Saturday, February 6, 2010

Process: commecial printing

Hi ho, everyone! Today on our process post, Monkey will do a brief explanation of how you can request printing quotes from commercial printers. When doing invitation design for Little Yeti, Monkey has to check around at some of his favorite printers to see who's going to have what stock, who can print in what timeframe, and who's going to be the most affordable for any particular job. Yay!

The HP Indigo 5000

Hi everyone! So today I'll do a quick overview of what you need to ask about when requesting printing quotes from commercial printers. I've found that generally the more knowledgeable you are about what they (the printers) do, the better relationships (and potentially better rates) a designer/illustrator can build with print shops.

To be perfectly honest, unless you're doing big business (whether a high number of orders of simply incredibly large print runs), you realistically aren't going to be getting huge discounts on print jobs. But, a) it doesn't hurt to ask, and b)knowing what you're talking about will help you be able to accurately compare different printers and their services.

So basic terminology:
Bleed - your printed image has a bleed if anything printed (text, design, background color, whatever) runs to the edge of the card. Instead of slowing everything down and trying to print right to an edge, what printers do is they print larger than the final size, then cut the card down to the final, or trim, size.

4/0, 1/1, etc., etc. Any number over another number (in x/y form) refers to the numbers of colors of ink on the front of the card, then the number of colors on the back of the card. If you wanted a two color image printed on the front of the card, and your logo in black and white on the back, you would request a quote for 2/1.

Full color (like a color photo) will usually be printed in CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, and key aka black). So even though your illustration might have yellows and purples and reds and greens, and everything in between, when you request a quote for a single-sided poster, you're asking for a 4/0 print job.

If there's an option for scoring, or the process of making a crease or foldline, you don't need it unless you're doing something with folds.

Perhaps you've heard the words "offset" and "digital" printing thrown around. Offset printing is a printing method that offers more consistent printing, highly accurate color matching, and is great for high volume runs. Digital printing on a commercial scale is really just a really awesome inkjet printer. While it might not sound as awesome, it is usually way more affordable for smaller (~100-200) jobs. The quality of digital printing has also improved dramatically over the past couple of years, and the quality difference that I've personally seen is pretty slim, but to be perfectly honest I don't get a lot of things offset printed besides business cards.

PMS stands for the Pantone Matching System. This is the industry-standard of color and color matching. Pantone produces books of swatches that any commercial printer worth doing business with will have. If you are getting an offset run done of just a few colors, you can specify which PMS colors you want them printed in, and since the presses use pantone colors, you'll get exactly what you're looking for. With digital printing, they'll combine CMYK the best they can to get the color you want, but really bright, saturated colors usually come out more muted than expected.

You'll also want to specify your paper weight (if you have a preference) and/or paper brand, etc. Ask about PCW (or post-consumer recycled waste) if you're interested in finding out how much recycled content is in your paper choices as well.

So, with all that in mind, the quote I requested for some wedding invitations I recently designed went something along these lines:

Hello! I would like a quote for 100 5"x7" invitations printed 4/0 with a full bleed on 130 lb. Mohawk Options iTone stock without envelopes. Additionally, I also need 100 4"x6" RSVP postcards printed 4/4 full bleed on the same stock without envelopes. Also, what size bleed do you need? Thanks a lot!

I asked for a specific stock because a)I sent this to a printer I've worked with before, b)I wanted a 100% PCW paper and Mohawk Options is one of the few papers I know about that has pure white, heavy cardstock that's 100% PCW, and c)I know they print on HP Indigo printers, and the iTone stock is designed specifically for the Indigo.

Anyhoo, I know that's probably a lot of information, and it's just the tip of the iceberg in terms of getting things printed (I didn't even mention screenprinting, letterpress, or engraving), but hopefully that'll get you on your way to learning more about paper, and printing. If you have any questions about commercial printing, please feel free to ask and I'll do my best to help you out!

PS - Happy Birthday Monkey's Dad!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Monkey and Seal is curating a Gallery Show!

We're curating a gallery show!

Opening Night Art Riot Extravaganza: March 12 at SPACE Gallery
  • 8p-whenever
  • Featuring 10 emerging San Francisco based artists
  • Live Art Battle
  • Live Painting
  • Live DJ
  • Top of the line, Comedy Improv Troupe: Hobofish
  • Vegan Baked goods by Black Orchid
  • Edgy drinks by SPACE Gallery
  • chance to win one-of-kind, original art, just by coming out to drink with us!
Monkey and Seal are both busy with their furry paws and fins. We will try to update you on our process, so you can get an insight into the minds of curating -- what will become one of the biggest art riot extravaganza events ever!

