Posts in Client Work
Paramount Theatre Collaboration
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We've recently had the honor of collaborating on a line of exclusive new products with the historic Paramount Theatre. When STG Presents approached us to collaborate, the answer was a resounding "Yes!" How could we resist such a fun local collaboration?

Seattle Theatre Group is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit arts organization that owns and operates the historic Paramount Theatre, and operates the historic Moore and Neptune theaters in Seattle. Their mission is to make diverse performing arts and education an integral part of our region’s rich cultural identity while keeping these three landmark venues alive and vibrant. Since 1928, Washington residents and visitors have been entertained at Seattle’s magnificent Paramount Theatre. Millions have delighted in The Theatre’s architectural majesty, viewed countless films, and enjoyed thousands of performers from all corners of the globe. We are indeed honored!

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This beautiful art card features a wood engraving by Carl Montford and hand-set vintage lead type. We are so thankful that Carl was willing to work with us on this project! I've been learning wood engraving for some time now, but I'm still a student. Carl is the master! This card was (carefully!) printed on our platen press in the C&Co. studio. It is perfect for sending, gifting and framing. Its A7 size is easy to frame in any standard 5" x 7" frame.

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I'm obsessed with vintage marquee signs, so I proposed this series of marquee-themed cards to STG. There are four marquee cards with messages (Thank You, Happy Birthday, Congrats and Greetings From Seattle), and a boxed set of blank cards that include a red gel pen for filling in your own marquee message! Some special messages are too big for a card, they need a whole marquee sign! (My favorite suggestions: "Congrats on starring in your first broadway show!" or "Will you marry me?" or "You are the best mom in the world for taking me to see a show at the Paramount, seriously.")

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The series was designed by me (Sara) and printed with photopolymer plates in our C&Co. studio. Both the engraving card and the marquee series will be available exclusively at the Paramount starting this broadway season with The Book of Mormon (this week). Go get tickets and take home a letterpress souvenir soon!

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We've been so blown away by our first few local collaborations: Seattle Seed Company, Treehouse Point, and now The Paramount - that we're now actively pursuing more collaborations of a similar nature! Do you own or work for a local company that wants to produce exciting letterpress stationery products? Shoot us an e-mail: hello@constellationco.com.

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Client Work: Robyn & Alex
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On the way home from NSS, we took a detour down to Florida to see Brad's baby sister get married! Tomorrow is the big day.

We're both in the wedding party, and we're so happy to get to be apart of such a sweet family occasion. We had the pleasure of designing and printing Robyn & Alex's wedding invites a few months ago. The wedding has a travel and globe theme, which made the project way too much fun to work on. The compass rose featured on the invites is a graphic translation of an image from a Rand McNally atlas. Pretty fitting, given our family name! Each envelope was lined with a different vintage map.

We also worked on some really fun day-of pieces, which I'll save for a follow up post when we get home. See you back in Seattle, friends!

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Printing Will & Meggie
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I've been printing like a mad woman these past few weeks. I've also been carrying around my camera to capture process for you. (Yes, you!)

Here's a behind the scenes look at the 48 hour whirlwind that was printing Will & Meggie's wedding invites. Since this design required a long skinny image, I jumped in the car and went to West Seattle to borrow Myrtle Alley Press' Vandercook. This press is a beast. It can print up to 18" x 24", and requires about a week of energy to print for a day. (Picture me, sweaty and tired.)

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The plate for printing the first color on the interior. Big big plate!

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I really like pictures of tools.

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The first color, on the page. How pretty is the texture on that banged up feed board?

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Plate for the second color on the interior.

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I like big stacks of paper.

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Back to C&Co. and our Chandler & Price. Time to print the clouds!

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This is a great example of what white ink looks like when printed on colored paper. It's semi-transparent, kind of milky, and looks like clouds. Great for this application, not great for others.

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More beautiful stacks of 50. Repetition is soothing.

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Plate for the invite's front on our C&P.

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First color on the front.

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Here come more clouds!

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These clouds were really fun to print.

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Final steps: Scoring the pieces to fold and sewing machine perforation! The sewing machine isn't a great method for high quantities, but worked great for these 150 invites.

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All done!

The Letterpress Printing Process: Sean & Emily
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Hello friends!  I recently had an out-of-town bride ask for photos of the printing process, and I was glad to oblige. So I grabbed my camera and took a photo of each step of the process.

