently, the next few steps were very different. First, aferr having one draft ideas approved, the deisgner would next create a final layout. This contains detailed type and artwork specifications such as type size, if the type was colored, and where the illustration would be placed on the layout. Still next, the wording was sent to a typesetter. The artwork to an illustrator. After these separate steps were completed, everything would be complied into a single, finished layout. Last, everything would be photographed and printed. Layers of acetate (a thin, plastic like sheet covering) would overlay the layout to differentiate between layers of color other directions for the printer.

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My mom studied advertising in 1985 and went through the design process, I described above. This sounded bazzare and fascinating to me. As a design student today, I followed up this discussion with questions about what designers less than 30 years ago used for materials when creating a comprehensive layout. I’ve drawn out a comparison of modern illustrator tools and compared them to the typical “taboret.” Some are obvious alternatives, others are not but either way, it

ing widths manually filled with special ink and had to be disassembled and cleaned by hand. Type Tool A T-Square, pencil, tech pens, and utility knife and lettering brushes would be used to draw letters by hand. The utility knife was often used to chisel pencil leads or sharpies into “nib” shape for clean lettering on pencil rough layouts. Also a “Letraset” type catalog was used for purchasing rub on lettering sheets, color film, borders, etc. for layout presentation.

devlops an appreciation for where design started and the hand-crafted touch we’ve grown away from. Pen and Selection Tools: The T-square and triangle might’ve been one of the most valuable tools as a graphic designer. These would be used to draw simple and clean grids, guidelines, and shapes. Handrawn with quality tech pens, usually a “rapidograph” set. These were technical pens of vary-

Shapes Tool Shapes were either drawn by hand or with circle and oval templates. A proportion wheel was kept nearby at all times to figure the changing proportions of objects. Mounting/Matting Rubber cement was used quite often, as well as spray mount. An alternative to these two was a waxer- a hand held electric roller that had a compartment to melt the special wax cubes. You’d warm this up and then roll

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out a thin layer of wax over the back side of the hard copy which was then positioned on the art-boards and rubbed down with a brayer roller to adhere the copy to the art board when preparing camera ready art. Free Transform, Scale, and Zoom Tool One way of scaling your work was by using a lucidograph or “lucy machine”. This machine was used to adjust your photograph or drawing to the appropriate size using a lighted table. After placing your artwork on top, a crank (crazy, I know) on the side of the machine would raise and lower your drawing to the appropriate size, and you’d then trace your image. (Very similar to the idea of an overhead projector.) Can you imagine using something like this every time you needed a photo sized? In a modern, fast-paced art and design community, it’s easy to forget where design started. Now we have instant connections and programs that allow us to change a final product with a few clicks and the files are adjusted. It is difficult to comprehend that the tools that we use everyday took designers hours and hours of work time: sketching, cutting, matting, stenciling, gluing, typesetting, aligning, and re-sizing. I only hope that I can apply the same meticulous, hand crafted devotion to my work, Mac or no Mac.

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Photo by Stan Balazia

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The band getting emotional as they played at K3Kraze in their hometown of Kankakee, Illinois at the Majestic Theater. Photos by Anthony Batsch, and Peyton Marcotte.

Article by Chris Lyons & Design by Jonathan Sollie

Do you dig modern alt rock but can’t get enough pop at the same time? Maybe throw in a dash of core and melody just to make you happy? If this sounds good that’s what you come out with for this month’s musical feature, At Rifts End. Judge them by first glance and you will be in for quite the surprise once they strike up their first chord, keeping your ear drums pleased until you’re hurled into the pit during a core breakdown! Harnessing their young talent this group is growing rapidly, gaining acknowledgment around the Midwest from the Chicago area up to UW-Stout. The five piece group compiled of Haleigh Boatright (vox), Taylor Reid (drums), Tyler Stark (guitar), Josh Moore (guitar), and Austin Girard (bass/keys) has been a group in some form or another since early 2008 and have not stopped since. As the group got older their drive has increased and continues to grow. At Rifts End means getting through tough

times in life, and moving on to bigger, and better things, which is just what they are up to. The group recently recorded an EP which should be released sometime in May/June 2011 and you can hear their recently dropped single “Friends Come & Go, but Enemies Accumulate” online. This song shows strong signs of where the group is headed musically as it contains plenty of catchy melody, driving rock, and caps off the end with a breakdown that will dislocate your arms while you hardcore dance. The group is all about playing music with friends and having a good time, something that can be seen in their raw emotion on stage. Check out this band on the web at their website or on the ever and always present Facebook for more news, coming shows, or just to hear what it is they’ve got.

Music they enjoy: 311, Dan Fogleburg, Emery, The Word Alive Sponsors: Knucklehead Strings & Picks Contact info:,

‹‹ Pepper Magazine ‹‹ Issue No.03 ‹‹ Mass Production ‹‹ 21

The Devil is in the Detail Design & Photography by Jesse Lindhorst

Pepper Interview | Studio On Fire | Principal & Design Director, Ben Levitz Ben Levitz is the Principal & Design Director of Studio On Fire, a letterpress shop located in Northeast Minneapolis. Letterpress is a traditional printing process to emboss illustration and typography into paper and other substrates. Studio On Fire is pushing the capabilities of letterpress in the world of modern design. “The Devil is in the Detail.”

