TABLE OF CONTENTS
WHATS THE DEAL?
- What do you mean by being a ‘Gourmet Printer’?
- What sort of things do you print?
- How do I go about getting a printing quote and then making my order?
- So you only print spot color jobs, will you make an exception?
- What is Spot Color printing?
- What is Letterpress printing?
- What is Full Color printing?
SCREENPRINT IN DETAIL
- Water Based Ink Strength
- Are Your Screen Print Inks Gloss or Matte?
- When to Choose Screen Print
- Screen Print Registration
- I see that you screen print on paper – will you print on shirts and textiles too?
ARTWORK SETUP, TIPS & PRINT EXPECTATIONS
- Referring to colors… 4/1, 4/4, 1/0?!?!
- How do I know what paper to ask for?
- Multiple names for a business card order, and/or multiple pieces in a package with the same colors – GANGING.
- Artwork and our templates
- Proofs and production notes
- I’d like to request a proof, can I?
- Setting up type in screen print and letterpress
- How to bitmap your PSD layers to drop them in AI
- Line-screening / Getting multiples shades from one screen or plate
- Setting up art for screen print
- Setting up art for letterpress
- What if I designed/illustrated my piece in Photoshop and just want to submit it that way?
- What’s the smallest line weight that letterpress will hold?
- Submitting colors (Pantones®!)
- How do I setup a diecut shape in my file?
- I’m blind debossing over a printed color. How do should I submit my art?
- My print has several processes on one sheet, do I need to do anything to reflect that in my file?
- Letterpress variance from print to print
- Color washes and text on one plate or screen
- Trapping and overlays
- Does a letterpress hit without ink count as a color?
- Emobss/deboss – What’s the difference??
- Cutting & Bindery
- Setting up for full color prints
- Artwork Interpretation
- Do you offer press checks?
- Art Approval
- Collar and Seam Printing on Garments
- Under-Runs, Spoilage & Overages
PAYMENT, POLICY, & OTHER QUESTIONS
- Turn Around Time
- Rush Fee
- Do you ship Internationally?
- Shipping Cost
- Shipment Time
- I run a stationery store, am a stationery designer, run a record label and/or promotion company.
- Not Satisfied?
- Payment Options
- Damages During Shipping
- Your Designs and Our Portfolio
- Returned Checks
- DISCLAIMER // Shit Happens
WHATS THE DEAL?
Q. What do you mean – you’re a Gourmet Printer?
A. We specialize in archaic processes, which most of the time are hand done. Letterpress and screen printing on paper (serigraphy). We are spot color printers. We like solid colors that are hand mixed and laid down on meticulously selected stocks.
Q. What sort of things do you print?
A. We really love paper and try our best to stick to that. However, we have been talked into printing on many different fabrics, plastics, metals, boxes, assorted converted packing, & many many other strange and wonderful things. Our workload is pretty easily categorized into four fairly even areas: business cards & collateral, wedding invitations & wedding prints, gig posters – the fourth area we’ll call custom printing (assorted packing & fun things). The vast majority of our printing is done on letterpresses, silk screen graphic presses and offset printers. We really try to avoid digital printing for money, if at all possible.
Q. Spot color printers, huh? Would you consider printing a full color job for us?
A. There are some cases where we will take on full color work. Process letterpress, screen print, or offset lithography are all options for this. We won’t know if we’ll take the job until we see it, so feel free to request a quote!
Q. How do I have you print something for me?
A. There’s a handy link in our header to get a quote! Make sure to be specific with your details. Attaching a proof helps too! We respond via email to quotes within a few days – it all depends on how busy we are printing. Once you get the quote and are happy with it, just approve it via email and we’ll send you a link where you can checkout. If you don’t checkout – we don’t start printing… So the sooner you do that, the sooner you get added to the cue.
We really recommend reading this page as well as our papers explained page as soon into the process of working with us as possible.
Q. What is Spot Color printing?
A. Spot Color printing means that we actually mix the colors for your job and print them individually. If you have a yellow, a green, and a blue – each one of those is mixed and laid down as a solid color, rather than being printed using CMYK. The result is a beautiful display of color that has an authentic feel. If you are ordering a letterpress or screen print, the majority of the time your job will be a spot color print. You can order process prints in screen print or letterpress – make sure to note that is what you want when requesting a quote.
Q. What is Letterpress printing?
A. Letterpress printing is a 550 year old process of print making that yields remarkable type and image results. In recent years it has become desirable to have a deboss in one’s print, and when you see that, it’s most often done on a letterpress. As it is a cast iron machine that literally punches your print into paper, we are able to control the depth of the impression on a sheet. There are many variables that come into play when we’re punching into paper, such as – paper density, opacity, edge bleeding, depth, impression evenness, and so on… Because this process is done on machines approaching 100 years old and there are so many variables, you will find that each print in your order will have a life of it’s own.