This is a rather detailed look at how we produce our client projects. Feel free to comment with your questions. I'd love to answer them!

1) Design the invitation suite digitally in Adobe Illustrator. (The design process has several more steps, but we'll save that for another day.)

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2) Prepare the finished design as a pdf to send out for photopolymer printing plates to be made at Boxcar Press. This is also when we order the paper, envelopes, etc. that the client has chosen.

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3) When the plates arrive, carefully cut them apart into the appropriate sections.

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4) Rev up the paper cutter (just kidding, it's manual) and cut down the parent sized sheets to the sizes required. This lovely gray paper is Magnani Pescia, an insanely beautiful 100% cotton paper made in Italy.

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5) Mix ink to the client's chosen Pantone colors. (We send out Pantone chips, paper samples and envelope samples to the client for final choices before placing orders.)

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Hello Josephine!

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6) Ink up the press.

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My drawer of printing tools and supplies.

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7) Grab the tape! (This cool trick is something I learned from the great Chandler O'Leary.) Measure the design and place the plate in the appropriate position with tape. Place the sheet of paper with the plate taped to it on the guide pins (the little doo-dads that hold the paper in place), and carefully close the press on the printing plate.

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The plate will be in approximately the right place! Cool, huh?

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8 ) Make the first print.

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9) Measure the margins of the piece, and move the guide pins incrementally until the design is straight, centered, and looks correct.

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10) Print the first color of the run!

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11) Stack those babies! We use a rubber based ink that soaks into the paper, making the pieces able to be stacked right away. This repurposed library cart is my favorite thing.

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12) Clean the press.

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13) Repeat steps 6-12 for the rest of the colors & pieces!

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Measurements & notes

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Back to the tape trick

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First color on the RSVP card

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Stack of "make ready" - the paper used to get the measurements, inking, color, etc. correct before printing the run

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The finished invitation suite! Ta da!

Where ya been, Sara?
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So, things got a bit insane around here after my St. Louis trip. While I was gone, work ground to a halt for a week and has been backed up ever since (nearly a month!) No complaints here, busy = business!

We've been on press every day for weeks, and have quite a few new client projects in the works. We've hired a lovely and talented printmaker named Cherish to help out around the shop  and assigned the beautiful and organized Holly to answering e-mails and setting up client meetings (she also makes wreaths). With our powers combined, work has continued on in a rapid pace and won't stop next time i'm out of town! (Which will be in July for Renegade Craft Fair & San Francisco adventure, which i'm currently planning and very excited about!)

Crazy busy Sara tends to mean no blog entries. But I've got lots of updates planning and coming soon! In the meantime, here's a greatest hits line-up of our recent design/print work:

[Tiny Newspaper for the '57 Biscayne Open House]

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4gency
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We recently had the pleasure of working with Charles from 4gency, a local video game development company. 4gency specializes in espionage-based games for mobile and tablet platforms. With the launch of their first game Node.hack, 4gency needed business cards that live up to "the world of spies and secrets."

We scoured the web for redacted documents in the name of "research," and had a lot of fun doing it. This is undoubtedly our favorite business card job to date. I love how the texture of the paper and printing comes through in the black card, and the stark contrast of colors on the white card. It's eye candy, man. This is one of those jobs that exceeded my expectations. I love when I get the chance to let my printing press do her thing!

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Your objective? Check out 4gency's great new site, and play Node.hack!

Updates: New Stores! Upcoming Events! Etcetera!
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We have been busy bees over here at Constellation & Co. (Hence the blog silence. "Update blog" is on my Teux Deux every day, but it tends to get neglected for other tasks.) But here I am, and here are some highlights.

Visit our new stores! Our card & gift items are available for purchase in several new stores! It's been a great month since we launched our wholesale catalog, and we've enjoyed seeing orders coming in from lovely shops in fun cities.

[McNally Jackson Books, NYC]

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The Curiosity Shoppe, San Francisco

Our friends in Seattle have shopping options in new neighborhoods, and we're excited to make new friends in NYC, San Fran, LA, and Des Moines! (Hooray for friends!) We are honored to be a part of so many great shops. For our full list of options, check out our stores page.

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Attend an event! The Spring & Summer are shaping up to be busy and fun! We love Seattle (and have have some things planned for our local friends this summer - stay tuned), but we're also hitting the road!

