About Us

Bryan

Chicago-based Midwest Ephemera LLC is a studio run by graphic designer, photographer, and letterpress printer Bryan Bedell and his family. MWE is a long-overdue consolidation of Bryan’s personal projects and interests outside of his work at Field Notes Brand.

Contact Us:

Email Bryan at midwestephemera@gmail.com

Call Bryan at 312-218-7079

Our mailing address is:
Midwest Ephemera
6917 W. Shakespeare Ave.
Chicago, IL 60707

Our shop is near Garfield Park in Chicago.
Visitors are welcome by appointment.

Our Philosopy:

We’re mechanics, not artists.

While creativity and craftsmanship are essential to any vocation, We’d argue that design is not a matter of personal expression or ornamentation. Design, like most jobs, is problem-solving, and a designer’s job is to expertly assemble text and images to convey a message effectively.

Designers are part of a team that also includes clients, writers, photographers, illustrators, printers, and end-users. A designer should value and respect everyone involved, and expect the same respect in return. The process and the result should be exciting, challenging, and rewarding for everyone, no matter how big or small the project. The “artfulness” and uniqueness of the result comes from the process of the team working together, it’s not a product of the designer’s ego.

We excel at getting maximum impact for your budget; not by cutting corners, but by making creative use of what’s available.

We do our best to work ethically and responsibly, and to consider our impact, privilege, and role in the community. If we make a mistake, we learn from it.

We’re not looking to take over the world, we wouldn’t even know what to do with it. We simply want to make awesome things for good people.

Our services:

Graphic Design: We’ve been designing for print for over 35 years. Logos, ’zines, invitations, manifestos, ads, flyers, posters, stationery, products, packaging, you name it, we love making it.

Letterpress Printing: Printing should never be an afterthought, design is nothing without quality printing and materials. We’re just getting started with our printing operation, but we’re not new to the field, we’ve been working closely with America’s best printers for decades. Our greatest strength is our familiarity with printing, binding, and production methods and materials, far beyond the experience of most designers.

Record and Jukebox Ephemera: Following a lifetime of record collecting, and a more recent interest in jukeboxes, we started making some reproduction jukebox lettering kits in 2020 and things took off from there. We’re developing exciting tools, gifts, and accessories for jukebox aficionados, record collectors, DJs, musicians, and music fans. We’d especially love to design and print your album cover, or talk to you about album covers, at great length.

Photography: We can photograph just about anything — people or products, in-studio or on-location, with strobes or natural light, still or motion, B&W or color, digital or analog…

Other services: We’ve picked up a lot of other skills over the years. We can write, edit, and proofread. We can manage projects and production (we offer our letterpress printing when appropriate, but we’re also uniquely qualified to work with other printers to get the results you need). We can illustrate a bit, especially technical and mechanical drawings. We’re handy with a wrench, and not afraid to get our hands dirty. We’re often described as “useful,” and that makes us happy. What’s better than “useful?”

Please allow us to show you what we can do!