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.


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.

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.

wolf wolf wolf!

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
she hangs
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.

White & Gold foil was used on these self-promotional coasters for Visual Supply Co. Printed on Neenah Classic Crest Epic Black 260 lb. Cover.

1 color screen printed poster by Adam Trageser. Order here.


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

Bridal brunch invite by Kristie Hoover. Gold foil stamp on Colorplan Emerald.

Foil stamped bridal suite by Kristie Hoover on Colorplan Paper


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


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


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


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


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


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


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.


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


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


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).


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


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.


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.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Foil stamped note card for Karen Brody on Colorplan Paper.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Letterpress wedding invite by Natalina Marlow with screen printed envelopes.


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


Screen printed poster for Tanner Mardis on French Paper.


Screen printed poster by Ryan Brinkerhoff on French Paper


Adam Grason: Helping campers everywhere.


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!





Mama’s Sauce brings home FPO Awards

We recently received the results from the annual FPO Awards, and Mama’s Sauce is VERY proud to announce that we have received 13 awards in total; including Best in Category for Silkscreen!

The FPO (For Print Only) Awards are an annual collection of the best in the print world, conducted by the good folks over at UnderConsideration. The judging criteria are right up Mama’s alley, with a 50/50 split emphasis on design and production. This year’s judging roster included five heavy hitters: three designers and two printers. Famed designer Art Chantry, co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of Design Army, Pum Lefebure, and Pentagram partner DJ Stout represented the Design judges. In-house printmaker at House Industries David Dodde and co-founder & production director at Vertallee Letterpress Brad Murph held it down for the Print side.

So, without further ado, here are Mama’s Sauce 2012-2013 FPO Award winners!

Clark Orr – “Willy Wonka Lick-able Wallpaper”

*Best in Category Winner*

Designed for a themed show at Gallery 1988, this poster recreates the ever-so coveted Lick-able wallpaper.



Lab Partners – “Bright New Year” prints

A series of 5 posters given to clients & friends, wishing them a happy new year.



Johnny Cupcakes – “Gaslight Anthem” poster

A very limited run poster designed by Chris DeLorenzo for an in-store appearance at Johnny Cupcakes London by Gaslight Anthem frontman, Brian Fallon.



Clark Orr – “3D Hoverboard” poster

This art print for Gallery 1988 presents assembly instructions for the most coveted of child’s toys: the Hoverboard. Did we mention the instructions are in 3D? Welcome to the future.



55 Hi’s – “Cheers” coasters

A set of 6 coasters encouraging you to drink to good health in 6 different languages.



55 Hi’s – “Robot Calendar”

A calendar for those who are either preparing for the coming robot apocalypse or impatiently awaiting the singularity. Whichever camp you are in—everyone is in one or the other, right?—these adorable robots will help lighten the mood and gussy up some wall space while you count the days.



55 Hi’s/Skinny Ships – “Letters” posters

Art print with 2 color variants: gold & silver.




55 Hi’s – “Live Well” poser

A 3-color, silkscreen beauty encouraging good livin’.



Dana Steffe & Samia Saleem – The Map Project business cards (Company now known as Karta)

These cards were designed to reflect the same ideology of the product—a tool to share places or notes with other people.



Signalnoise Studio – Gum Cards

A series of limited edition trading cards depicting some hot & heavy creative pros. Rare variants include a metallic Aaron Draplin, a glow-in-the-dark Johnny Cupcakes, and a glitzy “stadium card” featuring Mama’s Sauce.







Bluecadet Interactive folder

This pocket folder is designed for use with agency materials and served to frame printed correspondence and proposals in the whimsical and powerful identity of Bluecadet.



Matt Chase – “Join Dharma” poser

An art print giving nod upon nod to J.J. Abrams’ “LOST.”


Seamless Creative –  “Fortune Teller” Coasters

A set of four coasters providing predictions for different aspects of life: Love, Happiness, Career, & Adventure.


The UnderConsideration crew will be producing the annual FPO Awards book, as well as a paid access website for release later this year. We are very excited to have all of our award winners featured! Keep your best eye on the FPO site for more information!


The Ordinary Business Cards by Fuzzco

The eerily talented folks up at Fuzzco sent this gem our way last month. Luckily, we had already been creeping on the beautiful site they built for Charleston’s newest fancy seafood & oyster hall: The Ordinary. Needless to say, we were giddy to get started.


One must hold one’s card just so.


Silkscreen printing allows us to print nice, bright colors on nice, dark papers…nice.




Come inside, stay a while…

Kwu stopped by for a few days and filmed what we do. Enjoy!

Things We Printed This Week

So I’m going to try something that requires a little discipline here… If you follow us on the Twitter and Facebook, you’ve probably seen ‘What’s on Press…’ which is basically a snapshot of whatever we have on press that day. We’re pretty good about keeping up with it and people seem to like it. Well, we print a lot more than we get to share – so each week I’m going to try and collect everything in bulk and put it out there. I really feel lucky to work with all of the wonderful designers who we print for, and hope that sharing the work that goes through our presses will help inspire you to see the possibilities that still exist with traditional print mediums. I’ll be trying to make it a Friday thing – forgive me for jumping the gun a bit early this week! Enjoy this weekly update – and if you want daily’s make sure to follow our FB & Twitter. Both links can be found in the right column of this here blog.

Click to make them big. Enjoy.

Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better (Said 1944)

We did it! We’ve finally thrown caution to the wind and decided to completely ignore the fact that we’re living in the new millennium! What does that mean you ask? Well, we’ve finally gotten to the point where we’ve shut down all things digital and henceforth will only be offering true boutique printing. Digital printers? Gone. Gang run flyers and promo material – not here anymore. We’re not saying that there’s anything wrong with modern printing methods or the need and/or desire to purchase them – we’re just saying that these products and processes aren’t for us anymore. Ours was a head over heels falling in love sorta thing with letterpress and serigraphy… While the falling happened quickly, it took us over 2 years to ween ourselves off of doing the actual digital processes that once paid our bills after deciding to do so.

Having made the switch, we feel more focused than ever. There’s a power to keeping processes to a minimum. It allows us to put sufficient time into what we love doing while staying the size that we want to be. It’s easier for us to manage a smaller foot print with less moving parts (unless you count all of the moving parts on a press!)

An example of our focused energy can be seen in the redirection of our website. Education, portfolio & connection have become this website’s primary focuses. Through our Tips & FAQ & Paper’s Explained pages, we hope to educate the good people of the design community on the specifics of designing for the processes that we handle – Letterpress & Screen Print. We hope that educating on these old world processes will help bring understanding and therefor breakdown any fear that may exist in the unknown. From there we hope that our portfolio (currently only visible on our quote page), will serve as inspiration for your designs. And then there’s connection. Of course we want to hear from you about working together, but we also want to continually grow our education sections – so please feel free to ask for tutorials to be added on anything relevant to designing for spot color work.

If you are at all interested in Screen Print or Letterpress, please take some time to visit the Tips & FAQ as well as the Paper’s Explained pages. Read them in their entirety. I dare you. If you do, I promise that you will a better designer, more education enthusiast, and/or satiated print nerd upon completion. If you’re not, then you’ll at least be able to tell us why not and what we’re missing. So there’s your invitation. It’s not pressed, but I do hope you take it, read it, and share it.