rocky mountain invitations

July 9th, 2014 by

Eric and Amy were married mountain top in Keystone, Colorado in July. Their invitations were elegant and a bit rustic. The front of the main invitation was blind printed with a hand-drawn design to accent the silver and gold text.  We used the same hand-drawn design printed in gold on the back. Gold edge printing and a coral ribbon finished up the set.

eric amy sm 01 eric amy sm 03 eric amy sm 02 eric amy sm 04 eric amy sm 05 eric amy sm 06 eric amy sm 07 eric amy sm 08

Photography | Julie Roberts

classic calligraphy invitations

June 17th, 2013 by

Claire & Micheal have a fabulous sense of style. They worked with Jennifer Laraia to bring their vision to life, and what a magical day it was! The invitations feature Feast Calligraphy The palate was soft tones of peach and grey with a touch of gold. We used pearl white 220lb cotton stock for the invitation and edge painted in gold. The RSVP was one color with a grey printed envelope. This was a weekend of events so we needed a clever way to invite guests to both the cocktail party Friday evening and the breakfast on Sunday without adding several additional pieces. We printed a ‘Let’s Celebrate’ card with a small vellum envelope attached.  Inside the envelope was a small card/coaster printed on each side with the details of the events. Lace and a gold seal wrapped the set together. A collection of vintage stamps and calligraphied envelopes made this one exciting package to receive in the mail and we think it was a wonderful prelude to the wedding itself.  Doesn’t it all just look stunning!

Photography courtesy Watson Studios – see all the wedding photos here.

Edge Painting is amazing!

August 7th, 2012 by

And so is John Shim!  He is a fantastic local photographer and a good friend of Fourth Year Studio.  He photographed Emily’s wedding and her most adorable proposal.  Her husband proposed while mountain biking and asked John to hide out and capture Emily’s very surprised and extremely happy reaction.  It really doesn’t get any better than that.

John came to us in need of a memorable, simple business card that spoke true to his brand.  The cards are printed onto either side of Crane’s 220lb cotton stock. We felt we needed to spice things up a little bit and the double thick paper gave us the perfect medium to use for edge painting.

We matched the letterpress ink tone and used an airbrush to paint the edges.  It was thrilling to see how well it turned out and it was truly the perfect pop!

Thank you John for allowing us to experiment on you!

edge detail

Photos by John Shim

blog love & black friday sale

November 21st, 2011 by


Making the decision to print our first calendar was a big project. After we started printing each page we became a little overwhelmed at the complexity of our design. Luckily it all turned out beautifully and we are so happy other folks like them too! Click on the banners above to see our quilt pattern letterpress calendar featured by some of our most favorite bloggers. We were also quite thrilled to receive a shout out on facebook by Design*Sponge.

If it turns out that you like our calendars too but have been waiting for a good reason to purchase one then you are in luck! We are offering 15% off all our etsy shop sales on Black Friday. Sale starts at midnight. After you add items to your cart just apply this coupon code BLACKFRIDAY2011. We will be spending time with our families and hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend – safe travels!

baby jackson’s announcement

September 20th, 2011 by

The design was kept modern and simple for sweet baby Jackson’s announcements.  The primary challenge was to achieve the practicality of a photo card while keeping the overall format timeless. A blind pressed pattern was used to frame his newborn stats and we hope the layering of cotton paper and photo will serve as an instant keepsake. His photo was stitched on with gray thread and it was all packaged into a kraft envelope.  We just love how the texture of the pattern compliments that of the blanket he is wrapped in, Congratulations John & Jenny on your newest addition!!


*photos by Dixie Pixel 

Southern Charm Invitations

September 13th, 2011 by

Casey and Andrew met while studying abroad, independently in Spain.  After returning back to the University of Tennessee they continued to date and travel together.  On the Fourth of July, Casey and Andrew tied the knot in Charleston, South Carolina.  It was a true destination wedding that offered a weekend full of fun gatherings for all the out of town guests. Fourth Year Studio provided event design and advice throughout the planning process and was onsite for the weekend as event coordinators.

Of course, the most fun we had was with their invitation design.  It paid tribute to historic Charleston while reflecting the glamour of the bride’s style.  Each event had a spot on the rsvp postcard to indicate which event the guest was planning to attend.  Four – two color letterpress pages were sewn together with a thin cotton fabric cover.  Casey & Andrew’s names were layered on a letterpress live oak image.  The live oak is a traditional low country icon and can be found throughout the city. Gray and coral tones complimented each other nicely and were tied together by the coral thread that held all four pieces together.  The last page was the perforated reply postcard.   Several of their guests loved the invitation so much they declined to tear off and mail back the rsvp but instead called in with their reply.

