Monday, 23 November 2015


'Duh? Art & Stupidity' is an exhibition looks at stupidity as a subject and a tactic of art making, with a particular focus on its relationship to the politics and performance of identity. "High culture is meant to keep its audience from being stupid, but artists have repeatedly drawn upon stupidity, or playing stupid, as a form of dissidence, irreverence or as a means to cast off received thinking." The exhibition is at the Focal Point Gallery located in The Forum in Southend on Sea. It is curated by Paul Clinton and Anna Gritz and runs from 10 November to 26 March 2016.

This is the invitation to the opening. Echoing the theme of the exhibition, the invite is deliberately trimmed out incorrectly.
The size of the invitation is 130x80mm, portrait and is just a single sheet. It is an excellent example of a great idea, executed economically. The designer, Fraser Muggeridge, wanted a different type of board for this unusual idea and because it was a limited run, he called us and described the type of product he wanted. We sampled a redundant item (Bakri, Everest 250gsm) which is no longer manufactured, which was perfect! Just one pack was required which made this an economical and highly unusual piece. The below images show how it was mailed out in a cellophane bag with a piece of greyboard.
Design is by Fraser Muggeridge Studio. Print and the (deliberately bad) trimming is by Healeys Print Group based in Ipswich.
Posted by Justin Hobson 23.11.2015

Friday, 20 November 2015

Creative Courage - A Lesson in Misdirection

Creative Courage is NB:Studio's mantra; a rallying cry, a touchstone, a catalyst. It’s also a platform for a series of talks, events and activities. Yesterday evening, I was invited to a Creative Courage talk at NB's Bankside studio which was being given by Simon Evans. Titled 'A lesson in Misdirection' , this wasn't just a talk, it was magic!

This is the fourth in the series of talks/events hosted by NB:Studio and it is a brilliant idea. These evening events stimulate new ideas, are great for staff, clients and suppliers alike and can bring a fresh perspective and thinking to a creative environment - in my opinion more studios should host events such as this.
Simon Evans was introduced by NB:Studio partner Nick Finney(above). Simon is a Theatre director, two time Close-up Magician of the year and National Theatre Magic Consultant amongst many other activities.
Click on images to enlarge
Simon gave his masterclass in 'misdirection' explaining how magicians make you look in the right place at the wrong time – or the wrong place at the right time! This was part lecture, part performance and mostly magic show!
It's given me some great ideas for shuffling swatches and making other paper companies sample books disappear - what an illusion that would be!

It was a magical evening and my thanks go to all at NB:Studio for inviting me and to Simon Evans for an extremely insightful talk and a wonderful performance.
Posted by Justin Hobson 20.11.2015

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

What is ...Creep?

What is ...Number 23
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 ...Creep?

Because most bound publications are produced by folding large sheets down to a smaller size and forming multiples of 4pp sections, the number of printed pages of any document will start to affect the physical properties and the position of the printed matter. The inner sections will start to protrude beyond the outer pages - see diagram below.

If adjustment is not made, printed matter will get too close to the trimmed edge. To demonstrate, here is a 32pp saddle stitched, self cover brochure, which I wrote about last year:

If I hold the booklet open in the middle, you can see with the image below the difference in the width of the page size, which has effectively become staggered because of the straight cut edge.
To demonstrate further I've taken the book apart. With the spines in the same position I've laid the centre spread underneath the cover (below image). The finished size of the book is 235x165mm. The total width of the double page spread of the cover is 331mm, the total width of the centre spread is 327mm, so the difference pictured below is 2mm:
Click on images to enlarge
Creep Allowance is also known as "feathering" or "shingling" and unless an allowance is made for creep it can have a major impact on the margins and page layout.

There are three methods of creep allowance:
  • Manual Adjustment
  • Page Offsetting
  • Page Scaling
All the methods depend on the number of pages and the thickness of the material. Manual Adjustment is a very arduous procedure which involves a mathematical formula which calculates by how much the design elements are moved away from the foredge in tiny increments and the artwork is then adjusted manually. Creep Allowance by Page Offsetting is where a program has been written which moves page elements inwards progressively but can result with problems in the spine.

Creep Allowance by Page Scaling is the preferred method by printers. It works by having a program which reduces the page elements in size horizontally. It is a scaling program which inevitably is a distortion of the original but is the most effective automatic system.

As mentioned earlier, if the project is section sewn or even perfect bound the same issues are a factor as they are all made using folded sheets of paper. It may be less of an issue if a project is made using 16pp sections but with a bulky material, for instance, it could be a real issue.

In my experience, the first time people come across the term 'creep' (in printing) is when there is a production problem. Generally, a job has been printed and finished, then someone spots the issue (usually type or images getting to close to the foredge) and then someone will start talking about creep ...this is not helpful if you have never heard of it! Typically the event I've just described is usually followed with finger pointing and people looking for someone to blame.

Creep Allowance is something that should be discussed rather than ignored until there is a problem. Responsibility must be assumed and agreement should be reached at the start of a project about who (designer or printer) will make the adjustments. My advice is: Talk about it!
Posted by Justin Hobson 17.11.2015

Monday, 16 November 2015

Are you a parent ...?

