Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Lower Mill Estate

Lower Mill Estate is an award-winning community of sustainable vacation homes set in a private, fully managed, 550-acre reserve in the Cotswolds. The estate was established by the Paxton family 16 years ago with a vision to create a residential nature reserve providing a sense of security and the freedom to escape the demands of urban life.

Lower Mill Estate is a collection of villages committed to ecological best practice, with wonderful facilities, an award-winning Pevonia spa which includes the UK’s first eco-pool purified entirely by plants and a huge expanse of pure Cotswold countryside to explore.

This is simply a stunning piece of literature and is one of the best pieces of print that I've recently been involved with. This book has been produced to show everything the estate has to offer, conveying the quality of the development in a contemporary and beautifully readable way.
The size is 220x148mm, portrait. The cover is bookcloth, mounted onto board, with silver hot foil blocking on front and back cover. the foiling is a simplified version of the illustrations by Russell Cobb, commissioned for the project which were used for the press ads and on line and mobile applications - you can see them here:
The cover is very clever as it is effectively a case-bound book but the text is actually 'singer sewn', which means that the book opens nicely and sits flat. The fact that there isn't a formal, squared off, spine and that the board used is flexible means that, although it feels like a book it isn't as serious as a book, it has a lighter "browse me" feel.
You can read more about Singer sewing here:
The end papers are printed on Flora Anice, 130gsm and are printed all over, again using the illustrations.
If you aren't familiar with Flora, it is a recycled text and cover paper with a deliberately recycled look and feel with specks and inclusions, so it looks deliberately flecky and specky. The thing this project exemplifies is creativity in print! Very few designers take a paper like Flora and print all over it ...and get this terrific effect!
Click to enlarge and see the specks!
Inks for offset litho are transparent. Designers (and often printers) forget this, so effects like this are often forgotten about! Design and print on plain white paper is easy (well, easier) - it's projects like this which challenge and push the boundaries.
The 32pp text is printed on our Omnia 150gsm - absolutely perfect for this project as it has a natural feel but reproduces the superb photography and interior shots beautifully.
...and here in the text is another fantastic surprise - six 148x98mm 'tip-ins' appearing throughout the text which use the illustrated theme with details highlighted in silver hot foil blocking.
The tip-ins are on the same as the end papers (Flora Anice 130gsm) - and beautifully executed
But "how come all these different colours?" I hear people asking. Quite simply, the sheets are all printed up on one sheet (Flora Anice 130gsm) in CMYK - simple idea, well thought out and beautifully executed.
Design for the whole Lower Mill campaign including this book is by Johnston Works. The campaign also encompasses press, on line and mobile applications, which were all created by Johnston Works.
Director on the project is Kirsten Johnston. The excellent print and finishing is by Push.

I'm sure that you can tell from the way that I've written about this project that this really is a special piece of print - it's one of those projects where all the elements that go into a piece of literature (concept/design/illustration/photography/print/paper/finishing etc) has all come together and collided (in a well orchestrated way!) to form a superb result.
Posted by Justin Hobson 20.08.2014

Monday, 18 August 2014

What is ...Loop Stitching?

What is ...Number 8
Regular followers of this blog will know that in the middle of the month, I publish a "What is ....? post. The article covers various aspects of paper, printing and finishing in greater depth. However, many of these subjects are complex, so these posts are only intended to be a brief introduction to the topic.

