In my last post I wrote about how the majority of my work was digital and the reasons for that, the end result etc. (that post can be found here My Brand if you haven’t had a chance to read it yet). Now, I stand by what I said there but it did get me thinking about how you would go about mass producing works that relied upon depth and texture? Several weeks back during a day at Uni we had a guest speaker from A14 Print, having spoken to Simon after the talk I thought I would drop him an email and see if I could arrange a visit.
A14 are a printers in Nottingham that specialise in the older ways of printing. They offer loads of services that are quickly becoming forgotten in the wake of newer digital printers, which is sad really. Especially when you consider that the outcome from these methods can’t be copied and provide some wonderful finishes.
Simon replied and after a bit of diary arranging I managed to get in for a look around whilst trying not to interrupt his busy team. Using the old mechanical tech (named after each of the people who Simon bought/rescued them from) requires skill and an incredible eye for detail and the last thing I wanted to do was interrupt their work flow.
After a walk around the floor Simon lead me to where they kept the samples (a mistake) and made his apologies that he had to get back to work. so in front of stood a set a shelves containing the collections of samples they have for all of their processes, sadly I didn’t have a truck out front to for me to take all the samples I wanted but as Simon will attest – I made a good effort. Luckily i managed to take some snaps of the quality that they produce.
The Foiling on these pieces is a wonder, as far as I’m aware there is literally no other way to attain this effect. The leaves, both copper and silver on the Starbucks boards add an almost glow to the image which can be spotted several feet away – more in the right light.
Embossing I recently pitched an idea to client for art exhibition book that unfortunately they didn’t buy into, but I wish I’d had these examples on hand to show them. Even if they still didn’t go for it, it would still have shown them what they were missing.
Thermography. Unfortunately this is best photo I’ve got of the thermography process but the process involves wetting the area that you want to print on and
dusting it with the ‘ink’, then it goes through a heater which brings the colour out and creates this raised almost plastic coating on the substrate. Apart from the unique texture printing like this leaves I can see this being useful if you wanted bright or light colours over a dark paper. This is something I’ll definitely be keeping in mind for future projects.
In the brief time that I had talking to these gentlemen they clearly knew what they were talking about and spoke to me about previous jobs they’ve had that required mixing and matching all sorts of their processes and resulted in some of the most extravagant business cards I’ve ever seen.
Different colours on each side, with perfect cut outs to reveal a third colour within, some with side foiling and embossing. I definitely opened my eyes to the near endless designs that professionals are using to advertise themselves. quite simple in a different ball park to the vista print 100 cards for a fiver that you see advertised on t.v and web banners. My advice would be to talk to these guys if you’re in need a swanky way to introduce yourself or represent your business. Better yet, contact me and I’ll design you something with these outcomes in mind.
Before, I would quite happily admit that I was a bit of a paper nerd, i don’t tend to flip my way through magazines for example. i read and feel my way through trying to really get a feel for what the designers have produced. But after this experience I’m much more of a convert to the older ways. Don’t get me wrong, i love my mac and I’ll continue to work digitally for the most part, but i look forward to working with the clients that want nothing but the best and i get to introduce them to the guys at A14.
I mentioned to Simon whilst i was there that i was looking for an internship and we discussed the possibilities, so far we have left it there due to my financial needs, but i look forward to the days i can get back in and see what other magic they’re up to.