Printing Posters + Restocks

Posted by Scott

The prints you see above have all been reprinted and restocked over at The ISO50 Shop. Many were out for quite some time and they usually move fast once back on the shelves, so if you’ve been holding out for your favorites to be in stock, now’s the time.

I often get asked where I get my prints made so I thought now would be a good time to touch on that subject and go into a little more detail about the process.  I have all of the small format posters done at a print shop in Sacramento, CA called Blue Moon Printing & Graphics. I found the place back when I used to live in Sacramento and even after moving to San Francisco I still use them as my primary printer. They are a relatively small shop so the service and attention to detail is far beyond anything you’ll find at some of the larger printing companies. I’ve found that personal attention to the output is the key element in getting your prints back looking the way you intended. It’s very difficult to make the transition from what you see on your screen to a printed piece of paper and no matter how well calibrated your equipment is you’re always going to experience a shift in color, saturation, contrast etc. The trick is to tweak the original file and the printer itself to try and compensate for these shifts and it’s important to find a print shop that is willing to work with you through this process.

I have the prints made on a digital thermal press which is essentially a toner-based process. I really like the output of this process because in the darker areas the toner builds up a thicker layer, giving an almost screen-printed effect when viewing an area of high contrast (such as a transition from cream to dark brown; the dark brown will appear to be painted on top of the cream background). The other advantage of the digital press (as opposed to offset) is that there are no plates involved so proofing and tweaking is a much quicker (and cheaper) process. You can adjust the file and run off a new proof in about 5 minutes as opposed to etching new plates and resetting the press as you would in an offset scenario. The only real downside of this process is the format limitation, the prints can only be 12"x18" at the largest. You are also limited to the type of paper you use as the toner won’t adhere to coarser papers; although I like to use a natural tone cover stock which is pretty smooth so this is not a big issue for me. The natural tone stock also has a yellow cast to it so that the yellow range in the lighter areas of the image is boosted. It gives the image a sort of aged, authentic feel which I think takes a bit of the edge off the digital output.

Blue Moon does have a traditional offset press but they just recently got it and I’ve yet to test it out. If you’re looking for a good printer I highly recommend them, and since they can do the whole proofing process via mail it doesn’t really matter where you’re located (my friend in New York does all his printing through them). You can find more information at their website:

I’ll be doing a post on monitor calibration soon in which I will go into more detail about preparing work to be printed and working with color profiles and printers…stay tuned.

19 Comments Leave A Comment


Leigh says:

July 28, 2008 at 5:04 am

Thanks for the restocks! Is there a way to know weather a print is out of stock or not? There seems to be no indication of it.


Scott says:

July 28, 2008 at 5:07 am

if it’s out of stock you won’t see that “add to cart” button, but since everything is currently in stock you won’t currently see that condition.


Eric says:

July 28, 2008 at 6:19 am

Hello! Thanks for the restocks!I need an information anyway: I would like to buy at least two T-shirts: “Paths” and the red\gold version of “Workers”; will you restock models and sizes(I usually wear M)?
Anyway thanks for your job and your Blog, I think it’s fantastic.
Excuse me for my english, I’m Italian.


Damo says:

July 28, 2008 at 6:52 am

Hey Scott! thanks for sharing your processes of printing, as I have been very curious about this for some time (I may have asked once in a email a while ago) as I am a printmaker/screen printer by trade…tre kewl!


Eivind says:

July 28, 2008 at 7:05 am

Excellent! Bought a bunch of tee’s a while back and I couldn’t be happier about them and the service! Question: Have you ever sent more than one poster in a tube? Shipping over seas is about double the cost per poster so getting more posters per parcel would be great. How about framed posters, how many could be sent safely per parcel? Keep up the good work!


Brandon Meier says:

July 28, 2008 at 12:10 pm

I use Blue Moon as well, there one of our partners here at the Sacramento Convention & Visitors Bureau. They do great work, although a little pricey, they still seem the most willing and helpful.

Scott, Is there anyway I could pick up prints from Blue Moon?


Kain says:

July 28, 2008 at 2:35 pm

Thanks Scott! Any word on when you reprint some of your older shirts? I have been waiting for the ‘Tycho’ Tshirt black. Also when can we expect some new designs?


NAVIS says:

July 28, 2008 at 4:04 pm

Thanks for finally posting this. I was also one of the million or so people who have asked you this question haha.


Alex / HeadUp says:

July 28, 2008 at 4:11 pm

Good to hear, I wanted to post up that after like 5 months, my dad finally finished framing the 3 prints I got– madrone sf, worker’s party and svenska. I have them hanging along the stairs at my crib and they look awesome!

The other thing is that I just recently had a work of my own printed a few weeks ago– while the print quality wasn’t 100% to my liking, they were able to print it at 24″x36″…needless to say, I’ll be reading your calibration post before I invest in another printing.


Gr1FF says:

July 28, 2008 at 8:44 pm

Scott – Thanks for sharing.

Looking forward to your post on calibration. I just picked up (got for father’s day) the Epson photo 1400. So far, all photos have a green color cast although they look fine in Lightroom.

Thanks again for the inspiration. [g]


Tracey Grady says:

July 28, 2008 at 9:10 pm

Hi Scott – thanks for an interesting article on your dealings with your printer. I’m enjoying reading your blog, and I look forward to your follow-up article on monitor callibration.

Cheers, Tracey


5huto(from japan) says:

July 29, 2008 at 2:48 am

Hi,I’m Shuto,japanese graphic designer.
I like your art works and sounds, and see this site everyday.
It is regrettable that I cannot speak English well,and I cant say what i think.
But,I will always be looking forward to your new works.



Adrian says:

July 29, 2008 at 4:37 am

… and i’m looking forward to that post about screen calibration.




Carol Rivello says:

August 5, 2008 at 6:26 am

Hello! I am (from quite some time) a huge fan of your work. Just wanted to say that you are very talented! Your blog is very cool as well.

Cheers from Brazil,

Carol :)