Print Matters is a speaking event comprised of tales from Brian French, 6th Generation French Paper Company and Nick Sambrato, Mama’s Sauce Founder, about their respective companies combined 150 years (143 of those from French alone) of producing paper and printing in an ever modernizing world. We bring this circus from city to city and work with a local designer to creative a limited edition screen printed poster commemorating the event and attendees have the chance to letterpress their very own certificates of authenticity.
In this out of the kitchen post, we’re giving you a peak at our Print Matters Austin event. Hosted by AIGA Austin and OK Paper and the amazing IBM Design studio in North Austin. For this particular Print Matters, we partnered with Ryan Hamrick to help design the free poster giveaway. See some of the event and our excursion of Austin below – everything from live printing to staying in vintage Airstreams overlooking East Austin to biking the city to find Barton Springs, amongst other amazingness that the city of Austin has to offer.
— Jessica Tremblay (@poofichu) January 16, 2015
— Erica Manami (@ericamanami) January 16, 2015
— That Short Chick (@Ragdoll_Inc) January 16, 2015
— Jenny Hsiao (@TheOddestDetail) January 16, 2015
— AIGA Austin (@aigaaustin) January 16, 2015
Not all on staff are printers – it takes operations folks, shipping people, people operating cutters, glues, washing screens, and so much more. But we feel that each and every person working at the Sauce is in the design community, appreciating, loving, some printing, some designing, some supporting – all aching to hands dirty – this time screen printing. Enter our very first Sauce Labs, where we open up the shop to our staff to print their own personal projects. We’re so so busy printing all of your amazing work every day that we have to set aside after hours and weekends to get stuff done that our amazing staff wants to print for themselves. This one we snuck in just before the holidays, and as we guessed would happen, many people used the opportunity to print holiday-related pieces… Some people opted to just print… Well, something all together different. Hope you enjoy some of our staff’s first pass at printing their own personal projects with their own two hands. Welcome to after hours. Welcome to Sauce Labs.
This year we decided to not dress up like each other, but rather like a Halloween print…55Hi’s Mythical Creatures print to be specific… We opened up the paper vaults to allow the staff to grab whatever French Paper they needed to recreate a character of their choice, and the results we… Well, mythical!
And then there’s the #FBF – check out these Saucekateers costumes of Halloween past…
@ecrossprints – our letterpress woman extraordinaire
@elyssamelissa – letterpress apprentice
@hbirney – sales
@smiletoforget – finishing coordinator
@tim_styles – screen print operator, all around bad a.
It’s true – I ride a Sector 9 Bamboo Series for my 2-block commute to work every morning, so I got pretty stoked when they reached out to us to print the commemorative poster for this year’s Angie’s Curves Downhill Event. The design is so good and gets so much done with just four colors, we just had to feature it in hopes that it will inspire you to see some of what’s possible with spot color design… In this case, what’s possible with transparent overlays.
First, the basics of transparent overlays.
An transparent overlay is created by printing a semi-translucent ink on top of another ink in order to create a third color.
The yellow on top of the blue makes the green
The red on top of the blue makes the burgundy.
It’s a really simple way to get more colors out of your spot color designs. To implement this technique on the design-side you simply lay the two overlaying shapes on top of each other and set the top color to ‘Multiply’ – The resulting color will appear to be a third solid spot color. Viola! You are now getting 2-colors for the price of 1.
The possibilities with this print: 7 colors out of the 3 color layers, a black layer on top and then 1 color from the paper – so up to 9 colors from 4 screens.
For more on designing for transparent overlays let’s chat it up with the designer – Derek Hall.
First off, tell us a little bit about the design – it’s premise, the event it’s supporting, where you found inspiration for it, etc…
The design was based on an evolution from last year’s event poster. Our riders found this hill several years back and befriended the owner of the land out in the mountains, Angie. She was kind enough to let them skate it, even though it is private property. The hill is quite technical, so they started calling it Angie’s Curves. When Sector 9 decided to host our own officially sanctioned downhill race, it seemed like the obvious choice. Angie also happens to be Native American and raise wolves on her property. The art is pretty much a tribute to her for letting us host the race on such an epic hill.
Did you initially set out to design a screen printed poster or did the design find it’s way towards the process later?
This year we wanted to do a little more for the merchandising of the event than last year, so I suggested a silkscreened poster, gig style, in addition to the hats and tees we planned to run. I got the okay from marketing, so I went into the design process knowing it would be screened and had to create my art accordingly.
