Friday, August 27, 2010

Paper & Ink

It's one thing to stare at a computer screen.

Picking colors. Scrolling through typefaces (but never mumping them). Pushing pixels.

But, after bringing to life in real paper and ink an otherwise virtual design, it never fails to impress me to hold it in my hands after only previously knowing it on a screen. Pasteboards, guides, and bezier curves are amazing in and of themselves, but to touch and feel my work—not to mention the smell—is what I am learning from experience to be the creative payoff. Screen, laser print, blueline, digital proof. But, nothing compares with the final product after paper has been carefully selected, inks and processes applied thoughtfully (since you can't really experience them until it's in hand).

It requires creative discipline to look just past the screen and to imagine the final product, but it is one part of being a designer that shouldn't get lost in the digital age. Recently I have had the opportunity to work on a business card that will be printed on a letterpress. In fact, we will create our own duplexed paper by bonding 100# cover white over 100# cover blue paper in order to absorb the deep debossed impression we hope to achieve on each side. The same card could be printed on a traditional offset press or even through an online service that would probably print it on a mid-grade paper using a digital press. But, no.

Same design, different method of producing. Different result. A different level of quality!

[Attached picture is a sample of letterpress. Note the deep impression—slightly debossed—that is characteristic of the process.]

1 comment:

  1. Oh, to be able to letterpress… Perhaps one day, in the near future, we will be able to, here at JBU. Letterpress is beautiful, elegant, and impressive. (Yes, I know, bad pun, but it is true.) Letterpress has a quality to it that cannot be achieved through the other methods you mentioned. For the right project, person, and budget, letterpress makes for an excellent solution. I can’t wait to see the business card.