What is ...Loop Stitching?
Loop stitching is a variation of wire stitching or 'saddle stitching' (or a staple, as some would call it). In the way that it holds paper together, it performs exactly the same function as a normal staple finish but it is formed from a continuous length of wire (as is most commercial stitching) rather than a pre-formed staple and the wire forms a loop on the spine of the job.
The below picture shows a wire stitching machine, fed by a continuous roll of wire. 
The wire loop protrudes about 6mm from the spine and it's function is to allow documents to be held together and then files in a ring binder in one piece, rather than many loose, punched sheets. The picture below, shows the way the loops are held in a ring binder mechanism:
The ARB (Architects Registration Board) project (see below) was produced in 1999, designed by Cartlidge Levene - part of the functionality of these guidelines dictated that they could be kept in a ring binder and easily updated in the future.
 ...and this picture show a ring binder with the contents, which are all loop stitched. An important point, not to be overlooked is the spacing between the loops, as this must be specified to the printer or finisher at the time of production. This is also often referred to as the 'pitch'.
Many binders have four rings and paper must be 'four hole punched' however it's worth remembering that you don't need to have four loops as two loops works perfectly in a four ring mechanism, as demonstrated below - that's certainly worth remembering!
 ...alternatively, you can just use the loops as an interesting finishing feature for purely aesthetic effect, even if it isn't being put into a ring binder, as this job for photographer, Andrew Douglas by Vince Frost.
From a cost point of view, it is more expensive than normal saddle stitching because the 'stitching heads' on the stitching line have to be changed and it just requires a bit more time to set up ...also, not all finishers have stitching lines that can loop stitch.
Posted by Justin Hobson 18.08.2014

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Sopianae Brand Book

This project is a brandbook for Sopianae, which is the most well known cigarette brand in Hungary. This book covers the history and culture of the brand whilst explaining the relationship with the Rountable Agency who are their brand communication consultancy.
It is a very large book at 415mmx260mm! It comes with a slipcase and the whole print package is superb and made extra special by the binding.

This is generally described as 'Japanese Binding' as it is in the Size|Format|Stock pamphlet that I wrote, although as I've pointed out in the same publication, terminology is certainly not universal - I doubt if they call this Japanese binding in Japan!
The cover is formed by a 2mm greyboard which is silkscreened in three colours and mounted on the cover. The 64pp text is on a mixture of an uncoated ivory coloured paper (unknown) and our Stardream Crystal 120gsm from Cordenons in Italy.
Now what has made this project particularly worthy of note is that there were not that many copies produced, so in the main, this job was produced on a digital press (HP Indigo). However because of some of the 'throw outs' - such as below, some of the pages had to be printed offset litho as the format of the digital press (in this case SRA3) wasn't large enough.
So the clever thing, from a print point of view, was to get the litho and digital sheets to match! not that easy to do but the end result is superb - as you can see below digital meets litho on the same spread.
The other thing that makes it slightly less complicated is that Stardream is kept in stock as HP Indigo ready, as well as the sheets for offset litho.
Stardream is a pearlescent and metallic range which shimmers and the pic below may give some idea of how it looks:
Design is by the Roundtable Agency. Head of Art is Franco Reda.
Printing and the terrific binding - which was all achieved in house is by Zone Graphics. They truly have excelled.
Posted by Justin Hobson 14.08.2014

Tuesday, 12 August 2014


The Glassboat restaurant is permanently berthed on the floating harbour in the heart of Bristol affording spectacular views of the city and harbourside. The Glassboat has a unique interior carefully restored to make the most of the original polished wooden decks, sculptured oak and portholes. The Head chef is Charlie Hurrell. This brochure is specifically for "private hire" clients who may wish to book one of the four different spaces on board.

Size is 270x210mm (a nicely 'squared off' A4 derivative), portrait format. It is an 8pp self cover and is saddle stitched.
It is produced on our Omnia White 200gsm (throughout as it is a 'self-cover'). It is a beautifully simple and functional piece of literature. The exquisite photography works brilliantly with the uncoated finish and tactile mattness of the Omnia.
Nice even solid, out of CMYK, looks superb - flat and even.
Design is by Peloton in Bristol. Creative directors are Karen Bird and Peter Thompson. The excellent print is by Park Lane Press, who are based in Corsham, Wiltshire.

