In the Kitchen: Transparent Overlays with Sector 9

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.

Steps

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.

For example.
The yellow on top of the blue makes the green
The red on top of the blue makes the burgundy.
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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.

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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.

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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.

you can buy this beautiful 18×24 print from sector9 online here
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Music in video by Casework (If Hogan’s your salesman here, tell him how good his bass playing is on the track)

Cleaning Out the Fridge: A Week in Print, Vol. 3

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.

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White & Gold foil was used on these self-promotional coasters for Visual Supply Co. Printed on Neenah Classic Crest Epic Black 260 lb. Cover.
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1 color screen printed poster by Adam Trageser. Order here.

Arleigh-Stephanie-Wedding-Wood

1 color screen printed wedding invite by Stephanie Doyle. Printed on Walnut Veneer.

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Bridal brunch invite by Kristie Hoover. Gold foil stamp on Colorplan Emerald.
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Foil stamped bridal suite by Kristie Hoover on Colorplan Paper

Lillian-It-Business-Cards

Foil stamped & screen printed business cards for It! Events & Media. Designed by Sauce Internship Alum Lillian Vides and printed on duplexed French Pop-Tone Sno Cone & Neenah Classic Crest Natural White.

The rest of these goodies were designed by The Paper Cub and screen printed on French Paper.

Paper-Cub-You-Did-It-Card-2Greeting card by The Paper Cub. 2 color screen print on French Construction Pure White 100 lb. Cover.Paper-Cub-Mothers-Day-Stripes-Seafoam Paper-Cub-Mother-No-Other-CardPaper-Cub-Dad-Youre-Rad-Card Paper-Cub-Hexagon-Card Paper-Cub-Graduate-Card Paper-Cub-Best-Dad-CardPaper-Cub-Mom-Black-Card

 

Our 3 Favorite Valentine’s Day Cards We’ve Printed

Picking our 3 faves was tough (as there are some really good ones) but these here rose to the top. Click the pics to buy them for your sweetheart!

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This letterpressed beauty pretty much speaks for itself. Get free shipping on this one from 55 Hi’s and give your loved one the gift of custom type by the great James T. Edmondson.

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Simple and delightful, this screen printed card from The Paper Cub has all you need…which is love.

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The picture really doesn’t do justice to this card from Beau Ideal Editions. These overlayed fluorescent silkscreen inks will blow your mind in person (or your lover’s mind, I suppose).

Cleaning Out the Fridge: A Week in Print, Vol. 2

Dominated by self-promotional brand pieces and amazing illustration, this week’s roster was equal parts challenging & rewarding.

This week’s photo backdrop: French Pop-Tone Berrylicious

MailChimp-Coen-Brothers-Poster

Coen Brothers poster by MailChimp for the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival. 3 color screen print on French Pop-Tone Orange Fizz 100 lb. Cover.

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Mel Brooks poster by MailChimp for the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival. 3 color screen print on French Construction Pure White 100 lb. Cover.

MailChimp-Spielberg-Poster

Steven Spielberg poster by MailChimp for the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival. 3 color screen print on Colorplan Lockwood 100 lb. Cover.

Kyle-Crawford-Terminator-Poster

Terminator poster by Electric Zombie. 6 color screen print on Stardream Silver 105 lb. Cover. That’s right…silver.

Alex-Anderson-Business-Cards

Foil & Letterpress business cards by Alex Anderson on duplexed French Pop-Tone Black Licorice & Construction Pure White 100 lb. Cover. That’s white & silver foil on the black side, and black letterpress on the white side.

El-Autobus-Business-Cards

Self-promotional business cards by El Autobus. 2 color screen print on French Bubblegum, Fuse Green, Steel Blue, & Whitewash 100 lb. Cover.

Eyespeak-Identity

Screen printed, letterpress printed, and edge painted business cards & note cards by Eyespeak. Printed on duplexed French Steel Grey & Pure White 100 lb. cover.

Evin-Barry-Invite

Split fountain letterpress printed save the date by Emily Burns. Printed on duplexed French Speckletone Madero Beach 100 lb. cover (final weight of 200 lb. cover).

Jaime-Munoz-Business-Cards

Self-promotional business cards by Jaime Muñoz. Black foil on both sides of a Neenah Classic Crest Duplex.

Sevenly-Business-Card

Self-promotional business cards by Sevenly w/ a black screen print and a blind deboss on French Pure White; the edges were painted with a custom Pantone as well.

Sonia-Vishal-Wedding-Suite

Wedding invite by Rashi Birla that combines screen printing and letterpress tastefully.