Q. What is Full Color printing?
A. Full Color is our way of saying offset and digital production. If you’re the average consumer, the majority of your print needs will fall under this category. Think photorealistic replication, movie and show posters, handbills, CD inserts, catalogs, and so on… 95% of these that you see are printed offset or digital. Under this process your prints are run CMYK (process). With process printing there are 4 colors (CMYK), each with with millions of dots (halftones) that come together to make up your image. We don’t typically take on these types of jobs, unless we feel the project is unique or boutique.
Q. How old is letterpress printing?
A. Letterpress came along around 1450 by way of Johannes Gutenberg. The machines we use are the pinnacle of the letterpress evolution. Our 13 presses were all made between 1921 and 1954.
Q. Why are you pushing cotton paper for letterpress printing?
A. Not only is cotton paper tree-free, but it is also very receptive to the ‘bite’ that people have come to love in letterpress printing. It is very absorbing stock, and lets us hit the paper deep with minimal spreading of the ink on impact.
Q. What is the difference between ‘bite’ and ‘kiss’
A. Bite is the term we use for the depth of impression the print makes in the paper. Originally, letterpresses were not intended to bite the paper, but rather kiss it, that is, printing on top of the paper without digging in it. Somewhere along the way, more recent than not, people came to love having a bite in their letterpress prints – this has arguably saved letterpress printing from extinction.
Q. Why does this process seem more expensive than the rest?
A. There are a number of factors that attribute to the cost of letterpress printing. First being, it’s a highly manual process. The labor is intense, as is the skill and knowledge level required to turn out a beautiful print. Parts are not made anymore and are very expensive.
Q. What type of ink do you use for letterpress printing?
A. We use soy-based oil inks.
Q. How does water-based ink hold up compared to other, not so eco-friendly, inks?
A. Surprisingly well! So well, that we even use it on our vinyl stickers. It is UV resistant and will stick to a variety of substrates. Occasionally we do get a custom print request on an object that water-based ink just won’t stick to. If that’s the case, we’ll let you know.
Q. Are Your Screen Print Inks Gloss or Matte?
A. Our screen print inks can be either. If you don’t specify which you’d like – we’ll pick the glossy or matte look, whichever we think is best. If you want to be specific about the gloss level – please do so when submitting the job.
Q. When is it advantageous to screen print my design on paper, rather than offset or digital?
A. Screen print quite often fills in a lot of printing gaps. Sometimes it’s the only way to get an image on an existing item, sometimes you’ll want white (or other light colors) printing on a very dark paper, and sometimes your design’s aesthetic just looks like it should be screen printed. Another advantage is that it’s more cost effective on shorter runs than offset. 50 screen printed 18×24 posters is cost effective, but offset 18x24s don’t become cost effective until about 500 prints.
Q. How is screen print registration compared to other processes?
A. Screen printing holds a tight registration, but it’s not hairline like an offset press, or some of our letterpress’. Screen print has actually become loved for it’s sometimes quirky mis-registrations. Mis-registrations are an outlier, but it always smart to trap or choke your flat stock print. Trapping is up to you, so please make sure to do so and let us know the print order you trapped for. We can trap your art for you. Our rate is $55/h. T-shirts don’t trap as the colors are run simultaneously, and the registration is tighter.
Q. Do you only print on paper, or will you print on shirts and totes for us too?
A. We can be convinced to print on just about anything if we find it fun and challenging! When we print on textiles we only use water-based inks. We discharge on dark garments and we only use American Apparel tees. Cleanup of our ink is done with Simple Green and water. We try to keep it real.
Q. What does 4/1, 4/4, 1/1, and so on mean?
A. 4/1 and 4/4 refer to the amount of colors used in the printing on the Front/Back of your print. Because we primarily work with spot colors, we’ll always assume that 4/0 or 4/4 means 4 spot colors on each side. In process printing 4 would mean CMYK (4-color process printing), with us however, you’ll more than likely be requesting things like 1/0, 1/1, 2/0, and so on… As most spot color work is 4 colors or less. But hey, the sky’s the limit. Each color you add requires another plate as well as another time through the machine. We print each color one at a time. It wouldn’t be hand done if we didn’t. If your print is 2/2 and you’re using the same 2 colors on both sides, the cost is actually going to be less than if you use all or partly different colors… As you pay a 1 time mixing fee for each color. Yes, your inks are hand mixed.
Q. What up with the papers – what do you use and what do you like to print on?
A. You can find the in-depth skinny on this question on our Papers Explained page by clicking here.
What is ganging? Basically it means running more than one piece at the same time. Not always possible, but when it is it’s a good thing for your wallet!
