Thursday, 18 September 2014

Letterpress with a difference!

I've just been sent an image of this stunning table name card produced for a wedding.
They are printed letterpress on our Kapok 500gsm board, which is a natural, brown coloured board. The tree rings are created as a letterpress varnish which creates this amazing tone and embossed effect. Varnish is rarely used in letterpress printing, so this is something really different.
Click on the image to enlarge:
As well as the varnish effect, the invitation is printed in one special colour with matching edge tinting and round cornering.

Design, print and production is by an extremely skilled and innovative Letterpress studio, Stoneberry Press. The studio is based in Edinburgh and established by Evgenia Kochkina.

Have a look at the other work they do....
Posted by Justin Hobson 18.09.2014

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

What is ...Riso Printing?

What is ...Number 9
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 ...Riso Printing?
Riso or Risograph printing is one of the earliest forms of 'electronic' printing (as opposed to digital). Neither a photocopier or a duplicator, Risography was launched in the mid 1980's and provided a cheap method of colour printing that was cheaper than photocopying for short to medium runs and cheaper than short run offset litho. It was particularly aimed at educational establishments and offices.
Riso EZ200 model
Picture showing the master around the drums
The technology is an evolution of the old 'spirit duplicators' which worked on a typed or drawn wax 'master' through which ink is forced through and onto the paper.
The Riso machine scans an original (or today a digital interface is used) and a 'master' or stencil, which is similar to and can be described as printing plate is produced - through a heat process. From then on the process is similar to a cylindrical screen printer! The master/stencil (plate) is wrapped around a drum (which contains the ink). The drum revolves and the ink is forced through the master, printing the ink directly onto the paper that is fed past it through each revolution, one colour per drum, at a time. Each drum is charged with ink and is a particular colour, of which there are about 20 colours currently available. Inks come from the manufacturer ready mixed and only standard colours are possible. It is possible to crudely register colours although 'process' colours and registering four colours isn't feasible.
Below are two projects which have been printed Riso and are great examples of what can be achieved:
Happiness is a booklet produced about a proposed documentary about the comedian and actor, Russell Brand. The size is A5 portrait with a 4pp cover and 16pp text and is Riso printed in one colour (blue) throughout. Cover is on Colorset Light Grey 270gsm, text is on Colorset Solar (8pp) and Colorset White (8pp)
As you can see from the images, the images reproduce as crude halftones or monotones with a coarse screen ruling but as with these images you can see, the result is aesthetically pleasing...

Below is a close up showing the crudeness of the screen/image quality:
Happiness is designed by Joseph Hales and printed by Ditto Press, based in London.
The second project is called Open Books, designed by Sophie Demay and Lola Halifa-Legrand. It's a sub A5 format, wiro bound with a variety of different text papers and printed is a blue, green and red.
Cover, above is printed blue, on Colorset Suede 270gsm.Below shows double page spread printed in green...
Below is an example of solid red (looks pretty good)
 Below is an example of solid blue (not so great!) ...but as all printers will say, if you're going to have a problem with any colour, it'll be blue!
Invitation, below, printed Riso in two colours, yellow and blue on white:
Open Books is Riso printed by Hato Press, also based in London.
So what else should you know about Riso printing?
Some of the machines are A4, oversize A4 or A3, so it depends on the size that the printer has. Riso printers only print on uncoated papers and ideally paper which has a slightly rougher, more 'open' surface. Riso machines don't like lightweight or heavyweight papers, so the acceptable weights tend to be from 100gsm up to 270gsm.
There are now quite a few independent Riso printing companies or studios around, some of whom have been established for a few years. It is an increasingly popular printing method for independent publishers and designers wishing to experiment with printing. It is considerably cheaper than offset litho printing and HP Indigo print, although the quality is unique and characterful, but won't be appreciated by everyone!
You can read more here:
...and here is a list of a few Riso printers that I know of:
Posted by Justin Hobson 16.09.2014

Friday, 12 September 2014

Ultrabold 15

This is the Spring 2014 edition of Ultrabold magazine, which is the Journal of the St Bride Library - if you aren't familiar with St. Brides, have a look at the link:

Fenner Paper is pleased to support this publication and in a small way, help preserve the history of the printing industry for future generations.

This latest edition has some really interesting articles including one that is particularly relevant for this very date 12th September - one hundred years ago....
This article is written by Emma Langley of Phoenix Yard Books and is based on her presentation made at the St Bride Conference on book design in September 2013.
Illustrator, Stephane Barroux discovered a diary of a French soldier serving in the First World War that was being thrown away. With great ingenuity, he took the diary to his studio and illustrated the soldiers words which resulted as a striking graphic novel (titled: Line of Fire) extracts of which are shown in this article... 
The last entry was 100 years ago today, 12th September 1914.
It is not known what happened to the soldier.
There are many other interesting features in the publication, including this comprehensive article written by Dave Farey in the first of a two part article about the typeface Times New Roman and The Times newspaper itself.
The publication is designed by Simon Loxley and is published by the Friends of St Brides. Printing is sponsored by Principal Colour. The journal is a 40pp self cover, 190x265mm Portrait, saddle stitched and is printed on Brand X FSC 115gsm.

The cover price is £7.00, although as I've mentioned previously on this blog, it's worth mentioning that this publication is free to friends of St Bride - so why not look into joining - might be cheaper than just buying the books and does a bit to help preserve the history of the industry for future generations.
Posted by Justin Hobson 12.09.2014

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

The Bristol Coffee Map

The Bristol Coffee Map is a project instigated by Bristol based Studio Baum ...produced in celebration of coffee, Bristol and the art of print design.
The studio worked with a team of coffee aficionados over 9 months touring Bristol’s cafés and meeting the city’s talented baristas. The final result is this beautifully produced piece of tactile print.
The size of the map is 350x487mm folding down to175x122mm. It is produced on CRUSH, Coffee 120gsm from FAVINI, made using up to 15% residues from agro-industrial processes, recycled fibres and FSC fibres. Read more about Crush here:
The map itself is printed offset litho in silver with an overprint silk-screened in turquoise. The project is illustrated in by a local Bristol illustrator Naomi Wilkinson - illustrations are just superb.

