Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Extreme Imagination

The first ever exhibition of works of art created by artists who have no “mind’s eye” will cast new light on the creative brain when it goes on display this year. Extreme Imagination: inside the mind’s eye will feature works by people who cannot visualise, alongside works by those who have particularly vivid mental imagery.
This is the catalogue for the exhibition which is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, and curated by the artist Susan Aldworth.

Extreme Imagination: inside the mind’s eye presents their artwork, inviting us to consider the impact of these phenomena on the creative process. How can someone make anything without being able to imagine what they want it to look like? Is there a distinctly hyperphantasic kind of art? Aphantasia and its opposite teach us about human diversity: the easily-missed, potentially startling differences between individuals’ inner lives. The work of the participating artists – and designers, architects, and writers – demonstrates the diversity of means by which things come to be made, challenging long-held beliefs about what it means to be ‘creative’. Find interviews with participating artists here.
The catalogue is divided in two halves in what I would describe as a 'double-ender' - the cover and text read one way and in the middle of the book you turn it over and it reads the other way.
Size of the publication is 190x115mm, portrait and is perfect bound. The 108pp text is printed on Chromolux 1 sided 120gsm from Zanders in Germany. Chromolux is a cast coated paper, which is gloss one side and uncoated reverse. This publication has been collated in such a way that the gloss coated is one side facing an uncoated side as you can see in the image below:
The uncoated side is matt and tactile as you can see below...
Gloss spread on left, uncoated on right...
reading the other way, uncoated on left, gloss spread on right...
The cover is printed on the black cover material from that other, Hull based, paper merchant! Below shows the very neat, perfect binding.
Extreme Imagination: inside the mind’s eye ran at the Tramway in Glasgow, from January to March and is now at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter, until the 2nd of June.

Catalogue concept and design is by Valle Walkley. Print is by Push.

Posted by Justin Hobson 16.04.2019

Friday, 12 April 2019

Simply Stunning!

Pureprint are an extremely well known UK printer. They are held in high regard for their work with art galleries, magazines, retail brands and quality commercial printing as well as having an enviable reputation for their environmental accreditation and awards. They are now also one of the largest digital printers and the first in the UK with three B2 size digital presses.

To educate and promote their digital abilities, Pureprint have produced a new 'Digital Special Effects Pack' to show some of the techniques. To demonstrate the use of their white ink on coloured paper, they chose our Colorset 100% Recycled range in an Amethyst shade
Click on images to enlarge
As you can see from the above image, the Amethyst board has been printed using white ink plus a CMYK image printed on to of the white ink. On the reverse (below) is just the white ink printed on the Amethyst shade board
As it says on the card "Simply Stunning Results"!
Posted by Justin Hobson 12.04.2019

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Stefano Marinaz Business Cards

From its London base, the Stefano Marinaz Landscape Architecture studio works alongside international architects and designers on projects ranging from small private gardens to larger landscapes, and historical restorations to installations for garden festivals.

These are the most beautiful and beautifully produced business cards I have ever had the privilege to write about on this blog!
Stefano Marinaz appointed Mercer Design for a brand refresh, part of which was the design of new business cards, which as many people now identify are the most important piece of print that most businesses produce.
I shall let the words of Stefano Marinaz explain...
If you know me you must also know how keen on plants I am. My passion for the natural world and understanding of plants started when I was very young sharing some special moments with my grandfather in the glass house, he was growing vegetables to be sold in the shop. More than 70 years ago he started a business in Trieste, Italy, where he was selling seeds and plants to professional and amateur growers. As the business developed further my father and my mum became part of “Marinaz Agraria e Giardinaggio” and after almost 40 years of work they managed to expand the company by selling, throughout Italy and abroad, seeds, plants, gardening tools, machinery and everything else that can assist professionals and amateurs in the gardens and in the fields. The seeds have been the core business of my family since the beginning and I am personally fascinated by their beauty and by the fact they are able to generate new life and endless possibilities for us as human beings as well as in my case for designers. Sometime it is important to see things with a closer look and this is why I have chosen the beautiful pictures by Robert Llewellyn to be part of my new business cards.
I selected nine seeds which I found very interesting mainly in relation to the plants they develop. It has been a very enjoyable design process with the fantastic team of Mercer Design

These gilt edged business cards are printed four colour process one side (seed images) and one colour on the face and are also hot foil blocked on the face in a bronze foil (Foilco Ref: 6732). The gilt edging is in a matching bronze colour.
You may be thinking that these 1mm thick cards are duplexed ...but you'd be wrong! They are printed on our Sumo 1mm thick board - so how are they printed I hear you ask? - they are printed flat bed, offset litho by a very clever company called Avenue Litho, based in Hackney, East London.