Cleaning Out the Fridge: A Week in Print, Vol. 1

Okay, we’re gonna give this another shot. Back in 2011, we tried to make a weekly blog post that documented everything we’d printed the week before. Well, that idea got swallowed up in the day-to-day crucible of actually running a print shop. Now, it’s 2014. We’re a bit better-staffed these days (and a bit better at printing) and we’d like to give it another shot. Call it a New Year’s Resolution, if you like… we’ll call it Cleaning Out the Fridge.

Pukka-Business-Card

Screen Printed business cards for Pukka Headwear. Printed on black Fibermark Touché.

Meesch-Michelle-Larocca-Business-Card

Screen printed business cards for Michelle LaRocca. Printed with metallic gold ink on French Paper.

Matteis-Tavern-Business-Card

Letterpress, screen printed, duplexed, & die cut business cards for Mattei’s Tavern. Printed on French Paper and designed by Boy Burns Barn.

Crankshaft-Business-Card

Screen printed, foil stamped, & embossed business cards for Crankshaft Marketing. Printed on Neenah Classic Crest Epic Black.

Elizabeth-Hanley-Business-Card

Screen printed business cards for Elizabeth Hanley. Printed with metallic gold ink on black French Paper.

Fritz-Scheller-Business-Card

Foil stamped business cards for Fritz Scheller on Stardream pearlescent paper.

Adriana-Matthew-Wedding-Invite

Screen printed Save the Date by Matthew Ruzzi on Colorplan Paper.

Six-Degrees-Michael-Young-Business-Card

Letterpress business cards for Six Degrees. Printed on duplexed French Paper with a die cut.

Sarah-Gargano-Business-Card

Letterpress business cards for Sarah Gargano designed by Alana Riley. Printed on Crane’s Lettra 220 lb. cover with custom edge painting.

Alchemy-Business-Card

Screen printed business cards for Alchemy Salon. Printed on duplexed Colorplan Paper.

Paper-Cub-Happy-Birthday-Knockout-Greeting-Card

Screen printed birthday greeting card for The Paper Cub on French Paper.

Karen-Brody-Note-Card

Foil stamped note card for Karen Brody on Colorplan Paper.

Joshua-Shank-10-Sparks-Match-Box

Letterpress & screen printed mini-cards and custom matchbox for Josh Shank using French Paper.

Marit-Adam-Wedding-Invite

Screen printed invite with metallic ink by Paper Rock Scissor on French Paper.

Grossbauer-Note-Card

Screen printed note cards for The Grossbauer Group on French Paper.

Kaitlin-Imwalle-Wedding-Invite

Letterpress Wedding Suite by Kaitlin Imwalle on Crane’s Lettra.

Meesch-Michelle-Larocca-Note-Card

Screen printed note cards for Michelle LaRocca. Printed with metallic ink on French Paper.

Val-Melo-Wedding-Invite

Letterpress & foil stamped wedding suite by Val Melo on French Paper.

Paper-Cub-Love-Greeting-Card

Screen printed romantic greeting card by The Paper Cub on French Paper

Megan-Hardwick-Wedding-Invite

Letterpress wedding invite by Natalina Marlow with screen printed envelopes.

Michelle-Jon-Pierre-Wedding-Invite

Letterpress wedding invite by Michelle Ballesteros on Crane’s Lettra.

Make-Poster

Screen printed poster for Tanner Mardis on French Paper.

Brinkerhoff-Arthur-Excalibur-Poster

Screen printed poster by Ryan Brinkerhoff on French Paper

 

The Fonts.com Fontacular Poster

A few weeks ago, we got an email from Monotype. Being obsessed with typography and the rich history of letterpress printing (for obvious reasons) we knelt in reverence while hearing their request. They were prepping for the launch of the Fontacular, a typographic savings spectacle. They really wanted to put out something special that they could use as a giveaway for enthusiastic tweeters. So…they had Brad Woodard design a poster and then they sent it our way for print.

Want one?

Tweet your heart out to @fontscom and be sure to mention #fontacular. The gang is looking for their favorite tweets so they can unload some goodies on you! They’re giving away some other stuff we worked on, too, including Typefight Heavyweight prints and Tattly cards!

Finished FullFontacular-First-ColorFontacular-Second-ColorFontacular Last Color Fontacular-Last-Color-2 Fontacular DripIMG_4038IMG_4034IMG_4092IMG_4076

 

 

Adam Grason: Helping campers everywhere.