casey and andrew

*photos by Dixie Pixel










letterpress invitation & fan program

August 12th, 2011 by

We went to architecture school with Michael and were thrilled when he and Stephanie got engaged. They are truly the sweetest, quirky couple we know. After Michael had designed their save the dates they thought it would be less stressful to let us help with their invitations. Their ceremony was held at The Lily Barn in East Tennessee. We used a hand drawn sketch of the ground line at the venue. The path outlines their figures, creates a pond, and illustrates the cantilevered barn that the venue is famous for. Abstracted yellow lilies are scattered around them as they stand beside the barn with their small dogs. The accordion fold invite uses the text as a graphic element while overlapping the yellow and gray letterpress layers. A small yellow envelope encloses a vellum map of the wedding and reception site. The 110lb cotton paper was printed, folded, and sealed into a gray envelope with a simple, modern address label. Fourth Year Studio designed and letterpress printed a fan as their program.  It was the perfect way to share ceremony information with the guests at an outdoor summer wedding.  One of Stephanie’s bridesmaids made the wedding cake and used the silhouettes from the invitation as the cake topper – so cute!!  Thank you to the talented Julie Roberts for sharing some photos from the wedding day.  Check out more of their amazing photographs here.




hare thank-you

April 21st, 2011 by

While ordering plates for a job a few weeks back we had a little extra space for something. Excited, I decided to do a little something for myself!

I love my new last name, I mean its nothing too special I guess, but its fun. Most of the time when I leave it for a reservation or tell it to someone new it gets a little confused, but its simple: Haire. I also love that is it the name of a cute little bunny!!! That’s where I got the inspiration for a thank-you. It may be cheesy, but I’m in love with how it printed on the woodgrain paper.

Happy Easter!! It’s the weekend everyone can join me in loving bunnies!

diy Christmas Cards: Potato Stamp

December 14th, 2010 by

Dianna and I had really hoped to get “Holland” (our C&P letterpress) up and running in time to print Christmas Cards, but its not ready just yet, so I settled for a simpler technique — Potato Stamping! I’ve seen it done many times before creating some adorable fabrics. But here’s how I did it!

I started with some mini cookie cutters I found at Hobby Lobby (you can always draw your own design onto the potato), one medium/large potato, a pearing knife, an ink pad, and paper. First you cut the potato in half and take the cookie cutter of your choice, center it, and press down firmly into the potato. With the cookie cutter still in the potato, cut about 1/4″ from the top, throwing away all the excess potato edges. Remove the cookie cutter, and voila you have your stamp!

Next, choose your paper. I used some leftover paper from a wedding we did for a really fun couple (Jennifer + Brian). The paper was used as confetti for when they walked down the aisle and it has wildflower seeds in it! Cut the paper down to size (mine are 4″x6″ postcards) and stamp away! Make sure to ink your stamp well the first time and maybe use some test paper too.

What do you think? While I was at it I also made some gift tags for Christmas presents! Try it yourself the possibilities are endless!

Coptic Bound.

December 9th, 2010 by

How does a graphic designer showcase their work at a meeting with new clients or even friends for that matter? You don’t want to open a website and fumble through online images, the whole beauty of our work is its tactility and texture. We wanted our clients to be able to hold our work and get a good feel for its materiality and proportion with a little more finesse than toting around a manila envelope.

We studied the small sketchbooks that I made themed from Dianna’s wedding fabrics and wondered if we could make a bigger, bolder coptic bound portfolio book with the same character of the mini versions. And, while we’re at it why not stitch fabric pockets to house each project.

What is Coptic Binding you ask? Coptic Binding is dated back to the 2nd or 3rd Century AD. The name comes from the “copts”, a name given to Egyptians who converted to Christianity in the 1st century. This method was a variation of carpet weaving and they used it to hold their papyrus books together between wood covers (beautiful I can imagine)!

Why is it so great? Not only is coptic binding striking but it is also functional and here at Fourth Year Studio we are all about getting the most bang for your buck.  It is great for sketchbooks because when opened to any section, be it the first page or the last, the book lays flat. There’s no using one hand to hold the book open while the other is drawing. There is something to be said about a hand stitched binding versus a saddle stitch (staple) or coil binding.  Due to the size of our book it took two people; one to pull the thread and another to keep the book tight.

How do you do it? There are several tutorials on line, but in college I made my first coptic bound book during a graphic design class and since have made more than a dozen books from those same instructions. You start with 2 covers (matte board, chip board, or thin wood work great), at least 5 signatures (folded sections of paper ex. if your book is 4×6 then your paper is 8×6 folded horizontally — you can put as many sheets in a section I like to use 3), waxed thread (you can get online — try etsy), an awl, and a large enough sewing needle to thread a 3 or 4ply waxed thread. If you are interested in trying it for yourself use the web to search for tutorials or for detailed illustrations reference Volume III Non-Adhesive Binding: Exposed Spine Sewings by Keith Smith.

Do you think this technique will showcase our product well?