Printing Pressure

Monday, 3 December, 2012
The printing process feels somewhat like becoming a child again. Everything looks enormous and you have no idea how anything works. It must be magic. The work of a genius somewhere along the way. The mind boggles at the mechanics and how a blank sheet of paper becomes miraculously inked with the Issue you have been pouring over for the last few months. It's like being in an episode of How It's Made or having a conversation with Craig Charity, you appreciate that there are people who understand what's going on, but you are utterly clueless, and very grateful that they can make the images that you so love look the way they should.

The Beast

The sheer size of the machinery is completely overwhelming. The flatbed printing press for smaller print runs of say 10000, is about the length of 3 cars. "That's nothing!" Iain tells me, "Wait til you see the Web press in Paarl, that's about the size of a football field." 

This is s our feature on Decaf by Jake Easton being run off, a mere 10000 times.

I think what I really love about the whole process apart from the incredible equipment, is the fact that it so tangible. So real. In the digital age it is something special to be producing a print product. You can smell it. You can make a fingerprint in the wet ink on the fresh sheets. A stack of the printed product is HEAVY.

Preparing the sections for folding.

You can pick up the magenta a little here and pull back the cyan a little there, on the standard ink density by fiddling with the control board, to create completely different pictures for the viewer.

Getting the levels right, I was given strict instructions not to touch anything. Next time...

This process is precious and we want to make the most of each sheet of paper.

We can't wait to show you Issue 2. Out soon.

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