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Expressing and Pressing in Lubbock

Written by in Inspire

From the Department of
Loud & Free Speech:

Letterpress Posters, Texas Style

Husband and wife duo, Dirk and Carol Fowler have been running f2design since 2000, but each takes on their own clients in their specialties. Carol focuses mainly on print collateral and event graphics, while Dirk is busy designing letterpress posters, music packaging, corporate identities, and editorial illustration. The beauty of this set-up is that they collaborate when needed and and bounce ideas off each other, so they’re not working in a vacuum from their remote studio in Lubbock, Texas.

“We are comfortable with each other and the way we work, and we have intentionally kept our shop to just the two of us. We have had the opportunity to work for high profile clients, but we are just as happy designing something for our kids’ schools,” Dirk says. “One of our kids is usually hanging out right beside us while we are working, and we are OK with that.”

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In the grand scheme of things, the Fowlers are right where they need to be. A long tradition of great musicians from Buddy Holly to Waylon Jennings and many more, hail from Lubbock. So, when the local PBS channel did a documentary film about the town’s music history, they hired Dirk to create posters for the premiere event. “My visual is a fairly straightforward interpretation of the film title Flat Land Open Sky. I like the idea that no matter the genre of music, or time period, all the musicians from this area had one thing in common: our expansive blue sky. Some might not see anything, while others might see it as limitless possibilities,” he explains.

FlatLandPoster

The 75 posters were letterpress printed on ASTROBRIGHTS® Lunar Blue. To achieve the fuzzy effect for the con trails, Dirk used a spray-paint stencil. “I really enjoy printing simple one or two color images on colored stock and using the paper color as an intricate part of the design. I also enjoy very small runs that include this type of hand work. You can easily see that a human made the poster.”

Photo Feb 24, 2 53 30 PM

Although the shop is small, f2design has churned out a startling number of posters over the years, many of which are for sale on their website. Dirk has had the good fortune of working with some great bands, including The Killers, the Avett Brothers, Modest Mouse, singer Lyle Lovett, and Wilco, with whom he’s had a ten-year run. As he notes, Wilco works with a lot of artists, and they like having posters to promote their events, so they commission one for almost every show, and, as Dirk says, “They’re easy to work with. They don’t present me with ideas, or specify certain subjects, but they know what they like and don’t like. They really allow the artist to be creative, but the work definitely has to fit the image of the band in order to be approved by them.”

WilcoFlag

These posters are a diptych for two consecutive shows at Stubb’s BBQ in Austin. Printed on Neenah’s STARWHITE®, the
two 18 x 24 inch letterpress posters work together to make the Texas flag.

The f2design tradition may well carry on to Dirk’s and Carol’s offspring. The two older boys, ages 16 and 13, have already made artwork for concert posters, while their five-year-old daughter enjoys being in the studio while they work. They are now in the process of setting up additional studio space for their oldest, who’s interested in screenprinting and fashion design. Lubbock may soon become known for churning out designers as well as musicians.

Appearing at Design Ranch This April

Dirk and Carol are hosting the “Print Everything” workshop at Design Ranch this April. Get thee to the Short Hills of Texas!

WilcoFlag