Ask Sara Anything: Volume 2

It's that time again. Ask Sara Anything: Volume 2. You ask questions, I try to answer them. Silly, serious, rhetorical, whathaveyou. I tried to get someone better to do this AMA thing, but Johnny Cash is dead and no one famous will return my e-mails. (Just kidding.) 

Brooke wants to know:
What are your favorite elements of letterpress design? Do you like using more than one type of material in a design?

What's not to love? Every letterpress piece has a lot that goes into it. Even the simple ones. I love paper. I start with the feel of it, the color, the size, the weight - and let that make some decisions for me. Then I match that paper with an idea. What do I want to say? What typeface works best with that concept? What size do I have that typeface in? (An issue that comes up a lot is that the perfect typeface is too big to fit on the size of card I want to print. Ever wonder why so many of my cards are A7? OR the typeface I want to use is tiny, and takes up very little space. Every wonder why so many of my cards are 4bar? I wish I had a better reason to tell you, but that's it!) I do like mixing type and image, but if I'm going to include an image, I try to think through the image first. I often do a wood engraving and brainstorm words to fit with it. After paper, image and type are decided, I pick ink colors. Typically black. Although I'm branching out lately. Watch out world! I love to play with color in my envelope choices. I have a huge variety of envelope colors in stock, because that's a fun place to add color to a card that doesn't require extra passes through the press to print. I don't know if I answered the question exactly, but I'm feeling really nerdy and I need to move on. 

Sam wants to know:
Do you ever incorporate letterpress ideas into digital design? Even if you'rE not printing it?

Oh no, I'm going to keep nerding out. I do sometimes incorporate letterpress ideas into other mediums, and I like it. I'd like to do more of this. As we expand our product line past cards into gift items, etc., I always want to keep things true to the design process my cards go through. I make different decisions on the computer than I do in three dimensions. (And they're not typically better decisions.) There's a speed and sameness that comes from purely digital design, and it feels hollow for me. My cards are quite simple, and the beauty of simplicity is a little bit lost without the letterpress process being a part of it. So if you're asking me whether or not I set wood type, pull a proof on the iron handpress, scan it into the computer, and use it to make something that will be digital? Yes, yes I do. The dumb, slow, meaningful, fulfilling way.

Sam wants to know:
What's the best part about creating a creative lifestyle brand through your prints? What have you learned through that creative community?

Everything about it is amazing. When I set out to start a business, I just wanted a valid excuse to print stuff. I never expected it would grow to encompass a whole lot more than that. And the people that come along with that - my team, our customers, fellow business ladies, fellow letterpress printers, our social media friends, even the extra time I get to spend with my kid - Constellation & Co. is truly a lifestyle for us. And we've found that our kindred spirits are others who love people, craftsmanship, honesty, and the written word. I can't wait to see what we all get to do together next! 

I've learned to be honest, but kind. I've learned to listen to the people around me. I've learned to speak the truth, and trust that other people have similar human experiences. I've learned that beautiful things are only truly beautiful if there is meaning behind them. I've learned that I can't please everyone, but if I make things I love, other people will love them too. I've learned to be patient and not assume. 

BRAD WANTS TO KNOW:
WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE PLANET?

"Mine's the sun. It's like the king of planets." The sun's not really a planet. 

ERIN ANACKER WANTS TO KNOW:
WHAT'S YOUR CURRENT MOST FAVORITE BOOK OR PRINTED PIECE DUE TO THE TYPOGRAPHY OR DESIGN?

I'm reading an insane pile of books right now. Many of them fit into this category. I'm also going to tell you about the rest of the books I'm reading, because I'm feeling showboaty.
The Crossroads of Should and Must by Elle Luna
Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh
Fantasies & Hard Knocks: My Life as a Printer by Richard-Gabriel Rummonds
The Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee by Marja Mills
The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories by Marina Keegan
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
Ladies of Letterpress by by Kseniya Thomas and Jessica C. White

Sam wants to know:
Favorite outdoor activity? Favorite indoor activity?

Outdoor: Watching soccer games at CenturyLink field because I'm Sounders til I die. Walking in pretty places with my family. Reading a book under a tree.

Indoor: Sleeping, eating meals, watching tv, tickling the baby, reading, writing, thinking, taking a quiet shower, taking a nap, being with my family, eating chips. I really love chips.

That's all there is for today. Ask me more questions, and I'll keep answering them. You can comment, tweet me @constellationco or send me a carrier pigeon. 

Sara McNallyComment