Printing – anything’s possible…if you’re rich

29 Apr

In preparation for my project hand-in at the end of May, I’ve been doing some investigating of print and paper stock process, materials and costs. On Tuesday I arranged meetings with paper suppliers GF Smith as well as printers, F.E. Burman. It was a really good and very necessary experience. I think the printing and manufacturing aspect of design can be quite intimidating to a new designer, or at least for me – so it was great to finally speak to the source and get a better understanding of it all. It was incredibly helpful to speak with the printers in particular.Its all fine and good to have grandiose, creative ideas for how you want to present your printed designs, but without a reasonable understanding of the print process, knowing what is possible and knowing what it costs, its all for nothing.

The costs left me pretty jaw-dropped at times to be honest. For instance, I wanted to use embossing on my typographic classification assignment so I inquired about the process. The printer’s response, ‘yeah we can absolutely do that…but the minimum cost for the embossing alone is about £200.’ Needless to say, that was quickly scratched off my list of interesting ways to present my work. Even relatively simple printing is going to be somewhat costly. It became very obvious that printing really is intended for mass-production, not one-off pieces such as our assignments. Regardless of being massively knocked back in terms of what my realistic options are, it was great to get a basic understanding of what processes and paper stocks were out there. Obviously still lots to learn on this front, but I’m sure this will all prove very important in my design career.

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