Thursday, May 6, 2010

Gocco-a-No No

I mentioned last week in my post about string lights that some things are just going to defeat me when it comes to wedding planning. We took the smarter route with our string lights, and at the end of the day it will prove to be an excellent decision. Some things I guess are just going to be FDDIY (fucking don't do it yourself!) projects for me. I'd love to tell you the next chapter in the story of getting completely OWNED by one of our wedding ideas.

Pretty much EXACTLY a year ago I somehow got it in my head that not only was I going to design the save-the-dates, the wedding invitations, the programs (if we had them), and the thank you cards, but I was also going to do the printing all by myself as well. Then in a stupid fucking game of one-ups-manship with MYSELF I raised the stakes and decided to screen print the invitations as well. "Oh, computer printers are for chumps. When people get our screen printed invitations and can feel the ink on the paper, they'll be so impressed." So, like a naive little idiot I packed my bag and began trekking through the internet to far and distant lands to buy a Gocco machine. (cue the Japanese gong) The little machine looks incredible. To this day, I'm still very very intrigued by it. It's like an easy bake oven meets a serious screen printer. I did my research... I read that I needed lots of bulbs, I read that I needed lots of screens, I read that I needed lots of inks.... so I found them all.... from a nice man in Japan. I was prepared. Nobody was going to pry that Gocco ebay auction from this groomzilla. I woke up at 3am to outbid people at the last possible second. After my win, too giddy to go back to sleep.

I got the machine a few weeks later, and even took pictures unpacking the highly coveted printer from the cardboard boxes with text in a different language. I held off on posting said pictures because I figured it would make more sense to post a big huge "these are my gocco-ed wedding invites" post. The Gocco was our first wedding related purchase. In many ways it kicked off wedding planning. It summoned the beginning of the wedding planning chapter of my life (cue the gong).

Months passed and I continued to do research about Gocco tips. Before using screens, put them in the fridge or the freezer, make carbon/photo copies of what you want to print - computer print outs won't work. I was preparing myself while Goco-zilla silently slept in his cardboard box in the linen closet. When it was time to start thinking about printing the save-the-date Rebecca and I finally decided on an idea that proved to be much too intricate and complex to screen print. It was much too graphic (see our STD here). Rather than setting ourselves up for inevitable failure we let Goco continue to sleep in his lair and got the STDs printed at an eco-friendly printing company.

So the STDs went out and I immediately began preparing for the wedding invitations. I designed our invitation with the Gocco in mind simpler design with only 2-3 colors needed. Here is where the problem beings to occur. I don't know the first thing about actually printing anything (screen printing). I guess I'm the equivalent of an armchair quarterback for photoshopping invitations... sure I know the ins and outs of photoshop/illustrator and I get by with what I believe to be an above average knowledge of photoshop & illustrator, but I could never go pro. I don't know enough about graphic design. Going into the design phase of the invitation here's what I believed would happen. We'd use grey paper purchased at a store, I would print black, white, and purple onto the invitation.

I finished the design for the main invitation card and figured we should buy paper asap because I knew the actual printing would be a arduous trial-and-error project that would take time to perfect. So we made our way to Paper Source with a computer print out of our invitation - sooo ahead of the ball, nearly 2 months before invitations needed to be sent.

The Paper Source girl ruined everything. Well she saved everything too, just depending which side you're rooting for. If you were rooting for the DIY miracle Goco win, as I was, tough luck. This is where my lack of experience came to bite me in the ass. She started throwing out terms like bleed, negative bleed, offset this and that jibber jabber that. I was clearly overmatched. I was so proud of myself when I told her that I made the image larger than it should be to compensate for borderless printing. But then she asked what I was planning to do for the white text if the paper is gray. Um... just use white ink? I was then informed that there's no such thing as white ink. Is that true? I mean, it makes sense I guess. I just assumed that the ink was like paint. There's white paint. So then we got schooled in the ways of screen printing. To do my design we'd have to get a white piece of paper Gocco it gray leaving the white text un-Gocco-ed. Holy shit... seriously? That would never work. I kind of went dead behind the eyes. The rest of her telling me how difficult my design (that took me about 2 weeks) would take was falling on deaf ears. It was like listening to someone underwater....just plain ol' screwed.

