Author Archives: Don Burdge

About Don Burdge

CEO of BurdgeCooper

Designers Get a Feel for Engraving

The San Francisco Center for the Book was the venue on September 17th for a unique hands-on event, EngraveSF, which highlighted the fine craft of engraving and how it can enhance contemporary design applications.  Presented by The Ligature, BurdgeCooper and Mohawk Paper, over 150 graphic designers and brand managers mingled with their peers while seeing and feeling the different aspects of fine engraved printing.  Guests got to see first-hand a running press at the event, learn engraving’s historical context and see how this process can be an effective solution to current graphic designs.

Engraving’s characteristic raised feel, its rich opaque inks and its incredible control of detail have defined fine printing for generations. It is no longer reserved for formal invitations and social stationery. It is a perfect tool for creating beautiful printed messages that define, in our clients’ minds, a successful brand.

Dora Drimalas, principal and creative director of Hybrid-Design, spoke to the audience about how in today’s marketplace crowded with brands and messages we are bombarded with both electronic and printed communications. The graphic designer’s role in helping clients develop brands and messages that are noticed and remembered is more important now than ever before.

Dora Drimalas

Dora Drimalas speaking about electronic and printed types of communication.

Studies continue to show that professionally designed and well produced communications stand out. Our sense of touch creates lasting impressions. Engraving, as a printing process, is the perfect solution for helping our clients develop brands and messages that convey trust, quality and success and that are remembered.

Dora’s extensive background in brand strategy and design has allowed her to work intimately with some of the largest brands in the world, most notably with her continued long term relationship with Nike, as well as Apple, Sony, Samsung, Starwood, and Mohawk Fine Paper among many others. The studio environment and process that Dora has created with her husband Brian Flynn is the key to Hybrid’s success. It centers around the idea that new things happen when different forces overlap. Hybrid proves this theory daily with their studio work and their experimental toy company and retail store, Super7, and its various artist collaborations and projects.

Mohawk Representatives

Our Mohawk Representatives enjoying the event!

Dora and Hybrid-Design have worked closely with Mohawk Paper and their collaboration with the growing Maker movement. Hybrid-Design and Mohawk partner with craft printers in support of tactility, quality and craft of all forms of print. Mohawk is proud publisher of the Mohawk Maker Quarterly.

Mohawk is North America’s largest privately-owned manufacturer of fine papers and envelopes which include the signature brands Mohawk Superfine® and Strathmore®. With a culture of innovation, Mohawk’s business model now extends beyond paper manufacturing into new areas of growth, including digital substrates.  As a leader in environmentally and socially responsible business practices, Mohawk was the first U.S. manufacturer of commercial printing papers to match 100% of its electricity with wind power renewable energy credits and the first U.S. premium paper mill to shift toward carbon neutral production. Mohawk’s portfolio of recycled papers is certified by Green Seal and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

Mohawk is a fourth-generation, family-owned and operated business based in Cohoes, New York, with global sales and operations located throughout North America, Europe and Asia.

The Ligature and BurdgeCooper

John Litster (The Ligature), Conner Baird (The Ligature), Don Burdge (BurdgeCooper), and Chip Forman (The Ligature) all enjoying Engrave SF!

The Ligature is a full-service commercial printer with manufacturing facilities in Los Angeles and Berkeley.  They are dedicated to maximizing the impact of your brand through the art of printing and engraving while simplifying the order process.

BurdgeCooper brings ten in-house printing and finishing processes to international clients with production facilities in Los Angeles. A specialty print house with roots going back a century offering Engraving, Letterpress, Embossing, Foil Stamping, Die Cutting, Offset, Digital, Binding, Thermography, and Edge Painting under one roof.

The Ligature and BurdgeCooper are both owned by Taylor Corporation, one of the largest privately held companies in the United States and a premier provider of interactive, printing and marketing solutions to more than half of the Fortune 500 companies and millions of small businesses and consumers around the world.

Design to Touch Books

Design to Touch Books

SF Center for the Book

SF Center for the Book – Engrave SF Venue

EngraveSF takeaway

The take home piece being produced at Engrave SF.

Merit Badge Day


August 15, 2015 – Carson, California – One Hundred Boy Scouts descended upon the International Printing Museum in Carson California on a warm Saturday in August to earn two merit badges; Pulp & Paper and Graphic Arts.  Thanks to over 30 museum and industry volunteers, the boys made paper, silk screened t-shirts, and printed cards they designed that day.


Ten groups of ten boys rotated every half hour to various stations set up around the museum property in order to pass the requirements for the two merit badges.  On the museum grounds, volunteers helped the boys blend pulp which was then poured onto wire frames allowing each boy to take home the paper they made.

The boys silk screened their own commemorative Merit Badge Day T-shirts while volunteers taught the boys about various bindery methods and how to identify different types of printing they run across at home and at school in order to fulfill that requirement for the graphic arts merit badge.

Since the first Merit Badge Day on May 7th 2011, over 1,800 boys have been exposed to the graphic arts and paper industry at the International Printing Museum.  Mark Barbour, curator of the museum, Dan Freeland, museum chairman, and I came up with the idea to host a merit badge day in order to promote paper making and the graphic arts to a generation of kids raised on iPads and cell phones.  This was during a time when funding was cut in the education system for printing programs.


