The Found Image Press Story
June 28, 2021
Once upon a time in sunny San Diego, California an artistically inclined paper collector had a dream. Why not turn his unique and beautiful assortment of postcards and vintage paper ephemera into a notecard publishing business? After convincing his wife Cate to be his business partner, Barry Bell started Found Image Press in 1996.
Their vision was to share Barry’s collection of regional postcards and the other curious, elegant, kooky, and sometimes kitschy images he had collected. High-quality paper products like notecards seemed like a good start. The sheer volume of images meant that Found Image Press could not use traditional inventory methods, so Barry and Cate learned about evolving print technologies and quickly adopted a print-on-demand business model. Over time they hired an eclectic team of computer geniuses, visual artists, sisters, cousins, daughters, and friends to help them build a fun, people-centered business.
The images are derived from vintage postcards, brochures, decals, labels, and other paper ephemera that pass Barry’s artistic standards for beauty and historical interest. Most of the images date from the 1890’s to the 1970’s. Over the years, the collection has blossomed from a few hundred to over 60,0000 vintage images across a wide variety of categories: common to obscure, regional to topical, every day to holiday and everything in between.
To maintain high standards of quality and authenticity, each original image is carefully scanned and reproduced exactly as found with minimal retouching or alteration. Sometimes Barry incorporates a humorous modern twist by adding text or changing colors.
Found Image Press is dedicated to printing and manufacturing on-demand in the USA. This enables customers to order in smaller quantities and reduces the waste of maintaining warehouse space and destroying unsold inventory. Manufacturing in the USA eliminates the pollution of shipping freight containers overseas and employs American workers and suppliers.
To further the sharing of great vintage images, Found Image Press added postcards, magnets, art prints, postcard booklets, and desk and wall calendars to its product mix. Every year Barry digs into the archive to create over 100 calendar titles that cover places from New York City to Paris and topics from Frogs to Cocktails. Recently, Found Image Press introduced a streamlined online ordering process and is having fun building an Instagram presence. Find us at foundimage.com and @foundimagepress.