If you have multiple designs that share the same colors and paper stock it is sometimes possible to gang your job into a single run. Because of our processes, not every design will be well-suited for gang work, i.e. yielding a quality outcome. Each process has it’s particular strengths when it comes to ganging. Offset and screen print use bigger sheets and have less limitations, so you will find it more cost effective to gang in these processes. They both can be truly ganged on a sheet more effectively… The more info you give us in your quote, the more likely we’ll be able to effectively figure out a good gang imposition and get you the best numbers possible. Sending along proofs is essential for good quotes!
Letterpress is more fickle. Rather than ganging up your designs, your job will share time on the press while a particular color is on the machine. In this case, you will save setup & cleanup fees for each piece, you’ll just pay for new plates and imposition. As an example – You’re running two different names for a 2/1 business card job. 1/1 of that job uses the identical art/colors and 1/0 of it is a name change (using the same color). If you want 500 of each, we’ll be able to charge you the 1000 card price and you just pay for one plate & it’s imposition (on average that about $35). Make sense? If not, the important thing to take from this is, make sure and send over proofs and note how many names or designs are sharing the same colors and/or paper. We’ll take it from there.
A note, and I can’t stress this enough, please don’t get hung up on trying to gang your job. As a value point here at the sauce, we never look at a job starting at cost. We evaluate each job starting with the design. That is to say, your art is the driving force for production needs – it all starts there. We’ll always do what’s best for your project.
ARTWORK & OUR TEMPLATES
FILES MUST BE SUBMITTED IN A MAMA’S SAUCE TEMPLATE. If you are printing full color, please output a print ready PDF and submit that.
We consider our process geared for prosumers and professionals, so please make sure to understand each process before ordering. If you order a product that you do not have proper art for, we will notify you of that and your options. Here they are ahead of time as well:
If you order a screen print or letterpress product and submit full color artwork, please be prepared to rework your artwork for spot color printing. We will gladly do so when possible for our hourly rate of $55 per hour. If your artwork cannot be reworked properly, we will gladly offer you the option of switching your order to the proper print process (if available) for the difference in production cost plus a $15 processing fee. If you submit artwork not printable in the process ordered and you would rather receive a refund over the above options it is our policy to refund you 95% of your production and shipping payment and the full amount of any taxes paid. The same applies for full color prints ordered where improperly setup files are submitted.
Please remember that turnaround time does not begin until artwork is print ready. If you opt for us to rework your art for you, we will let you know our estimated hours as well as the amount of days it will take for us to complete those hours. Your approval of the reworked art will begin the print production turnaround time.
It is also important to note that if you do not follow the guidelines outlined on this page, we cannot be held responsible for any file related mistakes on your job.
PROOFS & PRODUCTION NOTES
We ask that you upload any proofs as a FLATTENED JPGs and production notes in a .TXT file, both compressed (stuffed or zipped) together in one file along with your production art, all clearly named. PROOF, NOTES, PRODUCTION.
At the end of the day WE WILL GO BY YOUR PRODUCTION FILE. If it’s setup wrong or differently than your proof we’ll try to catch it, but can’t guarantee that we will. This is why setting up your art properly is essential.
DO YOU PROVIDE PROOFS?
Because our processes are all done by hand and take as much time (if not more) to setup as they do to run, we are unable to just print a proof and send it. With what we do, most of the work is truly in the setup. If you’d like, we can send you a PDF of the plates or film that we’re printing from. This will show you each color as it’s been plated. We won’t send one prior to printing if you don’t request it.
TYPE TREATMENTS IN LETTERPRESS AND SCREEN PRINT PROJECTS
Unless it’s hand-drawn text that has been bitmapped or vectorized, your text will turn out infinitely better if submitted as an outlined vector in Illustrator… If you designed the body of your work raster in Photoshop, we STRONGLY recommend bitmapping each layer (color) of the design as you see fit (50% threshold, halftone, dither, etc…), save each color as a TIFF and then drop it/them into Illustrator. Then do the type treatment there. Read about how to bitmap your art here.
Make sure to outline the text before submitting. This will give you the best type results that you can get from our processes. Rougher type can be part of your aesthetic and we know this – so understand that our tips are designed with getting the most clear and sharp results from your print. If you’re wanting to gain more character from rasterized type, so be it.
A BASIC guide to bitmapping layers in Photoshop
Hide all layers but the one you’re bitmapping -> Convert to grayscale -> Convert to bitmap (you will need to choose 50% threshold, halftone, dither, etc…) -> Save as a TIFF -> Drop TIFF into your Illustrator file -> Colorize the layer with a solid Pantone (un)coated swatch & name the layer that color -> Repeat for each color -> BOOM!