One of the reasons that this solution was chosen because the client wanted to avoid the card being 'bendy' which is characteristic of duplexed boards. Because Sumo is 'mill laminated' (a process that uses a lot of pressure and very little glue) the moisture balance is not interfered with, which is why the sheet maintains the correct moisture balance and therefore remains flat.
Posted by Justin Hobson 09.04.2019

Friday, 5 April 2019

St Bride Foundation Wayzgoose

The Annual St Bride Foundation Wayzgoose takes place next month on Sunday - 19th May
Wayzgoose is a term (unfamiliar to many people) that used to refer to an annual holiday in a printworks and was often an away-day to the coast or some other sort of day out, more often than not, paid for by the firm.

 However, in this instance the St Bride's Wayzgoose is a kind of letterpress 'bring and buy' sale. There are companies selling type, letterpress accessories, ink and lots of letterpress printed books and cards and the proceeds from the event go towards the St Bride Foundation. Why not come along... ? For interest, this is what it was like last year:

Posted by Justin Hobson 05.04.2019

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Jobs from the past - Number 114

Regular followers of this blog will know that my first post of every month is a "job from the past" so that I can show some of the really good work from years gone by.

Spring - Bespoke Watermarked Paper 2014
Originally from Australia, Skye Gyngell is now one of Britain’s most respected and acclaimed chefs. After initially training in Sydney and then Paris, Skye moved to work in London and after gaining experience and an increasing reputation, eventually took the role of head chef at Petersham Nurseries. It was there that she became renowned for her distinctively seasonal, elegant cooking. Skye opened her own restaurant 'Spring' in Somerset House in London in 2014.
Studio Frith based in London was commissioned to work on the restaurant identity. Frith Kerr, founder of Studio Frith  is described by the New York Times as “the go-to graphic designer for creative clients” . The studio is renowned for its original work and exceptional clients including some of the world’s leading cultural institutions.

Fenner Paper was approached by Studio Frith about the possibility and practicality of producing watermarked paper for use as the menus for the new restaurant. Having explained the process of reproducing a design as a watermark and the producing a "mill making" of paper, the studio then asked me about the the possibility of not just one watermark but six different watermarks! ...a different one for each use, wine list, starters, deserts and cheese etc. Having costed the whole exercise with our paper mill partner, the go ahead was given for a mill making of over three tonnes of paper - approximately half a tonne each of six different watermarks.

The illustrated artworks were supplied as pdf's to the mill, where they have to be interpreted by the master craftsman who solders (by hand, using his eyes and experience) an electrotype die onto a skeletal "dandy roll" as you can see from the image below.
The below image shows the finished Dandy Roll
Watermarks are created during the early stages of paper manufacture using this "Dandy Roll" (the invention of the dandy roll is attributed to John Marshall from England in 1826) This skeletal roll made from a copper wire mesh, skims the top side of the paper on the machine at the point that the paper is still very wet. The image mark is pressed on the surface whilst also displacing the fibres causing areas of higher and lower density, this has the result that the image is apparent both on the surface and on looking through the sheet.
The picture above shows a Dandy Roll on a paper machine, just 'skimming the surface' and the picture below shows a close up of the mesh type nature of the skeletal Dandy Roll.
Studio Frith were kept informed throughout the whole process, including being sent photographs of the manufacturing process.

One of the hardest things for me to show in this article is the end result! Although I am sure that a professional photographer would be able to do a fantastic job, my limited facilities don't do justice to the end result, however, here are a couple of examples of the final product...
Click on images to enlarge
The paper was supplied as A4 sheets and is a 90gsm weight in a neutral white shade. As I mentioned earlier, in total there were six different watermarks, which I show below from the original pdf's I was sent.
It was an amazing project to have been involved with and it was great to work with a design studio and end client who had the creative vision to embark on such a project. 

If you are interested, you can read more about the watermarking process here.

Posted by Justin Hobson 03.04.2019

Saturday, 30 March 2019

ArjoWiggins - news update

Back in January I wrote about the situation at ArjoWiggins, which had placed five of it's manufacturing mills into administration. There are three paper mills in France employing over 900 people and two mills in the UK plus other subsidiaries employing over 600 people and I wrote about the situation in the beginning of the year here.

Yesterday, there was a ruling by the court in France, who had the final decision on the offers that had been made by the various interested parties interested in buying the business or parts of the business.

