Greeks Gone West: Meet the printer who overcame the 2008 recession and created her own letterpress studio and card business in California

26 October 2015

Julie Karatzis is the founder and owner of Cartoules Press, a design studio that uses the traditional "letterpress" technique. She was raised in Belmont, California but now lives in Long Beach. Her family is from Kefalonia.

Karatzis used to work in public relations at the firm Secret Agent PR. The company's clients included Dwell on Design, GOOD Magazine, the Los Angeles Design Festival, and the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center in Los Angeles.

In her own words...

On how it all began:
"In 2009 I graduated from college with a major in journalism. The 2008 recession was still on and I was looking for work. Around that time I got married to my husband in Greece. We wanted our wedding invitations to be unique. At the same time I was attending a typography class, and thought hey, I could do this myself. I took over some projects for friends and relatives and then started my own business, Cartoules Press."

On her printing method:
"I use the method of typography in what I do, which is the traditional print format that was discovered a few centuries ago. Because of computer and modern forms of printing, the construction of printing machines has been abandoned. Old typography professionals have now withdrawn. It is a piece of history that myself and a few other printers decided to bring back."

On creative blocks:
"The biggest challenge I sometimes encounter is a creative block, which I think happens to every artist. I work on my own, and therefore I need to constantly find new sources of inspiration. When I worked in public relations, I liked the cooperation and exchange of ideas among a group. Here, I don't have this, so I have to go out and seek sources of inspiration." 

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