What was your comfort level with designing for spot color printing before this project?
I can easily say this isn’t my first barbecue. I’ve been working with tee graphics and skateboard graphics for almost 9 years now, so designing for screen printing and spot colors is fairly regular work.
We count a great deal more than 4 colors in the final print, did you initially design it as all these colors separated or was it designed to utilize the overlays in the way it does in the final print? Where did that idea come from?
The transparent overlays were purposeful. I designed the poster with a limited palette in mind, 4 colors max, and used multiply in Illustrator to test out the combinations of colors to try to create a larger final palette. I’ve followed DKNG over the years, and always loved how they get such depth and detail in their work with such a limited amount of screens and colors. It’s not a process that we use for screening tees or board transfers, so I was stoked to try it out with these posters. Plus, the more colors used, the more difficult the print can be, so keeping the colors down provides less room for error and missed registration… and it’s cheaper. HA!
What was the communication process like working with us? How did it differ, if at all, from working with other printers?
Communication with Mama’s Sauce has been great. You guys are super on point and timely in your responses. It took minimal time to get this project going, which was key as I had a tight deadline. Definitely the most professional print shop I’ve had the pleasure of dealing with, and I’ve dealt with quite a few over the years. I’m definitely looking forward to working with you again, and hopefully soon.
What’s your Sector9 of choice?
It’s an old Cosmic shape, the Rapa Nui. It the very first deck I designed for Sector 9, so it holds a special place for me.
Why Mama’s Sauce?
I’m something of a design nerd, so I regularly check out design blogs and other designer’s work, and I’ve seen some some great stuff come out of your shop. I actually suggested the silk screen posters with you guys in mind, hoping I’d finally have something I could send your way.
Lastly, where can we find more of your work?
Alas, my portfolio is down right now. It’s a designer’s curse, never being happy with your own work, so it’s under construction. However, I do have my hands on just about anything coming from (*ahem… shameless plug) Sector 9 Skateboards, Gullwing Truck Co., Rider Approved Designs (RAD), and Freeride Skateboards, so those are great places to start.
French Paper has always been a close partner. If fact, they’re more than our house stocked paper, they’re family. This past week we paid a house call from our house to theirs. Come inside and see how the one of the main paper lines that we use for our letterpress, screen print, and foil printing is made. Scans of their papers are available on our Papers Explained Page here.
Rifle Paper Co. asked us to do some live letterpress printing at their sidewalk sale, which pops up every few months. Of course we obliged. After all was said and done we printed 700 8×10 art prints, exclusive to the event. Rifle hung on to a few and put them in their online store. It was a lovely two days in Winter Park, Fl 32789 – who’s symbol is the peacock.
We’re hosting a little panel with Sean McCabe & Brian French to talk about design, manufacturing, and the joy of making things. Tickets to the actual event were gone in a flash and many of you (regrettably) don’t live in Orlando, so we decided to webcast this live. We’ll kick off the Q&A at 7:30 PM EST and it’ll run for about 45 minutes or so…ish. Ask us your questions using the chat box under this video and we’ll try to get to all of them! Thanks!
We’ve been getting antsy waiting for this lil’ beauty to come down the pike. Last year, we walked away from the FPO Awards with 13 winning entries. We couldn’t be any prouder of our production squad. Those lads & lasses put in the hours, the sweat, the tears, the blood, and it’s only fitting that their handiwork should be honored in such a pleasant volume. We’d highly recommend getting your hands on this book. It’s chock full of tasty print & design work. All of it is deeply inspiring to us; we love seeing what other shops are up to!
A big plus this year was getting the Best of Category award for our collaboration with local pal, Clark Orr, on his Willy Wonka Lickable Wallpaper Poster.
We’d highly recommend clocking at least a solid 45 minutes on the Web Version of the awards book. It’s a solid way to get deep into the vast array of production methods & approaches that are out there. If you happen to have a coffee table that frequently accompanies scintillating conversation, you should really think about getting a copy of this book to sit on it.
Lots of silkscreen & foil this week. It was fun to re-connect with our pals over at Visual Supply Co. as well as crank out tons of stationery for The Paper Cub. This week’s wedding work really stepped it up, too: lots of unorthodox goodness in that department. Also, we got to print some client work for a graduate of the Mama’s Sauce Internship; that always brings a smile to our face.