The most popular bitmap methods:
These methods all basically interpret your art in relation to breaking down the highlights and lowlights of a single color. In this case the color is black -> seeing how you just converted your layer to grayscale. Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean that your print can only be black, it’s just that the next step on our end is producing black films, so we need 100% solid colors. Converting to grayscale -> then bitmapping does that. Remember that you’re going to drop this into Illustrator and re-colorize each layer in the next step.
So, the bitmapping step is all about finding a way to take any complexities of your raster design (gradients and varying shades within a single color) and make them translate to a single plate or screen. In other words – you’ve got to lose the grays. If you’ve ever zoomed in real close on type in Photoshop, you’ll see that the edges are made up of varying degrees of black and gray. They’re rasterized. All of the bitmapping methods will have to decide what to do with these gray edges. No matter which method, it will create not so sharp lines. This is why we go out of our way to recommend you doing your type treatment in Illustrator, where type is true vector. Go ahead, zoom in on a type face in there… No grays. Sharp! Anyways, off our soapbox and back to the how to do the bitmapping!
50% Threshold This basically keeps everything over 50% black and drops off everything under 50% black.
Diffusion Dither This interprets your degrees of blacks/grays by using single pixel dots.
Halftone Screen This option is a little more complex, as there are secondary choices. Frequency is your Lines Per Inch. Don’t go any higher than 80 LPI for screen prints and no higher than 133 LPI for letterpress. Lower numbers make larger dots. Higher number make smaller dots. Please make sure to let us know what LPI (frequency) you chose. Angle and shape are up to you and your aesthetic. Angles are functionally important if you’re doing a process print. If you’re doing a process print, we’ll be doing the line screening for you, so don’t worry about that for now. Also note that there are some instances where halftones may not work on our end. If this comes up in your art, we’ll let you know.
*always choose the same resolution that your document is currently in when bitmapping // lines per inch not lines per cm
Read on to the next section for more practical uses for halftone dots.
GET MORE THAN ONE COLOR OUT OF ONE COLOR?!?
Through the magic of halftones we are able to give the appearance of multiple shades of colors on a single plate (i.e. a single color)… This is next level, so make sure you have a thorough understanding of what to expect when we tell you the following…
On screen print, we rip up to 80lpi, which is the equivalent of a very low detail offset.
On Letterpress we rip up to 133lpi, which is like a mid-level detail offset print.
Neither LPI is recommended for copy type. If the dots are part of your desired aesthetic or if you’re cool with the line screen in your title fonts, then booya. Offset has a much higher LPI, so if we’re doing a spot offset run, line screening your copy type is an option.
How you go about line screening your print is fairly simple – basically when you build your vector-based print with the appropriate solid coated or uncoated Pantone in Illustrator, you take whatever text you want to be a lighter shade and bring it’s transparency down to the desired percentage… SO – if you have a 1-color PMS 186u business card and want a 50% of that red on their as well, just take the part you want to be 50% (keeping it built with PMS 186u) and bring it’s opacity down to 50%. Our rip will handle the rest. Keep in mind that even as high as 133lpi, visible dots will be produced! We would be more than happy to mail you samples or discuss your project on the telephone if you have questions or concerns.
If you want to accomplish this with rastered images, make sure to read about placing bitmapped tiffs in an AI above. More than likely you’ll want to follow the bitmap instructions for halftones. Make sure to let us know what LPI (frequency) you halftones at.
GENERAL SCREEN PRINT
All files must be 300 DPI or vector format. CMYK. All colors must be separated into different layers. Design should be sized to the size it will be printed. Text must be converted to outlines. Although we prefer vector art when possible, it’s not always the case… See the section titled, ‘TYPE TREATMENTS IN LETTERPRESS AND SCREEN PRINT PROJECTS’ for more about raster vs vector and how to properly bitmap your non-vector art and place in our templates.
Printing can only be as good as the artwork. Mama’s Sauce will not be responsible for poor quality printing due to poor artwork. If your design requires separation, trapping, or any adjustments, we’ll be happy to make the changes. Our hourly rate is $55 for this type of adjustment. For more on trapping, see the trapping section below.
All files must be 300 DPI or vector format. CMYK. All colors must be separated into different layers. Design should be sized to the size it will be printed. Text must be converted to outlines. Printing can only be as good as the artwork.
Mama’s Sauce will not be responsible for poor quality printing due to poor artwork. If your design requires separation, trapping, or any adjustments, we’ll be happy to make the changes. On most jobs for letterpress we recommend trapping only when it’s for aesthetics. See the trapping section below for more info. Our hourly rate is $55 for this type of adjustment. Note that anything hand drawn or scanned will need to be bitmapped and embedded as a bitmap tiff.
Hey Mama, I designed my piece in Photoshop, so tough noogies!
While we strongly recommend following the bitmap guidelines that we outline on this page and then dropping your art in our AI/EPS templates, you may still insist on just sending us a PSD. Know that if you do that, we’re only going to preform these steps ourselves, and thereby cut you out of the conversion process. This both robs you of fun and takes the control from your hands on important bitmapping decisions (read how to bitmap yourself!).
