Sagest: Bespoke book production

The popularity of print-on-demand technology has generated mountains of books, most of which will fall apart and wind up in recycling bins.

That is not the world in which Sagest operates.

We offer discerning clients custom publishing to create award-winning books that bring your words and images to life in ways that are simply not possible through an automated cookie-cutter system or a digital press or copier.

The eye of an artist

Before transitioning to design, prepress and print management for books, Charles Allen spent 25 years as a professional photographer. His extensive client list included Time-Warner, AOL and many major advertising agencies. In addition, his photos were available to a global market through Getty Images stock photography.

Superb photo reproduction was important to him and his clients then, and is the foundation of Sagest today.

Unmatched technical expertise

After graduating in engineering from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and attending Art Center College of Design, Charley was one of the first professional photographers to convert from film to digital capture in 1997. He and his team remain on the cutting edge of digital imaging, retouching, design, prepress and print technology. Charley explains the Sagest process:

“We use color management technology to create and optimize color profiles for your project’s specific set of circumstances: the type of press, the ink set, the type of paper, and for our virtually unprecedented 240 lpi printing. We use expensive software and hardware to create these profiles by printing a series of 3,000 color patches on the paper and press being calibrated. And yes, that's 3,000.

Each one of your images is manually and individually custom converted from RGB to CMYK, custom adjusting color and density for the specific paper and printing process, manually resizing images to 100% of final publishing size, and then individually applying sharpening based on the character of each image. This is the Sagest custom-crafted prepress."

Conversely, most printers will attempt to print any PDF they are given using their "standard settings." One size does not fit all! Each book project Sagest takes on has its own set of specifications, requirements and unique quirks. It is our job to bring our expertise and artistry to the table while making your book undeniably yours.

Collaboration is THE key

We work with you and your team—or help you build a team, including editors, writers, illustrators, graphic designers, curators, archivists, and photographers. We listen and learn about your project and your vision, and present ideas and options, helping you make decisions about material selection, the tactile feel of your book, the binding, the style of printing, type of paper and other unique features. The possibilities are almost endless: fold-outs, end sheets, trim sizes, embossing, die-cutting, foil stamping, spot varnish, lamination, head and tail bands, ribbon and slip cases, to name a few.

Even the best graphic designers don’t know everything about custom book production. We present the “art of the possible,” with options for the budget-minded.

Sagest clients have one thing in common

Our clients have included world-class museums, galleries, authors, artists, art collectors, publishers, and historical societies. Some clients are well-funded institutions while others are crowd-funded labors of love. Projects have ranged from richly illustrated art and history books to graphic novels to artist portfolios to children’s picture books.

The one common thread is a commitment by us and our clients to producing the best possible book.

Judge our books by their covers…and pages…and more

In the course of producing more than 130 books, we’ve helped clients create collectible readable works of art, a legacy that will stand the test of time, both in content and in physical form.

If you are located in Southern California, Charley Allen and Doreen Chen Allen would love to show you selections from the Sagest library of projects and talk to you face-to-face about your book project. We can meet at our Pasadena studio or at your location in the greater Los Angeles area.

Call 626-795-1053 or email Sagest to arrange a meeting or to schedule a conference call. If you’d like to share details about your book project in advance, please do.


(Above) Hayward Oubre: Difficult to Impossible: A 48-page French-fold soft cover book of the extraordinary wire sculptures, paintings and works on paper of the first Oubre museum retrospective, for Steve Turner Contemporary and the Greenville County Museum of Art.

SAGEST: Bespoke book production


131 N. San Gabriel Bl., #108 • Pasadena, CA 91107

 © 2017 Sagest