Posts tagged design
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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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.

We're Fab, too!
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We're big fans of Fab (as you can tell from our gushy blog entry a few weeks ago). So, we're proud and excited to announce that we'll be a featured seller on Fab this coming week, September 20-23! (We're super excited. Seriously.)

We'll be offering two of our letterpress art prints and several of our boxed card sets at a huge savings! Make sure you check out the sale and stock up!

If you still haven’t heard: Fab.com is “design online.” The Fab.com website offers daily design inspirations and sales 70% off retail. Membership is free but by invitation only. Members receive exclusive access to daily curated design sales featuring the world’s leading designers and manufacturers. And you can join by clicking here!

Fab.com is Fabtastic
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We looooove Fab!  Brad and I eagerly check the new deals every morning, and we've ordered several wonderful items at really great prices. This color wheel necklace from Yellow Owl Workshop came in the mail recently. It's gorgeous, well made, and it's packaging is just too darn cute. (That's our cat Scout's paw of approval.)

If you haven't heard: Fab.com is "design online." The Fab.com website offers daily design inspirations and sales 70% off retail. Membership is free but by invitation only. Members receive exclusive access to daily curated design sales featuring the world's leading designers and manufacturers.

Consider this your official invite! It's really worth a look - hardly a day goes by without them offering something we "can't live without!"

A Constellation Summer
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Hey Everybody, my name is Sarah and I've been interning at Constellation & Co. all summer long. I am a graphic design student at Ringling College of Art + Design, which is how I know Sara and Brad. They were graduating while I entered the school!

I had contacted Constellation because I was interested in branding and I love working with typography, and Constellation has done a lot of beautiful work that I am impressed by. I have never had an internship before nor have I done much "real world" client work before either, so I was really excited to work for a studio and dip into the creative world.

The first day of my internship I was introduced to the studio, a small space in a beautiful but very old building in Seattle.  The studio is very cool, with prints lining the walls, cans of paint stacked in the corner and a very old antique letterpress in the middle of the room. I have seen letterpress done before but never really understood the beauty of it before coming here.  I, personally, am not a big print designer as I tend to leans more towards working digitally. But who doesn't love beautifully printed things? I got the opportunity to observe the printing process and learn about the tricks and techniques to printing.  I quickly learned that designing for letterpress is different then my usual style of designing.  I had to learn the limitations such as certain colors of ink printing on certain papers. This is not something they teach us in school, which is unfortunate because all designers will eventually have to work with printers. I am glad that I understand at least the beginning of it now.

Sarah's "Portland" Wedding Suite

Sarah's "Portland" Wedding Suite

As soon as I started at Constellation, we already had two branding clients. I was so excited to jump into this as identity design is really what I want to specialize in.  One of the clients was a bakery, which Constellation had already started designing for.  I wish I could have been there from the start though, because I love talking to clients about what they have in mind for their business and seeing their excitement as the process begins. Our other client was for a new homebrewing supply store. I did some of my own logo designs for both branding projects and did a lot of variations of previously designed logos.  I also designed business cards and stationary. What I liked most about the bakery branding project was the overall feeling that the client wanted to portray, a simple and classic look, which I feel like is parallel to my style of design. I leaned a lot about the process of designing for clients as well, since you don't know what they'll like or not, and you have to continuously push your designs further.

Sarah's "Citrus" Wedding Suite

Sarah's "Citrus" Wedding Suite

Throughout the summer I also worked on a couple of other various design jobs, including a business card and wedding invitations. I also conceptualized two weddings on my own and designed the invitations, cards, and rsvp's for them. While the design for wedding invitations isn't as everlasting a logo design, it is branding nonetheless, and the process of conceptualizing, drawing inspiration and designing is the same as any real world project would be.  I liked doing all of the wedding stuff because I've never worked on anything wedding related before. I also like working with type, and typography also plays a huge role in wedding invitations.

Sarah's Business Card Design

Sarah's Business Card Design

My ultimate goals for my summer internship were to gain real world experience and design new things. Constellation has assisted me in both of those goals, as I worked with actual clients and attended a couple of actual client meetings. Design is for people, and too often as students we get so used to designing only for ourselves, and not the world around us. It was great to work with someone on helping them develop their own business' growth through our designs. I also got to design new things, like the wedding invitations, and design in new ways, like designing for letterpress. I can't say that I am most proud of any singular thing that I did this summer, as I liked a lot of what I did- I like where our bakery logo ended up, I thought some of my designs for the homebrew supply store were really strong, and I liked my wedding design concepts. I think what will be most exciting though is seeing everything printed and real-  cards that I can hold in my hand, business cards I can save, and seeing the final logos printed on stationary and websites. Constellation & Co. allowed that to happen for me.

Also check out:
Sarah's Summer Blog

Sarah's Portfolio Site

Thank you, Sarah, for spending your summer with us!