Currently, Monkey is working on the official website and Seal is working on a logo. They are projecting to go live by Saturday morning.

We're so excited to feature the awesome comedy improv troupe -- Hobofish. If you haven't seen their live performance, it's a once in a lifetime treat. We're in the process of booking a DJ. A couple of promising prospects. We'd like to do a shout out to a talented DJ: Zaion. The music and the photography on his website is absolutely serene!

In the next couple of weeks, we will be featuring the different artists and events! Stay tuned for more.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Currently . . .

Now that the Animation on Display convention is over, Monkey and Seal met up with some talented artists Sunday night. They also rested and watched an old favorite, The Dark Crystal. M&S were little pups when they last saw this movie. Seal is a fan of Brian Froud's watercolor & colored pencil illustrations.

Illustration by Brian Froud

She enjoys the monochromatic sepia and would like to experiment with similar techniques in her next illustrations. On another note, Monkey & Seal both submitted their work to Spectrum, one of the best contemporary fantastic art book within the artist circle. We hope to hear back in April.

In the meantime, Monkey just finished two wedding invites last night. Seal is working on a logo. And they are both working hard for their next show in February.

Typical M & S daily schedule:
Work 11-8pm
Dinner and decompression 8-9:30pm
Art work from 10-2/4am sometimes 6am.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Thank you AOD attendees! Next show announcement!

First off, a huge thanks to everyone who stopped by the Monkey + Seal table at the AOD con this weekend! A special shout-out to our buddy Seichi who selflessly let us borrow his car for take-down on Saturday and all-day Sunday. You rock!

Second, we would like to announce our next show: Noise Pop 2010's Pop N' Shop! We're super excited to be able to sell alongside SF Etsy friends Sagehealer and BeyondWonderland, and other fine vendors such as 3 Fish Studios, and the Milk & Eggs Co. It'll be on Saturday, February 27th from 12-5 at the Verde Club at 2424 Mariposa in San Francisco. Admission is FREE so be sure to stop on by! Woo!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

AOD Live Blogging: Day 2

5:26pm - Aaaand, we're done! Thanks so much to everyone who stopped by, bought some stuff, or offered moral support (or let us borrow your car). Thanks and we hope you had a great time!

5:12pm - We just had one last sale! We're waiting three more minutes to start taking down, so you have 3 minutes to get over here and buy our stuff!

4:59pm - Cosplayers are starting to put their jeans and such back on. Tables are taking down, and it seems the festival is wrapping up. We will probably start taking down soon, but we'll do it veeery sloooooowly to hopefully catch those last few sales.

4:49pm - Monkey's exhaustion/ end-of-the-festival madness is starting to come out. He's starting to sing incoherent made-up songs.

4:29pm - The con is winding down and save for a few friends stopping by, the alley has been pretty empty. We're hoping that when the Dealer's Hall closes at 5pm, we'll get a flood of people coming down, so we're planning on closing up at 5:30pm.

1:44pm - Some of the more elaborate costumes we've seen:

1:23pm - Saw Mugen from Samurai Champloo and Max from Where the Wild Things Are.

12:59pm - photos of some of the other artists' alley booths:

Monkey nerding out.

12:49pm - Seal just got caught up in a conversation where someone felt like $35 for a day-long sculpture class from the concept artist/sculptor for the STAR WARS films was too expensive. Seal and Monkey both come from very humble beginnings, so we understand what it's like to not have a lot of money, but seriously? $35 is dirt cheap for a class of that caliber. Le sigh.

12:00pm - After eating brunch, we've settled into our chairs--maybe for another 5 hours or so. We finally got a picture of the elusive Totoro. After checking out all the other artists, Seal and I (Monkey) have decided that there are some amazing artists here, and its a bit ridiculous that they are selling their prints for so little. Although our price point is probably too high for most kids, I figure that we shouldn't be lowering our prices, but that other people need to raise theirs. Artists deserve to be paid for their work, talent, and time.

10:52am - So we arrived a bit late, and after driving around parking the car, Monkey returned to see Seal selling a tie! Hopefully all the younger attendees eyeing our merch will return with parental monetary units in tow. The expo is still pretty empty, but some of the returnees have changed their costumes. Surprisingly, we saw our first Battle Royale student just a second ago.

9:13am - It was rough waking up as we were both so exhausted from yesterday (when do you ever hear us going to bed before 11pm???), but we're both up and getting ready to head back over to the Kabuki Hotel. In the spirit of Cosplay, Monkey will be wearing Seal's non-prescription glasses to nerdify a bit.