Then Ms. Paper Source came to the rescue. She said that my design was so nice, why don't I just have it professionally printed at her friend's printing company for less than I ever imagined it would cost to have something printed professionally. Granted, we went for the cheaper laser printer method instead of having them screen printed by a professional. It was a good idea to do this, but I was so so dejected. Just felt like I was beaten despite the fact that it was pretty much a win - a win meaning less work/stress for us and not TOO much more expensive.

Over the next week or so I finished all of our designs - sent them to the printer and got a proof. The Gocco watched silently from afar judging me. We decided to buy a nice paper that had a shimmer to it, and have our invitations printed on that instead of just plain white paper. When printed on plain nice heavy stock - the invitation looked a little dead. With the shimmer paper it gave it a pop and made it feel a little less "home printer-y". Seriously, like two days after approving the proof and letting the company know they should commence printing I left the shop with our invitations. It would have taken me months to screen print them.

So, in the end it all worked out. Our invitations are BEAUTIFUL. I really and truly effing love them. I'm so proud that I designed them, Rebecca tied them with ribbon, we printed our envelopes, stuffed em up, and mailed them out. I'm REALLY really pleased, and I still have that sense of DIY accomplishment. There's just a slight part of me that died the day my hopes of Gocco-ing were exterminated, but it was for the best. I guess the real moral of the story is: Sure DIY, but be realistic... and if you can PDIY (partly do it yourself) that's not such a bad thing either. We still saved a boatload of money!

SO my Gocco is going up for sale (cue the Japanese gong)! I know I didn't exactly paint a great picture of it with this post, but it's right for SOMEONE - just not me. I bought a package with a bunch of bulbs and screens and like 30 inks. I've got it all. If you're interested, email me. Look the things are popular for a reason. They're supposedly awesome - I just can't vouch for them!

LASTLY, I wanted to post some quick low quality pics of our invitations. When we take actual nice pictures I'll post them too, but for now I wanted to show them to you all!


  1. Davey, you also forgot to mention that the tree image in the photo is the tree at our wedding venue that our reception will be held under :)

  2. sorry the goccoing didn't work out, but they DO look lovely!!!

    i might be interested in taking some of that gocconess off your hands! do you have a price in mind? or would you be willing to sell some things separately?

    thanks a ton! for some reason i can't find your email, so if you wanna reach me: hifiweddings AT gmail DOT com :)

  3. I heart those things. You did a fantastic job!

  4. I don't want to look at your STDs!!!! Gross!

  5. Davey's momMay 6, 2010 at 2:12 PM

    Davey, you forgot to mention how beautifully your stamps match the envelopes!!!

  6. Oh, but they really do look great. However they were made. Of course, I am the queen of FDDIY, so I say embrace the ease and let gocco-zilla enjoy retirement. (Of course, I've had to retire a few crazy DIY ideas myself. Sewing-machine-zilla and the unsued reams of fabric are a painful reminder of my folly.)

    In all seriousness though, I love how the invite and RSVP coordinate. LOVE IT. And the tree outline (with your light strings!) is great. Love.

  7. The invites are AWESOME!!!!
    (and the stamp matched beautifully!)
    Looking forward to the celebration!
    Val & Joe

  8. This just makes me think of the DIY reality check flow chart that was posted by a guest blogger on 100 Layer Cake. Check out the bottom of the post for the actual flow chart:

  9. They look gorgeous and LOVE the string lights. The hard work payed off man. Good work.

  10. How much are you looking to sell the Gocco for? I've never tried it, but I too am intrigued. You can email me at seanandchels AT gmail DOT com if you don't want to post it on here.

  11. And, BTW, your invites came out beautifully.

  12. oh WOW! its greatttt! i love the design.

    I think you made the right choice :)

  13. These invitations are excellent! Great job!

  14. I'm confused, there is white ink for gocco. You could have done the string lights on a different master. Or am I missing something here? The invites look stunning though