Special Thanks to Marty Arbunich for his interest and to Dan Smith for the interview and great attention to detail in the article in general. Given their format, word count is at a minimum, but here in blog format, I can expand a bit on what Dan said in his original text.
The first set was prototyped by a student — actually, the boyfriend of a student (who was a student himself), but Howard kicked it off at the laser cutter and managed the first incarnation of the Etsy site for a while. After that, it passed from student to student:
- Prototype run and initial maintenance of Etsy site for one-off sales // Howard Li (Industrial design) https://howardli.com
- First mass production run // Kim André Bøe (Graphic Design... from Norway) https://www.kimaboe.com
- Second mass production run // Ziv Tsau (MFA Graphic Design… from Taiwan) https://www.atoziv.com
- Third mass production run // Mary Tolosa (BFA Industrial Design… from Philippines/SFBay) https://www.marytolosa.com
I’ve tried to enable each student to “keep as much of the pie” as possible… honestly, to date, I don’t think I’ve made any money, but I’ve gotten a curb stencil set or two which was the initial intent. I didn’t pry into the numbers, but they seemed quite happy with the arrangement. I had hoped that Mary could oversee the distribution, but she’s was selected for an exclusive internship in Portland (for a fairly famous shoe company up there) and had to leave a week after she finished cutting them, so I’ll be packing and mailing this batch.
Unlike past production runs — which had different sizes — this version is a universal version with a few extra number/characters and each stencil is the same physical size for easier sorting (Approx: 6X24in). All stencils are laser cut on thin polypropylene instead of paper for durability and repeated use. Their modular construction enables one set to serve many different addresses — I kind of imagine that a few neighbors will go in together on a set and share the cost which is one of the reasons for the more durable (i.e.: non-paper) construction and modular design. They will ship in a flat poly envelope (6X24) stiffened with thin plywood to avoid bending/damage.