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Don’t leave home without your gun! Or this poster!  Adam & his wife Christina are the peeps behind Zadok44, a creative studio specializing in apparel, illustration, & branding. This 11″ x 17″ “Camping Essentials” poster was printed on .017″ maple veneer, and was inspired by Adam’s imminent Fatherhood and Davy Crockett.

“This project had a very dear place in my heart. My wife and I were waiting for the arrival of our first kiddo (Harper), and I realized that as a designer & dad I had a self-inflicted obligation to create a piece for his room. We went with a camping theme, inspired by Davy Crockett and the idea for an “essentials” set was born. My illustration style nods very highly to the old 50’s style, and I wanted to capture that with this piece. I am also a huge fan of imperfect line work and chose to intentionally have things be off. I think it’s important to explore digital imperfection. I did some research on the essentials of camping and consolidated my own ideas into the piece. The digital era we are in has totally skewed what is essential for camping, ie. an iPod is not essential, but I found it on several lists. I pushed hard for a ton of hours and got it just where I wanted it. I strived to create a piece that would be marketable and a piece inspired by the adventures I want to have as a parent. Be adventurous my friends!”

- Adam Grason.

We loved running this project! Any chance we get to print on wood is pretty exciting. It definitely adds a few variables to the mix. The ink tends to lay down a little rough if the wood is really grainy, and the screens will pick up a little more dust along the way. Nothing too crazy though, and overall if makes a print like this even cooler.

 

The “Camping Essentials” poster is available now in the Zadok44 Store!

 

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What government shutdown? We’re visiting the National Parks with Seth Lucas.

In case any of you found yourself banging on the front door of any National Parks over the past couple of weeks, here’s a little piece of aesthetic rebellion to keep you going. The “National Parks Checklist” poster by Seth Lucas is a fun and unique way to keep track of all the National Parks you have visited (even if you got turned away). Each domestic national park is labeled with green tree, but each purchase includes a pack of colorful tree stickers; so after you visit a park it gets marked with a different color sticker. Your poster gets more colorful as your adventures increase! The poster was printed on French Paper Co. Construction Whitewash 100C, and is a 5 color screen print with a transparent wood grain twist!

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My wife Maddy and I love to travel, and we have a lifetime goal of visiting all the National Parks. We wanted an artistic way to keep track of where we’ve been, and we wanted to encourage others to visit the amazing National Parks we have as well. We worked together to come up with a print & concept that looks great, and you can also place our tiny tree stickers on the parks you’ve visited to keep track of where you’ve been. It’s all finally come together working with Mama’s Sauce to make a truly beautiful print.

- Seth Lucas

One of the things that really makes this poster so awesome is the different levels of gloss, from the matted brown to the glossy transparent ink and the metallic gold. There’s a lot of great depth there that you really have to see in person to experience. And from a technical perspective, you really have to appreciate the level of thought that went in to staying as true to the design as possible. For example, we were worried that nailing the registration would be tough if we knocked out the tan numbers on the trees, because we would have had to go through the green and the dark brown. So we ended up printing the numbers with an ink matched to the color of the paper.

Seth and his wife Maddy run ElloThere, specializing in wedding invitations and art prints. The “National Parks Checklist” poster is available now right here.

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Ross Moody + Mama’s Sauce + Coffee = Awesome

On Friday, September 13th, we hosted the first in a series of talks/meet & greets that will be happening every semester. The event is an extension of our Internship Program, but geared for anyone with an interest in design and print. Our first guest speaker was our good buddy Ross Moody, the designer, art director, and mastermind behind 55 Hi’s. Ross spent the day with the Mama’s Sauce family, beginning with a shop visit and a portfolio review session with our current crop of Sauce Interns. His talk took place later in the evening, and was graciously housed by the honorable peeps over at Downtown Credo in College Park. Ross discussed his road map to 55 Hi’s, being a successful (and still happy) designer, and how his relationship with Mama’s Sauce has allowed him to build his business into what it is today. Many thanks to our friend F Harvell from Occasional Photo for the pics of the event.

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Following the talk, the Sauce screen printing team hosted a screen printing demo, where attendees were able to pull their own screens on a Ross Moody-designed souvenir; printed on some fresh French Paper of course. Laughs were had, screens were pulled, coffee was consumed, and everyone had a good ol’ time.

 

We can’t thank Ross Moody enough for coming down for this event, and Downtown Credo for providing such an intimate setting. Thanks to everyone who came out! Keep an eye on Twitter and Facebook for more information on future events!

Lions, Halftones, & Prints! Oh My!