Want to shop, chat us up, and get some high fives? Come out to one of the following events near you:

Tacoma! Wayzgoose!: Letterpress and Book Arts Extravaganza King’s Books opens it's doors to the local letterpress and book arts crazies for a day of creative activities, shopping, and steamroller printing! When? Sunday, April 22, 11 am – 4 pm

Portland! Crafty Wonderland: Super Colossal Spring Sale The Oregon Convention Center transforms to become home to over 200 handmade vendors! The event sports free admission, and welcomes all ages. This is our first Crafty Wonderland - we're super excited to be a vendor and we hope to see you there! When? Saturday, May 12th, 11 am – 6 pm

Seattle! Pioneer Square First Thursday Artwalk See us on our home turf! 57 Biscayne (our studio's fabulous home) throws open all it's studio doors to the public! Our studio will be open, presses running, cards & gifts for sale, and refreshments served! Come see where we do what we do, and ask us a hundred million questions! (We'll tell you everything we know.) When? Thursday, June 7th, 5-9 pm

A Stellar Trade!
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Recently, we had the uncommon pleasure of receiving correspondance from the proprietor of Municipal Prints Company in Brooklyn, New York. Sheldon had an inkling that his Constellation Explorer series would be right up our alley - and he was definitely right.

Sidebar: As someone who's never been to New York (shameful, I know...), this is what I picture when I think about Brooklyn. "Never fear, Brooklyn is here!"

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We soon came to a happy agreement that outfitted us with this gorgeous deep navy star map...

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And outfitted Sheldon with some new letterpress business cards! We really love having the opportunity to barter with our fellow artists and designers. It's a win-win!

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We're enjoying our new print in the studio right now, but will soon be bringing it home to hang there. I'll make sure to update you when it's found an official place in our home.

Welcome, Jenny!
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Our fabulous new intern, Jenny Linquist, started with us this past week. And let me tell you, I am excited to have her!

You may remember her as the artist of "The Artist & The Engineer." She and her husband Mike were possibly our favorite clients ever. They were excited and interested in the process, trusted our expertise, and let us imagine and play and experiment. We were really happy with the results, and they were too. It was so lovely to work with them, and we were super honored to attend their wedding. Speaking of their wedding... please do yourself a favor and take a gander at their wedding photos. Too sweet for words.

Jenny will be keeping up a blog of her internship, which you should definitely follow. She's a talented photographer, a super creative human being, and i'm excited to see what we create together!

David & Micaline's Wedding
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Let me start out by saying that we love our David and our Micaline. We were there when they met, we photographed their engagement, and have spent countless evenings in conversation over a bottle of wine.

They're the kind of friends that we don't have to make plans with - we just know that we'll see them, even if its last minute. They're our bestest friends. And we were so happy to be a part of their wedding day, not just in invitations - but standing alongside them as they made their vows. Brad was the best man, I was a bridesmaid, and there were lots of happy tears.

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One of the big surprises of the day (for us) was seeing the cake. David & Micaline took a wedding invitation to the bakery, and had them put our monogram book design on the cake! It was so strange and wonderful to see something we designed on a cake.

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We also helped them plan & design a few of the day-of print pieces, which is something we really enjoy. As designers & type geeks, it's really gratifying to have a couple see the value of using one designer & one style throughout their wedding pieces. (But they're our friends, so they know what's up.)

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For the wedding, Micaline had a new dress, but was missing the old, borrowed, and blue of the traditional saying. In our wedding, I carried a brooch that belonged to my grandmother on my bouquet. My grandma Jean passed away 10 years ago, and wasn't able to be at my wedding. We were really close - she understood me better than I think anyone ever will. It meant a lot to have something of hers with me when I got married - and it meant a lot to be able to lend her brooch to Micaline to carry. We've now spent 2 years of holidays with David & Micaline, and weathered through many seasons of joy and trouble. We live 2,000 miles from our families of birth, but the two of them have become family to us here in Seattle. It was sweet to share a family tradition with them on their wedding day.

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So here's a proverbial raised glass to David & Micaline. You could not be sweeter or dearer to us.

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Wedding Invitation Design & Photos by Constellation & Co.
Wedding Day Photos by Kate Price Photography
Reception Location: Shilshole Bay Beach Club
Cake by Morfey's Cakes