Design and production is by Sam Baum at Studio Baum. You can read more about it here:
Print is by Zone Graphics, based in Paddock Wood in Kent.
Posted by Justin Hobson 10.09.2014

Monday, 8 September 2014

From Q to M – three centuries of typewriter art

There is a talk at the St Brides Foundation which should be absolutely superb and you should know about!

Barrie Tullett is Senior Lecturer in Graphic Design at the Lincoln School of Art and Design, and cofounder of The Caseroom Press, an independent publisher of artists' books based in Lincoln and Edinburgh. As a freelance graphic designer, his clients have included Canongate Books, Princeton University Press and Penguin Books, amongst others. He has recently published a book titled "Typewriter Art: A Modern Anthology" and he will guide the audience through three centuries of typewriter art
Image courtesy of Laurence King
Special guest Keira Rathbone will be live typing throughout the evening demonstrating how this most rigorous and unforgiving of machines still inspires today. Keira Rathbone’s unique art explores the often forgotten creative tool the typewriter. Her works involve using a typewriter as a drawing and mark making instrument, a discipline that has evolved over a ten year period to create works as stunningly complex as they are beautiful and absorbing. Works and performances are developed from many sources; live events, people and architecture prove that the typewriter is a valid and provocative medium that challenges our perceptions of technology and the creative process.
Image courtesy of Laurence King
Copies of Typewriter Art: A Modern Anthology by Barrie Tullet, published by Laurence King, will be available to purchase on the evening at £19.95 each.
Image courtesy of Laurence King
The talk is on Wednesday 24 September 2014 at 7pm

Don't put it off - book a ticket now - Tickets £15.00 • Friends of St Bride Library £12.50 • Students (bring NUS card) £10.00
You can book your ticket here:
Posted by Justin Hobson 08.09.2014

Thursday, 4 September 2014

American Trilogy Invitation

This is the beautiful invitation for the private view of the Ernesto Cánovas exhibition held at the Halcyon gallery in April. I previously wrote about the catalogue for the exhibition on this blog:
This shows the thickness
Size is A5, portrait and is a single card (2pp) made by printing and then duplexing our Omnia 280gsm  to make 560gsm - which is around 800micron thick - a truly substantial invitation! The front of the invitation is printed CMYK with a section of the artwork titled 'Rudolph Territory'. The reverse is printed offset litho in special gold plus black.
One of the main things to mention about the front of the invite is that the image area (below) is over-printed with a gloss UV varnish. (...just worth pointing out that Omnia is one of the very few papers with an uncoated look and feel that you can successfully UV varnish on to with one pass and it looks excellent). It also reflects the look feel of the actual artwork itself.
The gloss varnish also accentuates the artist's injection of vivid colour which features throughout his work.
The invitation is designed and produced at the Halcyon Gallery. Designer of the invitation (and catalogue) is Alfie Hunter.

Printing is by Leicester based Greenshires with Richard Dalby handling the project. Beautifully printed and finished, the UV varnish looks great - a really well produced piece.

Posted by Justin Hobson 04.09.2014

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Jobs from the past - Number 59

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...

Studio8 Brochure
This is a particularly unusual piece of literature combining different print processes and binding. Studio8 was established by Zoë Bather and Matt Willey and by 2008 the studio had been established for few years. They had produced a wide and varied portfolio of work and were regularly asked to presentations and required a credentials "leave behind". In the interests of economy, they decided to produce a 100 copies of a digitally printed brochure.
Size is 308x220mm (which was the largest size that could economically be printed using the B3 size HPIndigo press) and is portrait. The 8pp dustjacket (see left) is printed letterpress with the help of Bill Bragg at Le Gun and is printed on our Redeem 100% Recycled 80gsm. This 'jacket' wraps around the cover which is unprinted on Colorset Nero 120gsm. The job is constructed using individual cut leaves which is then bound using a binding method called 'cheque book binding' ...simply named as this is the way that cheque books are bound,. basically individual sheets are collated and 'stab-stitched' (that is through all the sheets) with a wire stitch and then binding tape is applied around the spine which covers up the staples - as you can see in the picture below
Close up showing the 'cheque book binding'
The 24pp text is printed on our Marazion Ultra 90gsm. This is a lightweight paper with a matt coating but which has an amazing bulk, tactile feel and excellent opacity for 90gsm. It feels just right for this project, because it just flops over wonderfully which is one of the things with the binding - if the paper choice isn't right, it just won't work and will be virtually unreadable - because you'll be fighting to keep it open!

The beautifully designed spreads work perfectly on this paper. Print reproduction is fantastic and in no way has a 'digital' feel.
Spread showing Studio8's awesome D&AD 2008 awards gala installation
As I hope you'll be able to appreciate from these pictures this is a superb piece of design and print.

The digital print and finishing is by Mark Carey at Impressions, who are based in Essex. Combining the digitally printed brochure with the letterpress printed dustjacket is a masterstroke!

Needless to say, design is by Studio8 where the Creative Directors were Zoë Bather and Matt Willey. Sadly, Studio8 closed in May 2012 and Matt and Zoë now work on their own projects, many of which have also appeared on this blog.
Posted by Justin Hobson 02.09.2014