If you hope to pass PSDs off on us, they have to be CMYK, 300 dpi, and to size. Each color MUST BE ON IT’S OWN LAYER and that layer needs to be named it’s Pantone color. Your art should be trapped with the print order clearly outlined for us based on the trap that you did. Basically, it needs to be ready to just bitmap layer by layer. If you don’t meet all of these requirements, we will kick the art back to you or charge you our hourly rate to fix it. It’s also important to read the section on setting up type for our processes. Remember that fonts do not like to be rasterized – and if we’re outputting your screen print or letterpress from a PSD, your fonts will be rasterized.
The smallest line weight that letterpress will hold
.35 pt is the smallest line you’ll want to use. Yes, halftone plates use finer dots than that, so you may wonder why a line can’t be that small. It has to do with the plates being relief. Halftone dots are clustered together and form a solid foundation on the base, so they are strong and withstand the impact on the press. In order for a line to hold on it’s own it has to be big enough to do so, and .35 pt is the minimum weight we’ll accept for a letterpress plate. If you submit art with smaller lines than this, one of two things will happen… 1) We’ll kick it back to you and ask you to amp up the lines and resend or 2) We won’t notice that your lines are too small and you’ll run the risk of losing that part of the artwork. We don’t guarantee finding every mistake in submitted art – so please submit your artwork ready to go!
LETTERPRESS AND SCREENPRINT COLOR SUBMISSION
For colors, please submit your Pantone® values relative to the solid coated or uncoated book according to the paper you’re printing on or look you hope to achieve. Both coated and uncoated solids are acceptable for Screen Print, but we only take uncoated for Letterpress. For the color black, please just submit as 100% (or a percentage of K if you’re line screening). Note that you can choose a Pantone Black (like Black 2u, 3u, and so on…), but you will be charged a mix charge, whereas just 100% K is out of the can, so there is no ink mix charge… In fact, we run the color black so often that it’s actually cheaper to use it than any other color, so make sure to note your colors in your quote to get the best pricing possible.
If you designed the project in Illustrator, use the desired solid coated or uncoated Pantone book built into the program to color your work. Note that the colors on your screen will vary from what is the actual Pantone color. We strongly recommend having a solid coated and uncoated book to choose your colors.
If you designed your project in Photoshop – make sure each color is on it’s own layer, each named it’s respective Pantone value with either a ‘c’ or a ‘u’ denoting it’s coated or uncoated Pantone book reference. i.e. 185c would be Pantone solid coated 185. Make sure to see our section on bitmapping if you’re working in Photoshop.
It is not possible to guarantee 100% PMS accuracy with the variety of stocks we use, as the paper affects color dry down, especially on black papers. You should also know that Pantone colors are a registered trademark of Pantone, and being that we don’t use Pantone brand inks, 100% matches cannot be guaranteed. Don’t worry, we try hard to make sure the color is as close as humanly possible.
HOW DO I SETUP MY FILE FOR A DIE CUT?
If you have a die cut shape we ask that you put it on it’s own layer, the top most layer, in the AI, EPS, or PDF template that you downloaded from our site. The layers below it should be the rest of your art, to specs as defined by our file submission guidelines. The layer should be named ‘die line’ and built as 100% k stroke.
I’M BLIND DEBOSSING OVER A PRINTED COLOR – HOW SHOULD I SETUP THE FILE?
There are cases when you may want a deboss over a colored print – Like when you want a dark stock with a light colored PMS print that feels like it was letterpress printed. Letterpress inks aren’t opaque (with the exception of metallics) – so if you want a debossed print on a dark paper you either need to foil it or screen print it and then deboss. Foil and deboss happen at the same time, but screen print happens in two steps. There are advantages and disadvantages to both… This post isn’t about which is better for when, but rather about how to setup your file when we’ve decided to deboss a part of your print where the color was laid down by a different process. i.e. blind debossing a screen print.
In this scenario we need the blind deboss portion of the art on it’s own layer. If you’re debossing several colors and they’re on the same side of the sheet, then we’ll deboss them all at once – so just build the vector overlay on a single layer. And that’s exactly what it is, a vector overlay. Create the shape that is overlaying the printed art and make it the top-most layer in the AI/EPS/PDF file (our template). Name it ‘Blind deboss’ and make that layer 100% Magenta. Make sure to expand the shape, and that it is clipping mask-free when you send it. And there you go, voila!
MY PRINT HAS MIXED PROCESS, i.e. LETTERPRESS & SCREEN PRINT ON THE SAME PRINT.