Fewer and fewer boys are learning about our industry and we thought there might be a desire among the boy scouts to learn while earning a merit badge.  I contacted the Boy Scout National Office back then and learned that the Graphic Arts and Pulp and Paper Merit Badges were among the least popular of all the merit badges boys can earn.  When my son was in scouts, I remembered that Merit badge days were popular among boys seeking rank advancement. At the same time Mark had been working on a way to get the Boy Scouts more involved with the museum so we came up with the idea of creating a Merit Badge Day.

When asked why they signed up, one boy from Orange County said he had always been interested in Printing and this sounded “Cool”.  Another boy said he liked engineering and he thought a job in this industry might be interesting.  A third scout said he was there because his friend decided to come and he liked the chance to make something by hand.


Because of the Merit Badge Day, the Printing Museum now has a steady stream of new visitors, the Boy Scouts now have a way to learn about our industry while earning two merit badges, and the printing industry is once again educating a group of smart and engaged boys who will soon enter the workforce. Now thousands of boys are learning about the careers and benefits of the graphic arts and paper industries.


BurdgeCooper and The Ligature to Join Forces

The Ligature and BurdgeCooper LogosI am excited to announce that BurdgeCooper and The Ligature, two of Southern California’s most well respected specialty printers will be joining forces on February 1, 2014. Both companies are headquartered in Los Angeles and together they will create a unique printing and engraving company in both scale and manufacturing capability. The Ligature has operations in Los Angeles and Berkeley while BurdgeCooper has sales and customer service support in Atlanta and Denver. Initially, both companies will continue to operate their respective Los Angeles facilities with a plan to integrate them into The Ligature facility by the end of 2014. Continue reading

The Power of Making


Studies confirm that tactile input had a positive effect on the evaluation of products, especially for products high in quality. In the last two years, we’ve seen a cultural shift towards “makers” – people who are handcrafting goods — ranging from shirts to dice to food — with high quality materials. The maker movement has four main philosophies:

  • If it can be imagined, it can be made.
  • A most effective step in refining/developing a thing is collaborating with others on it.
  • Begin with the end in mind.
  • Making things always combines form with function; the art of making should be appreciated and celebrated. Continue reading

Paper & Pixels: A Brief History

For over a decade, we’ve been supposedly hearing the death knell for print: print is dead, nobody prints anymore, everything is electronic… You’ve heard it too. In the past several decades, communication has changed drastically due to new technology — cell phones, wireless internet, tablets, social media, ebooks. Questions are asked when new technology is introduced, and they all tend to be the same. In regards to communication, a common question is “Will [     ] kill print?” The answer is no.

Print is a sector of the communication industry, and people are communicating more now than ever before — on all channels. To understand how print has adapted in the past, we’re going to take a quick glimpse of the history of communication.

Continue reading

Haptics: The desire to touch

Desire to Touch

A common skeuomorph are wall coverings designed to look like stone, brick, tile, or wood – a structure is artificially given the look of materials that it used to require to make it.

Last week I introduced the topic of haptics – today, I’m going to go a little deeper into sensory marketing by introducing a new concept, skeuomorphism, and how understanding it can help your business.
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Haptics: The power of touch

The power of touch

Have you heard of haptics? The word “haptics” comes from the Greek “απτω,” meaning “I fasten onto, I touch,” and in the modern world is any form of nonverbal communication involving touch. Haptic sense provides information about surfaces and textures and is vital in interpersonal relationships in relaying intimacy. Touch is the earliest sense to develop in utero. Every culture has a set of haptics traditions, and the sense of touch is both physical and emotional.

Now that you’ve learned something new for the day… how will it be useful to you and your business? Continue reading

Thank You Notes Increase Business by 25%

One Kings Lane, the online fine home goods store, decided to thank their customers by sending them a set of eight engraved notes and envelopes after they placed their first order. According to Elizabeth Dobbin, OKL purchasing manager, the primary objective of this campaign was to increase the customer’s rate of placing their 2nd purchase. Their secondary objective was to reinforce the One Kings Lane brand as a high-end online retailer. This campaign successfully met both their goals.

One Kings Lane sent the gift cards to a random sample of first time buyers and held back the gift from another sample set of the same size. They found that there was a 25% increase in 2nd orders placed from the group that received the free gift, thus generating significant revenue beyond the cost of the program. The ROI was enough to increase the number of gift sets OKL ordered from BurdgeCooper the next year by 15%. Continue reading

Not So Fast

It make sense for the decline of printed dictionaries and encyclopedias, but why did everyone give up so fast on print components for ad campaigns? takes a closer look at the advantages of print media for advertising:

Tangibility- You can touch it, while most ads on the internet disappear in the blink of an eye.

Credibility- Besides a paper cut, what’s the most damage a postcard can do? Fear of spam and viruses make people weary of clicking.

Engagement- Most websites are skimmed in less than 15 seconds. Print retains people attention 30 % longer.

Less print ads- The advantage of print ad decline, publications are less crowded, so you stand out and probably at a cheaper price.

Qr Codes- Print 2.0 or smart print is all about finding balances using various media. QR codes allow your campaigns to be multi-touch and interactive.