...and an additional thanks to Peloton designer Stacey Martin who kindly lugged up the file copies to London on the train from Bristol for me.
Posted by Justin Hobson 12.08.2014

Friday, 8 August 2014

CSM Show Directory

This is a student directory that provides an index of students exhibiting at the 2014 BA (Hons) Graphic Design Degree Show. Not only does it list all the students but there is also a map and a pocket on the inside back cover to collect business cards.
For interest, I posted about the show here:
The whole package is held together with a blue rubber band and they thoughtfully provided a pencil! Size of the publication is 148mm square. It has a 4pp cover from Colorset 270gsm and a 16pp text on StarFine White 115gsm.
Printed offset litho in just one colour (black) - a lovely feature is the use of black wire on the stitches. A lovely detail.
The pocket on the inside back cover includes a map which has been riso printed (unfortunately I don't have any further details on that)
6pp concertina map - Riso printed
The course leader is Alan Baines. The print team that produced the publication (all graduating students) are Brian Lo, Isabelle Mattern, Katharina Gilbert and they had help and guidance from Martin McGrath, who's an Associate Lecturer in Design & Interaction.

Printing is by Ripping Image based in London SE1
Posted by Justin Hobson 08.08.2014

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Printing Bike Project

This is a really interesting project I just had to tell you about.

Nick Hand is a graphic designer based in the west of England and has appeared on this blog previously with his work for Howies and the Do Lectures. More recently he's turned his hand to being a letterpress printer and established an open access letterpress project called The Letterpress Collective, which I wrote about earlier in the year:

His latest project is a Printing Bike!
Adana 8x5
Through being neighbours at Centrespace workshops in Bristol, Nick and bicycle maker Robin Mather hatched an audacious plan to build a printing bike capable of carrying an Adana 8x5 printing press, together with inks, paper and type. When the bike has been completed, Nick will ride it through the south of England, France and Germany to Mainz, which is where Johannes Gutenberg invented printing with moveable type in 1440. Along the way he will be collaborating with artists, writers and poets, who will describe the journey in illustration and word ...and of course, Nick will also be printing and sending back some print - mainly potscards, I imagine.

The project has been fully funded through Kickstarter and you can see the campaign, together with the excellent film (by Emma Lazenby)

The bike is being built right now and Nick will be setting off in September. Good luck and safe printcycling!
Robin Mather:
Posted by Justin Hobson 06.08.2014

Monday, 4 August 2014

Jobs from the past - Number 58

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...

Nougat Preview S/S 2005
This is one of those simple pieces of print which is just exquisite. It is the preview piece produced to excite fashion buyers and to let them know at which fashion shows around the globe they will be showing the new collection. From that point of view, it can simply be described as a piece of 'direct mail' but that term is generally applied in a derogatory way and really doesn't do justice to this project.
It is simply a 6pp creased and folded card. Deceptively square, it's actually 150x140mm, portrait. It is printed in one colour on the outside and CMYK on the inside.
So what is it exactly that I find so special about this job? It was one of the first ever pieces to use Omnia and what is amazing is the way it feels so beautifully tactile and uncoated and then the way it reveals the amazing images inside. The outside cover is a continuous vignette as a halftone going from 0 to 100%. This is ingenious as it graduates in a crisp even way across the front cover - the even-ness in part, due to the way the Omnia prints and retains the integrity of the monotone.
The cover opens to reveal part of a stunning image plus reversed out type on a great solid, which is, of course, the continued solid from the front and back cover. Printed on Omnia White 280gsm.
 ...and then opening the right hand page reveals the image in all it's glory:
Below you can see the way the continuous vignette works from Zero to 100% 
 and here is a detail showing the subtlety of the tint:
This project together with the Nougat look-books at this time were designed by BOB Design. The creative partners at BOB were Alexis Burgess, Mireille Burkhardt and Kieran O'Connor. Lexi now runs his own studio in East London, Burgess Studio.

The excellent printing was by Principal Colour based in Paddock Wood in Kent. It's also worth pointing out that this job isn't "sealed, varnished or coated" in any way and this is the main reason that it feels so good - you can actually feel the paper and the ink. Since the time this was printed (2005) there has been a trend to install presses with coaters and most pieces of printed literature are smeared with a coating or sealer which (although making the printer's lives easier) betrays the feel of the paper ...and (what a lot of printers fail to mention) it discolours with age - now that's definitely something worth thinking about!
Posted by Justin Hobson 04.08.2014