On Tuesday 2nd September, Marcroy took to St.Brides Library for what was an evening of print-related talks and panel discussion under the title ‘No end of print?‘ hosted by John L. Walters of Eye Magazine. The night featured Pureprint, New North Press, Hoxton Mini Press, Kin, Calverts, F.E.Burman and People of Print.
Firstly Richard Owers took to the stage who spoke on behalf of Pureprint, who are responsible for printing both Eye Magazine and our very own Print Isn’t Dead Magazine. Richard spoke with confidence stating that new technologies are really influencing print and that “there really is no end of print, even if digital is now the default.” He went on to say that 2008 was clearly their worst year, until they decided to diversify and invest which played a huge role in the company doubling in size over the last 10 years. His main point was how digital indigo printers allow for the production of variable copies of the same run, ink dries quicker than litho and the start up costs and times are considerably lowered – he went on to say that this is a “very exciting time for print”.
Then we had our second Richard of the evening take to the stage, this time Richard Ardargh from New North Press who was speaking about his 3D printed letterpress type. He quickly gave us a briefing of how he became acquainted with Graham who founded NNP in 1986 and has between 700-800 type specimens in their Hoxton based studio. Richard was full of facts, telling us that 3D printing is not a new process even though it has been heralded as the 2nd industrial revolution. His aim with his project which was supported by the Arts Council was to connect the old with the new. He worked with A2-Type who use polyjet printing which builds up layers of liquid photo polymer which is then cured by UV light. Together they created a ‘Wireframe’ font which was “contemporary, which was exactly what it needed to be.” The whole typeface family fitted with all of the traditional furniture and spacing and he showed images of the plastic typeface sitting in a type drawer which was a new sight for everyone. The posters that were printed using this typeface and fluoro inks were just incredible.
Just before we went to a break to top up our wine glasses, we had the incredible photographer and publisher Martin Usborne from Hoxton Mini Press tell us about his “niche and collectable books about East London.” He told us about the struggles of finding the capital to print with the UK and to make it a viable business. He told us that he wanted to keep the books affordable and all in the same format so they became a series. We really love the concept and the content of these wonderful books.
After the break Kin took to the stage to discuss how the new flexiblity within print helped them with a recent project. Kin design studio wanted to do something extra special with their clients Mini Boden. With the developments of digital indigo printing they made use of the technology that means you can print on demand – with individual, one of designs. What made Kin’s project special was the program they set up that meant through a simple online platform children and adults alike could design their very own unique Mini Boden catalogue. There was a range of imagery to play with that keep the style of results uniform but with the ability to play with scale, colour and layout, every design was unique. Each unique catalogue cover was then printed just once and personally sent to the young designers, and the project gained a fantastic response.
The evening concluded by a panel discussion about the future of print. There was a general agreement that the future of print isn’t dead, but actually thriving and particularly in bespoke design. A growth that has been noticed by printers is their clients wanting a more bespoke finish; experimentation with materials, finishes and binding techniques. Whereas printing used to be about quantity and less on quality, this trend appears to have been reversed. Calverts printers also noticed this change and commented how they now have a much wider range of clients from students to small first time publishers, and now run a range of printing and book binding classes with great success.
The evening was great fun and definitely an insight into the developing world of print.