Pepper: How Did Studio On Fire get started? Levitz: It was a reaction to being unhappy as a designer. It was unhappiness in the sense that I wasn’t making anything with my hands, not like I was making art in college with drawing, painting or sculpture. It really influenced my design and material choices. In 1998 when I graduated from the College of Visual Arts in St. Paul, these things weren’t a big part of design. The compared to modern design, the process used to be far more hands-on and manual. My class was one of the last to go through a key-lining course. This means that we worked with rapidographs, non-photo blue pencils, and were physically cutting and pasting pieces into a layout. Much of what was happening with design 20 years ago is completely foreign to designers

now. With all the technology there has been a decline in the hand-done quality of work. Even the process of sitting down and sketching has become a completely digital exercise. What brought me into the letterpress industry was really a desire to do something that resembled what I loved about sculpture. For example, the tools are large and heavy. You need to tend to them, oil them. You need to be familiar with their capabilities. The press and the materials are a hands-on process. I wanted to get away from the computer screen so I started setting type by hand in the basement of my home. We see that in a lot of letterpress work where it can tend to be more nostalgic or whimsical. Handset elements have a very particular feel to them. There


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are very few people who can get past the vintage letterpress look when working with these materials. A contradiction to this norm is Hammerpress in Kansas City. They use consistent patterns, forms, and aesthetics to make their work contemporary. I was trying to find a link between the capabilities of the computer and a way to apply that to creatively apply that to letterpress materials, making sure the design is appropriate for the process. Ever since that press hit my basement in 1999, it has been constant learning. I started out printing my own work and quickly networked with other design shops where designers wanted their work letterpressed. Next, they told their friends. In 2006, it got to a point where I was working 40 hours a week at Carmichael Lynch as the Senior Designer and another 40 hours a week on the press. Finally, I was then able to make letterpress a fulltime occupation with the help of some other people. We have been working closely with other designers doing highly custom and highly refined design work for about 12 years.

›› Even the process of sitting down and sketching has become a completely digital exercise. ‹‹ Pepper: You have mentioned before that you can turn down clients if the project doesn’t seem right. Can you expand on this? Levitz: There is a very particular project that goes along with letterpress given elements like the paper and design. The work that we know is within our capabilities is the work we solidly go after. I don’t want unimpressive work going out the door. It is the same Left ›› Working on a light table to get a plate ready for the press. This process starts with the creation of a design, creating a negative by photosetting the image, and then burning it to a plastic plate.

Top ›› This iron beast is their newest companion, an Original Heidlburg letterpress.


as a designer’s portfolio—You are only as good as your worst piece. This shop isn’t 100% design and we aren’t 100% production. Mass production is very different for letterpress compared to what it is for offset. Most of our quantities tend to be less than 1000 pieces but they become design objects that people hold onto including wedding invitations, poster print additions, and business cards. They’re pieces that are not to be discarded. This makes us feel good about what we produce as a shop. It is highly crafted work. Almost daily, people request to have work done within a couple days. That isn’t possible. Letterpress is a process that takes refinement; there is no “easy button.” The ink is mixed by hand. The paper is custom. We work with the designer on the front end to make sure the piece turns out as they expect it. Pepper: Did you struggle to build a reputation as a letterpress studio as the industry started to turn digital? Levitz: We didn’t struggle at all. Studio On Fire was one of a handful of shops in the nation that raised the tide on letterpress. I think being able to work alongside designers helped us follow a goal. We get all of our business from word of mouth or our blog (beastpieces. com). The blog helps show the behind-the-scenes look


‹‹ Pepper Magazine ‹‹ Issue No.03 ‹‹ Mass Production ‹‹ 23

at how our projects progress. I try to post something of our work up every week to keep up the constant exposure of what our shop is about. Plus, the easier it is for someone to walk into a quick-print shop, the more demand is created for what we do. It is the counterpoint to the quick, instant-satisfaction process.

›› Letterpress is a process that takes refinement; there is no “easy button” ‹‹ Pepper: How did your logo develop? Where did the hand with the bandaged finger come into play with your studio’s image?


Levitz: This is the original logo from 1999. The bandaged finger on the hand represents tactility and the hands-on aspect of our studio. The name itself came from personal influence of mine, Frederic Goudy, the designer of the original Goudy Old Style typeface. His original ideations and drawings were lost within a studio fire in 1939. Pepper: What is one guideline that your studio follows without question? Levitz: The Devil is in the Detail.

Left ›› Some of the numerous warning stickers covering the wonderfully dangerous iron beasts.

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Top ›› Ben Levitz showing us a fraction the die-cutting boards used to cut shapes and patterns into their work. Die-cutting is another function of the iron letterpress machines in Studio On Fire.

an issue of



Our Thanks We would love to thank everyone who helped produce Issue3 of Pepper Magazine. This one came together really quick and without the dedication of these awesome people and a few all-nighters you would not be reading this. With each issue we get to work with new folks as well as those returning. Join Us We are always looking for great talent. Each issue will feature new and returning staff members. Take a peek to the right and see who worked on Issue3 of Pepper Magazine. If you would like to see your name on that list in the future then make sure to contact us with your name and what you are interest in contributing.

E: W:

Editor-in-Chief, Designer: Jonathan Sollie Managing Editor, Designer: Jesse Lindhorst Freelance Editor, Writer: Katrina Wollet Writer, Editor: Cooper Whitescarver Designer: Jason Pfitzer Designer: Jessica Sumption Writer: Chris Lyons Writer: Luke Sollie Writer: Rodal Sylte Writer: Theresa Ptak Photographer: Anthony Batsh Photographer: Peyton Marcotte Photographer: Stan Balazia Printer: Brandon Turner Printer: Bhaskar Gaddam Printer: Dani Beck Advisor: Alex DeArmond


Pepper Magazine 01


Thank You We’re looking forward to seeing you next year

no.03 © 2011





Pepper Issue No.03 | Mass Production  

In this issue we deal with the idea of mass production and where it is in our society. We explore design and prose in an effort to make awar...

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