Full-color designs find their way into our inbox quite regularly, and sometimes even into our workflow. There are times that we tackle them as-is, and photographs that look modern on-screen come out like they were printed in 1920, because they were printed just as they would have been then, see? At other times, said full-color designs come from the most modern forms of designers: in this case a 3D & motion artist. With a little direction from our print concierge staff, even the most modern of design methods can convert to spot color almost seamlessly, with results that are just stunning.

If you follow us on Instagram, we’re sure you recently noticed the beauty of a poster, “Lion A,” featured in our daily “What’s on Press…” post. This project was designed by Mancel Studios Founder & Creative Director, Mancel Lindsey. His Brooklyn-based creative studio specializes in motion design & animation that helps brands to grow equity & increase connection with their customers. Recently, we caught up with Mancel to get the scoop on this project, and what is coming down the pipeline for him in the near future.

What sort of design do you typically do on a day to day basis? What sort of designer would you consider yourself?                                                                                 Most of my work is focused on motion design. I consider myself a storyteller and design allows me the space to develop my voice.

What made you choose to screen print this design?
I’ve been exploring different geometric based designs lately and really wanted to create something that bridged my digital process with a high quality handmade craft. Screen printing gave me an opportunity to simplify my motion design work, essentially moving from hundreds of frames in a video to just one. And screen printing’s precision opened up a world of problem solving opportunities I just had to explore.

Did you anticipate to having to convert the art?
When I began playing with different shapes and techniques, I sampled a lot of colors from various images. I knew I would need to convert the artwork from 100s of colors to a few, I just didn’t realize how difficult it would be to achieve the same color contrasts and 3d geometric look.

Did you already think it was spot color when you did it?
My process usually involves adjusting and layering colors until it feels right when working with motion design. So I actually had to do some research into what exactly spot colors were for and why they were necessary. Color and color grading is an aspect of my work that’s more of an afterthought than a precise decision (unless working with a specific brand), like storytelling or animation. It can always be adjusted. Using spot colors and limiting my palette obliterated my comfort zone in this area.

How did you approach getting a quote? Were you asking if it was possible or were you just like, “How much to print this?”
I’m fairly naive when approaching new projects or ideas – meaning I don’t really think about whether something can be done or not. So when I brought this project to Mama’s Sauce I asked for a quote and sent over an early full color version. I also asked how the number of colors, print size, and paper type played into the cost.

Tell me a little bit about converting the art. Was it your first time doing something like this?
I spent a few days reworking the shapes and colors and decided to visually approximate and then organize colors into three layers – light, medium, and dark. I quickly saw how using a couple transparency values with each color gave me the contrast I was looking for, essentially giving me nine colors from three. I sent an email over to the Sauce asking about using transparencies and that’s when I learned about halftones. It sounded like that approach might work and give me the look I was aiming for. I was a little skeptical as to whether or not the halftones would be precise enough. I decided that if it worked, it gave me the color variation I was looking for while allowing the highlights and shadows to remain consistent regardless of color choice.

What feedback did you get from us? What about tips? Did you use any resources on our site, or online?
In the beginning there were many unknowns and questions on my end. I just didn’t have the frame of reference to understand what everything meant. I asked Brooks his opinion and insights regarding file structure, pros and cons of trapping, best use of half tone percentages, and relied on his expertise to help guide my final decisions with half tones and paper type. I think I read through the FAQ on the Sauce’s site three times while comparing Google searches and soaking up quite a few screen printing video tutorials on YouTube. I was surprised to find that I learned more from interacting with Brooks and reading the FAQ than I did in my own research.

What was the most handy bit (or few bits) of info you got, and from what source?
More than anything, the learning curve of designing for a new medium taught me valuable lessons for future projects. I made a ton of mistakes and gained a new perspective and love for a really satisfying craft.

Where can we buy one?
You can purchase this and future prints at http://mancel.tv. Maybe we’ll do a 3d print of this series next.

How do you see this project effecting your designing in the future?
This project was a test run of sorts for me. Creatively it was a huge success. I’m working on developing this into a monthly series of prints that will utilize this style with slight variations unique to each subject matter. I really like bridging the gap between different art forms. For instance, I may write a short poem, then paint a visual interpretation in acrylics on canvas, and then animate an abstracted 2d or 3d version from the painting, and then create a 3d print of something iconic in the animation. I’d like to continue exploring what that looks like for all my projects regardless of their originating medium.

How much more do you know as a designer now?
I feel like I’ve demystified the printing process a bit for myself with this project. And for me those moments really open up my art direction’s perspective and approach to new work.

“Lion A” is a great example of how the use of different halftone percentages can be used to pull off multiple shades using only a single color. For more information on the use of halftones in spot color printing, check out this section of our FAQ Page.