Meet the Maker: Kate Murray of Quick Brown Fox

´Kate Murray of Quick Brown Fox Letterpress Earlier this month, I had a chance to sit down and chat with Kate Murray of Quick Brown Fox. I love getting to know the makers we feature in our Postmark’d Studio PostBox. I don’t know about you, but I think it makes sending the card a little more special when I send creations from “a friend.” Grab a cup of coffee (or a glass of wine if it’s Happy Hour), sit back, and get to know Kate.

Anne: When did you start Quick Brown Fox Letterpress?

Kate: I started Quick Brown Fox Letterpress a little over four years ago when I found a press that was about to be scrapped. I was able to salvage it and immediately went to work designing and printing my line.

Anne: Did you derive your name from the pangram “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog?”

Kate: I did! I love so many different fonts, so I was super-familiar with that pangram. It’s also super-memorable, so sometimes my business feels familiar to people even when I was just getting started. I also try to be super-quick with all my work, so I definitely took the name to heart.

Anne: Have you created a card illustrating that pangram?

Kate: I have! I designed it a while ago, and it’s just been sitting in my “one day print this” folder on my computer.

Anne: Tell us about your business.

Kate: I started working in letterpress studios just out of college and knew I wanted my own shop one day. When I found my first press (a tabletop), I convinced my husband to drive with me overnight to Cincinnati from Brooklyn. From there, I couldn’t wait to buy a bigger press! Once I found my Golding Jobber, it’s been nonstop. Since I am a one-woman studio, everything that leaves my shop has been designed, printed, packed, and shipped by me, so every card is very personal to me, and it means a lot when anyone loves the work. It’s definitely a labor of love. I still have dreams about a storefront one day where I can sell cards and teach classes.

Anne: Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Kate: I draw inspiration from objects around me. I think of something fun I’d love to draw and then try to think of a good pun to go with it. I have a sketchbook that goes everywhere with me that I write and draw my ideas in. There’s actually a pretty big list of things to work from, so when I’m in the mood to start working on a design, I have quite a bit to pull from.

Pinata Card from Quick Brown Fox Letterpress

Anne: What Inspired the piñata card?

Kate: A store down the street from my apartment always has these piñatas in the window. Once I saw them I knew I had to work them into a card. I always try to make a card that will make someone laugh and hopefully brighten their day. Also, if I can make my husband laugh with the idea, I know I’ve hit on something.

Anne: The piñata card is so detailed. How do you not lose your mind printing four colors plus black?

Kate: It becomes a bit meditative. I’m never just printing one card—usually there are 10-15 I need to restock, so I print all the blacks, all the blues, all the pinks, and so on for a few hundred cards at once. I can definitely zone out while printing and forget what time it is—for me, it’s a bit Zen.

Anne: How much time does the set-up take?

Kate: The first time I print the card, it always takes the longest. I don’t work with crop marks, so it’s a lot of adjustment on press. After I’ve printed it the first time, though, each set-up only takes about 5 minutes.

Anne: Is there a specific order you print the colors in?

Kate: I always work from darkest to lightest. So, the black comes first to help with registration, and I end with the lightest color.

Anne: How many cards do you produce in a run?

Kate: For a card like the Piñata Card, I generally run about 100 so I won’t have to print for a while. My studio in Brooklyn is pretty small, though, so for the less-complicated cards, I generally like to keep about 40 of each in stock.

Anne: I am so amazed at the fussiness of each of those candy pieces. Have you ever woken up and thought, “I don’t have the patience for this print run today, maybe tomorrow”?

Kate: I think because I love printing so much, I don’t mind all the crazy registration. I always like to be challenged, so it’s fun when each card I print presents different challenges. Plus, the relief and sense of accomplishment when I finish is pretty great! I’m always like, “Whoa, you only lost two cards this time! Amazing—next time, only one card!” It becomes a way to keep myself entertained on press. I definitely have a few designs I haven’t printed yet because I’m not sure I want the headache I know they’ll bring!

Anne: Most importantly, what is your favorite candy?

Kate: Anything taffy. I don’t like chocolate, so I tend towards the fruit-flavored candies. I had a mango saltwater taffy recently which was amazing!

Anne: What are you listening to lately?

Kate: Loads of podcasts. I got pulled into Buffering the Vampire Slayer (which I binged), and now I’m playing catch-up with all the other podcasts I listen to (Beautiful Anonymous, My Favorite Murder, America’s National Parks Podcast, Crimetown, too many).

Anne: What are you crushing on?

Kate: I’m living for bright colors and foil right now. If you can combine both, I’ll probably buy it (USPS Dragon stamps, I’m looking at you).

Anne: Do you have some favorite places where you like to shop for stationery products?

Kate: I love Yours Truly in Brooklyn. They have the most amazing selection of pens. I’m also always at Paper Presentation buying color envelopes and fun liners!

Anne: Are you like the shoemaker’s children, or do you actually have personalized stationery for yourself?

Kate: I do! Sometimes my stationery is the off prints of what I’m currently working on, but I do have notecards for myself as well. I’m trying harder to keep up with my writing. I send each of my nieces (who live far away) a letter every week.

Anne: Would you call yourself a philatelist?

Kate: I wouldn’t, but I love stamps. I’m always buying whatever new ones come out at the post office. Right now, I’m obsessed with their Dragon stamps.

Anne: Finally, when you are not letter-pressing, what do you enjoy doing?

Kate: I’m a huge reader, and I’m currently in the middle of three books, so you can usually find me reading. I also love hiking and traveling to new breweries.

I hope you enjoyed getting to know Kate Murray of Quick Brown Fox Letterpress as much as I did. She has an awesome collection of cards that you can purchase at Quick Brown Fox Letterpress. You can also keep up with all of the things happening in her shop by following her on Instagram (@quickbrownfoxlp) and Facebook.



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