Here's an interesting project which I thought you might like to see...

Regular readers of this blog will be aware of some of the projects which I have featured which have been funded by Kickstarter. Lorna and Daniel Freytag contacted me about this fun project which is on Kickstarter right now.
In their words:
We're a mum and dad team called HeyWow! working from the small seaside town of Oban on the north-west coast of Scotland with our two little highland monsters (aged 2 and 4). Twelve months ago we had the crazy idea of creating our own personalised children's books, to bring a bit more WOW to kids lives. Our aim was to create something vibrant, well designed and exciting that parents could enjoy too! How hard can that be??? Ha! Nearly one year later (in between caring for the kids) and after lots of brain storming, cups of tea, sketching, tea, emails, business plans, photo shoots, more tea, Skype calls and many many late nights, we're now ready to reveal our first picture book... 'In the City'.

Here are some HeyWow links
Our Kickstarter campaign
Posted by Justin Hobson 16.11.2015

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Wrangler S|S 2015

This is the season's promotional literature for Wrangler’s new S|S 2015 collection. Kimi Räikkönen is the face of Wrangler’s Denim Performance line and is the first male spokesperson for Wrangler Europe.

This 10pp concertina brochure is 190x135mm, expanding to 190x675mm. It is printed in CMYK offset litho on our Omnia, White FSC 320gsm and is printed and finished beautifully. Birds eye view below:
Click on images to enlarge
Although this is a simple publication, it's often the simple jobs which don't get the attention to detail. This is well creased and folded square which is just perfect
Omnia was chosen because it would work with the rich detail that is present in the images but that would still give a natural look and tactile feel. As you can see from images, some of the photography is quite dark, but there is no loss of detail, which is what can often happen printing on an uncoated paper.
Art direction and design is by JJ Marshall Associates. Creative Director is Jethro Marshall and thanks to Jethro for sending file copies and a note...
Excellent print and finishing is by Principal Colour based in Paddock Wood, Kent.
Posted by Justin Hobson .12.11.2015

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

John Eskenazi Invitations

John Eskenazi is one of the most internationally respected dealers in Indian, Gandharan, Himalayan and South-east Asian works of art. He is also a specialist in collectors' carpets and textiles.

This is the invitation to view the latest acquisitions.
Click on images to enlarge
The invitations are A5, portrait and are particularly thick and prestigious having been mounted onto our Construction Blackstone 1500microns, making the total thickness nearly 2mm.
The invitations have been printed on an HP Indigo digital press and this is interesting as it's the first time that I have seen a genuine duotone (just two colours) printed on an HP Indigo, rather than out of four colours
Design and Art Direction is by Ornan Rotem at Sylph Editions.

Printing and the terrific finishing - which was all achieved in house is by Zone Graphics, based in Paddock Wood in Kent.
Posted by Justin Hobson 10.11.2015

Friday, 6 November 2015


This project is an entire book printed on transparent paper! Stranger is a beautiful book of photographs by Magnum photographer Olivia Arthur.

Here are the words about the project, from the publisher, Fishbar:
On 8th April 1961 the MV Dara, a ship carrying passengers between India, Pakistan and the Gulf, sank just off the port of Dubai. An estimated 238 people lost their lives.
Some bodies were never found and relatives of the missing continue to this day to search for their loved ones. Stranger, a new project by photographer Olivia Arthur, imagines a survivor returning to Dubai fifty years later, and what they would see. Through photographs and small anecdotes, the viewer is taken on a journey through a city that is both awe-inspiring and alienating. A city which has grown at breath-taking pace from a population of 90,0000 in the 1960s to over 2 million in the current day, and continues to draw people from all over the world with its promise of riches.

The backbone of the project is the story of the shipwreck, transporting the viewer back and forth in history and acting as a reminder of the fragility and skin-deep nature of Dubai.

Reflecting this fragility and suggesting the feelings of loneliness and disorientation often experienced by residents of Dubai, the book is printed on transparent paper. The result is that the layered images fade in and out of view, interspersed with quotes, memories, and images of the shipwreck itself.
Click on images to enlarge
This is the second published book for Magnum photographer Olivia Arthur and is the result of a residency of the artist in Dubai in 2014.
Concept and book design is by London based designer, Melanie Mues. In her words: "The book is printed entirely on transparent paper, juxtaposing images directly with the help of the show-through. The viewing experience is more like a film or a slide show, supporting the sense of loosing orientation and chronology of events." The book is printed offset litho in CMYK and is section sewn and casebound with a hard cover.
The paper chosen is ZANDERS Spectral White, 100gsm which is from the Reflex Paper Mill in Germany, who also make the ZANDERS Zeta range. Spectral  was chosen for it's uniformity of translucency and high whiteness.
The project was recently reviewed on the Grafik site:
Stranger is printed by Belgian printer, Die Keure, based in Bruges. They are one of the most renowned book printers in Europe and print for many of the high end publishers in Europe.
Posted by Justin Hobson 06.11.2015