There may be an instance where you’re printing with different processes on the same sheet and they may or may not use the same colors. If this is the case, and it’s not a blind deboss over a screen print (as described above), but rather just two processes on the same sheet, please setup your art as follows…
Folders within the Mama’s Sauce template. Make a fold within the layers for each process and layout the art to spec within those folders. Make sure to name each folder the print process for the portion of the art that is contains. Within those folders adhere to all over layout specs and guidelines that we’ve laid out.
It’s important to note that registration from one machine to another can be a concern, especially on fine type. For that reason we don’t recommend post-debossing copy type.
LETTERPRESS COLOR AND OPACITY VARIANCE
As our presses are approaching 100 years old, each square inch on everything from the rollers to the platens and so on have lives of their own. This creates a variance in the final product across any run that we (and most of the letterpress community) feel ads character and life to a job. Please don’t ever expect 100% opacity on your letterpress, especially if you have large areas of coverage and fine type on the same plate. If you want to talk more specifically about this fact, please feel free to give us a shout prior to your order. We would also be be more than happy to send you samples before ordering this process if you want to know exactly what to expect.
MIXING LARGE COVERAGE AND TEXT ON LETTERPRESS
Know that full blocks of color and text on the same color plate is not ideal, as each requires a different delicate touch. If you want the best possible results, text and large coverages should be their own plates – even if they are the same color and on the same side of the sheet, ideally they should be run separately and therefore treated as an additional color cost-wise. We mostly leave this to you to decide, but we try not to be bashful about suggesting it if asked our opinion. If you want to run this way, make sure to order the additional colors and make note in your file or give us a ring. If we want to push you to run your job that way, we’ll give you a call… We won’t always do so, so please try to make the decision pre-order.
TRAPPING AND OVERLAYS FOR SCREEN PRINT AND LETTERPRESS
Please make sure to trap any hairline registered screen print, as screen printing isn’t a hairline print process. We can trap your artwork at your request. Our rate is $55 per hour. If you do not trap a hairline registered screen print, you can expect subtle mis-registrations… Some people look for this to happen to their prints as an aesthetic, and that’s fine by us – we love the character that the process gives prints, mis-regs included!
More applicable to screen printing, but still relevant to letterpress – Keep in mind that when you trap your files, you’re basically overlaying ink on top of already dried inks, which provides a different surface than the paper for the inks to sit on. We can make the inks opaque (in most cases) or transparent – In the case of opaque traps, when the colors overlay you will be able to see a difference in the layer from where it hits paper to where it lays over other inks. This will naturally cause the trapped area to show as glossier than any ink that’s laid straight onto the uncoated paper. That is to say, keep your aesthetics in mind when trapping and overprinting inks! Requesting your inks matte helps reduce this effect. *So be warned that if you’re used to hiding elements in your art underneath the elements that are on the top most layer, they will show (in the way explained above) in your print. To be very clear, IF THE ART IS IN YOUR FILE IT WILL PRINT.
Letterpress is a hairline print process, so please don’t feel that need to trap your project unless it is for aesthetics. Letterpress inks are transparent and 3rd colors will often result from traps and overlays. There are some exceptions, which we can chat about per project if you’d like – black for one is more opaque than other colors and some sheets of paper may not allow for hairline printing… We’ll call you about your project if this is the case.
Overlaying colors can be a great way to make additional colors on your spot color print without having to pay for the additional plate and runtime! If setting up for your file for overlays, please fully overlay the print ready art – don’t create a new color on the file. Do, however, send along a proof that shows the color from the overlay. Note that colors created from overlays will almost never be exactly the color you’re looking for, as variables such as your monitor’s calibration, ink density, line screen we choose to make the print, color shifts on the press, print order etc… will affect how the overlay color turns out.
Q. Does letterpress printing with no ink count as a color?
A. It sure does. We use Pantone values for the ink colors, and refer to letterpress printing without ink as a ‘blind’ impression. Blind impressions (or debossing) DO count as a color. If you’re submitting art with a blind color in it, please put the blind color on it’s own layer called ‘blind’. Most people opt to color that layer with magenta and we prefer that. Learn more about blind debossing below.
Emobss/deboss – What’s the difference??
Deboss is what a letterpress does when you punch into the paper. A blind deboss is what we call punching into the paper without ink. Debossing can be done with ink in one step.
An emboss is when the paper is punched so it pops up, rather than into the paper… I guess it’s still punched into the paper, only it’s raised rather than sunk it. It’s also done with two dies instead of one. It uses a male and female counter in order to give the emboss more detail. If you want to emboss with ink, it takes two steps. Lay the ink down, and then come back and emboss it.
CUTTING & BINDERY
Letterpress and Screen Print
Our equipment is old and the printing is hand done. Because of the multitude of factors that come with these processes, we really can’t guaranteed more than a +/- 1/16″ on prints and cuts. That’s a margin of error of 1/8″
All files must be 300 DPI or vector. CMYK. 1/8 bleeds and cut safe are required. If file contains fonts, they must be converted to outlines. Art must be submitted to final size and 100% scale.