Unfortunately the outcome is far from positive. The largest mill in Bessé-sur-Braye (Sarthe), which employs over 550 employees is to be closed. The various offers and recovery plans were unable to raise the necessary capital (15 million Euros was needed) and therefore must now close. Amongst others, the mill makes Cocoon, Cyclus, Maine, Satimat and Chromomat.
The Greenfield recycled pulp mill (Château-Thierry) has been sold to the German tissue producer Wepa and apparently all 75 jobs are to be saved.

The French court approved the plan for the takeover of the Le Bourray mill, located in Saint-Mars-la-Brière, by a local company CGMP which is a manufacturer of towels, tablecloths, paper rolls and is a long time customer of the mill. The good news is that they will retain over 100 of the original 260 employees, however the mill will cease production of all graphical papers which also includes part of the Cyclus range.

So will this mean the end of Cyclus? In terms of the manufacturing, the mills are closing, so that is that; but the chances are that some company will buy the Cyclus brand and keep it on the market. In fact Cyclus has only been made at these French mills since 2012! Cyclus was originally conceived in the mid 1990's at a Danish paper mill called Dalum, which was bought by ArjoWiggins in 2007 and subsequently closed by them after transferring production to their mills in France with the loss of 260 Danish jobs, which I wrote about here.

This recent news shows what a bad state the paper manufacturing world is in. The combination of decreasing demand and higher energy and raw material costs including both pulp and chemicals means that all manufacturers are having a rough time.

So what of ArjoWiggins Creative Papers in the UK with paper mills at Stoneywood (Scotland) and Chartham (Kent)? Apparently the administrators are conducting due diligence with a "preferred bidder" however it is worth remembering that this was the case with the French mills up to last week. Stoneywood makes ranges such as Keaycolour, Curious, Olin, Popset, Conqueror etc and Chartham makes translucent (tracing paper). I can't make a guess as to whether the mills will survive; certainly it is a matter of record that a multi million pound investment is needed for a new power plant at the Stoneywood mill which has just under 500 employees. ArjoWiggins also owns a mill in Quzhou (China) where they make the same tracing paper products (reputedly much cheaper) so although the brands certainly have value, who knows if the banks will support a bidder looking to buy these mills.

Antalis is a separate listed company but a majority shareholding is held by Sequana (the holding company which own ArjoWiggins). However on 21st March, Sequana filed for bankruptcy to protect themselves and to give them time to "restructure" the Antalis shareholding (this means selling shares to anyone else other than Sequana). How will this go? Given the fact that it was only in 2017 that Antalis had to withdraw their 'junk bond' offering to the market due to lack on interest, so maybe things don't look so good. David Hunter (MD of Antalis) has been making positive statements about the future of Antalis as you might expect.

You can read more following these links here...
With thanks to Printweek.
Posted by Justin Hobson 30.03.2019

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Hotel Amigo

Hotel Amigo is an elegant hotel set among the cobbled streets of Brussels, just around the corner from the beautiful Grand Place. Close to Brussels' financial district and within easy walking distance of the antiques district of Le Sablon, The illustrious hotel is decorated with Belgian accents, reflecting the city’s history and heritage, and many of the rooms and suites have been recently refurbished by interior designer, Olga Polizzi.

This the the brochure for the hotel, which follows the new branding by Pentagram.
Size of the brochure is 266x204mm, portrait and is saddle stitched. The cover is an unusual format as there is an 8pp cover with 140mm wide flaps and there is an outer jacket, only 210mm high, also with 140mm flaps. It is the first time I've seen this combination and the effect is superb...
Click on images to enlarge
The materials used for the covers is our Dali range, which is a 'felt-marked' paper with a linear effect and a natural, tactile feel. If you click on the image below, you will be able to see the texture in the paper.
Click on images to enlarge
The cover is on Dali Nero 200gsm and is hot foil blocked in matt white and copper foil. The jacket is printed on Dali, Candido, 160gsm and is litho printed in CMYK on one side only.
The 16pp text is printed offset litho on our Marazion Ultra 135gsm, chosen because of it's dead matt flatness which would reproduce the interior images well without a glossiness which would detract from the classic look and feel of the hotel.
The brochure has a beautiful, quality feel and flows in the hand superbly. The combination of photography, materials and quality print makes this a wonderful piece of print.
Design is by Pentagram. The excellent print, repro and finishing is by Gavin Martin Colournet, based in London.

Posted by Justin Hobson 26.03.2019