For large format art and inkjet prints, all of the above applies with the exception of colorspace. Please submit in RGB. Include gripper area in the size you submit for any art prints requiring excess canvas or paper for stretching or mounting. It is possible to print at 150 dpi for large format, but you should have experience in setting up your files for this type of printing to go to 150 – as so you know what to expect.
If you submit artwork for full color outside of these specifications, we will try our best to notify you, but as just about any file will RIP through our offset presses and digital machines – you are ultimately responsible to double check that your art is print-ready. Like I said, we will try to check it out for you, but please, make sure your files are correct because your prints will only be as good as what you submit.
We strongly recommend that you include a text document with instructions in the ZIP file you upload with your art. Please use this file to explain the life that you want the print to have. High opacity, sharp type, purposeful mis-registration, or whatever special things you would like us to know before printing your art. If you do not send us special instructions, we take interpreting your work into our own hands. In some cases, our screen print and letterpress operators like to call you to discuss the project prior to printing. Please don’t count on this, send in notes!
CAN I ATTEND A PRESS CHECK?
Sure, we offer press checks. If you’re local and are able to commit to a window of time to show up and approve a print we’d be happy to accommodate. If you’d like a press check, make sure to request one. Know that we do all the setup prior to your arrival will be close to, or ready to, run your job by the time you arrive. So, if you’re scheduled for a check and end up canceling we’ll have to continue and run your job regardless. Press checks cost you nothing additional, unless you need us to guarantee you a day and time. This is because our schedule changes quite frequently due to the challenges of printing on antique equipment.
We ask that artwork is delivered with a digital mockup of positioning. Artwork must be checked for spelling, color, sizes ordered, and accuracy of artwork. Mama’s Sauce cannot accept responsibility for corrections not implemented and/or requested after artwork approval. Any modifications requested after customer approval may result in production delays and/or additional expenses for which the client will be invoiced accordingly.
We have a 24 shirt minimum. We like to do at least 50 screen print posters, but we may be persuaded otherwise. Screen Printing has a $150 minimum for custom orders… Some exceptions may apply. Letterpress has a $150 minimum. Exceptions are occasionally made for website specials.
COLLAR AND SEAM PRINTING ON GARMENTS
Although Mama’s Sauce has the latest equipment available, inconsistencies may occur in registration and ink coverage when printing over the collar, seams, or any other edges. Any large prints may run the risk of going over the sleeve seam. Mama’s Sauce will not be responsible for these inconsistencies.
UNDER-RUNS, SPOILAGE & OVERAGES
Due to the nature of this business, Mama’s Sauce will not be responsible for under-runs or spoilage between 2-5% per design based on difficulty of job and number of pieces. Please keep this in mind when ordering (it is never a bad idea to order extras). We always do our best to get you what you ordered and quite often there are overages. In this case, we split the overages! Know that we use our overages as samples for other customers to see. If you do not want your print used for samples, please let us know and we will respect that request.
PAYMENT, POLICY, & OTHER QUESTIONS
All orders must be paid in full before order is placed. Payment options available for approved clients. To apply for an account, contact our office.
Q. What is your turnaround time?
A. Turn around time is the amount of time until the product ships. Each print will have it’s own unique turn around time, however typically we’re in this area:
- Screen Print 2-3 weeks.
- Letterpress 2-3 weeks.
Turn around time does not start when we start talking about it project, it starts when we have both print ready art and payment.
Any additional pre-press or production beyond just the printing and cutting of your project will add time to your order. So know that the more boutique or intricate your job is, the longer it will take.
These turnaround times are based on our current workload and Mama’s Sauce cannot and do not guarantee these turnaround times. The approximate turn time specific to your project will be noted in your quote. If you don’t approve the quote within a day or so, that time could change.
The only way to be sure that your order will be in when you need it is to pay the rush fee. Orders without a rush fee can not be guaranteed. If you have an exact in-hand date, please call or email us first to see if it’s possible to meet and if there is a fee associated with the in-hand date. NOTE THAT RUSHES REDUCE THE AMOUNT OF COMMUNICATION TIME WE CAN SPEND WITH YOU DURING YOUR JOB – BE DOUBLE SURE THAT YOUR ART IS SETUP TO OUR GUIDELINES.
Customer may be responsible for any expedited shipping charges associated with the order. If the turn around times fluctuate the respective productive will have the turn around time listed in it’s description.
Q. Explain your rush fee.
A. A rush fee can be applied to your order if you need a guaranteed arrival date for your order. The rush fee puts you at the front of the line and we guarantee you get your product on time. The current Rush Fee is based on our current workload, the size of your order, and the date you need the order by. The rush fee does not include any additional shipping cost that may be necessary. In the event that we cannot complete your order in full we may ship a partial order to arrive on time with the remainder of the order shipping within 2-3 business days. If we cannot get at least 20% of your order to you by the due date we will credit your account with the amount of your rush fee (unless the delay is caused by the shipping provider). If the shipping amount paid is not sufficient to cover guaranteed expedited shipping of your order you may be asked to pay the additional shipping costs. If you cannot cover the extra cost of shipping you will forfeit your rush fee and your order will be shipped the quickest method possible. International orders are not applicable for guaranteed delivery date service.
Q. How do you ship?
A. We ship most packages via FEDEX. They are the fastest and most reliable company we have ever used. All packages are shipped ground unless expedited shipping fees have been paid. Shipments are delivered Monday – Friday, 9AM – 6PM. Most deliveries and all overnights require a signature so please plan ahead for this if your order is rushed. FEDEX does not deliver on weekends (with the exception of overnight Saturday deliveries).
Do you ship Internationally?
A. Absolutely! We usually ship international by way of USPS or Fedex. Like any other shipment, you’ll be charged the actual shipping costs.
Q. How much does shipping cost?
A. Depends on the size of the order, where its going, and how fast it has to be there. Email us for a quote. You will either be charged for your shipping by the website when you checkout, or we will contact you the day of shipping for payment after shipping costs have been calculated. Unless you have established terms with us, we don’t ship without your job being paid in full, shipping included.
Q. How long does shipping take?
A. Ground typically takes 1-5 business days. Second day takes 1-2 business days, and overnight always gets there overnight. Overnight shipments can be guaranteed for certain times of the day also. We cannot be responsible for shipping delays caused by the provider, weather, etc.
Q. Do you give discounts?
A. Generally we don’t, our prices are the lowest it gets. We run specials on occassions so watch for them. The best way to do that is to join our email list.
Q. I run a stationery store, am a stationery designer, run a record label and/or promotion company.
A. We can offer accounts for just such companies. Please contact us to apply.
Q. I’m not satisfied with my prints.
A. We do whatever we can to make sure you are more than satisfied with your prints. We want you to understand the product you are ordering before you make your purchase and that is what this page is for. We want you to be happy, but if you are just generally dissatisfied with your product because you did not completely understand the service then we cannot do anything about that. We believe we accurately portray the quality of our products and services and are completely honest about every aspect of them.
Q. I want a refund.
A. Refunds vs. replacements are handled on a per case basis. Please contact us to discuss.
Q. How can I pay for my order?
A. Typically we will email you a link to checkout with – we accept PayPal.com payments, all major credit cards, and cashiers checks. All payments can be accepted through our store or over the phone. Checks should be mailed to the address located on our contact page.
Q. My package was damaged during shipping.
A. All items that we ship are insured and a claim must be filed with FEDEX to be compensated for items damaged during shipping by you, the client. We do our best to package your product for safe shipping, but sometimes mr./ms. shipper can be super rough on packages. This is not our fault.
YOUR DESIGNS AND OUR PORTFOLIO
We reserve the right to display/use your work for our portfolio unless you request us not to. This includes using overages to send out to our prospective clients as a display of our print prowess. We also take photos to post on the Internet (blog, website, twitter, facebook, etc…) We find that most people love the exposure. If you would not like it so much, please let us know. If you want anything that we have up that is your work removed, just email us and let us know. If we have your work posted online and you want any info blurred, we can do that as well.
There will be a $45.00 returned check fee.
Mama’s Sauce has the right to change pricing without notice.
Again – our equipment is OLD. Our processes are out of date. Because of this – the unexpected can happen! Not to say that it always does happen, but it can! If our press breaks, there is no press repairman. There are no stores just hanging around with parts. Also, sometimes modern designs exceed the limits of an old press and it takes revisiting the drawing board. Sometimes your art may not want to burn onto a plate properly, even though it’s technically within spec. These things can and have happened. They’re a lot like what your insurance company would call ‘Acts of God’. If one of these acts happens during your job, be cool. Understand that your job is a lot like asking your grandpa to run a triathlon… Your gramps may be Banana George Blair, but he’s still a grandpa. If there’s an ‘Act of Gramps’ during your job, again, please be cool – we’ll get it done when the old man is able to walk again. If you paid a rush fee to have your job done at a certain time and gramps breaks a hip, we’ll refund your rush fee and continue on your job as soon as he’s up and at ‘em. Turn around times kinda go out the window when this happens. Remember, you are hiring us to make art.
Also – Due to the natural inks and papers we use, Mama’s Sauce cannot guarantee variances in size/shades/construction of garments and merchandise on hand processes, i.e. letterpress and screen print.
***if you reproduce any of this work and call it your own, we will besmirch your name all around the world wide web.