Bedding Designs, (Ideally, a full size comforter printed on polyester satin, 80”x90”)
These experiments are part of a series of evolving patterns formed using the words: comfort, sleep, soft, dream, warm, relax, tranquil, rest, snooze, slumber, and morpheus (Greek god of dreams and sleep).
They started to look a bit like lace:
As it begins to evolve a little more, it is starting to get organic, but psychedelic qualities. By increasing the intricacy of the pattern, the legibility of the words start to dissolve into the background as combined, fragmented shapes. It also has a kaleidoscopic effect when you step further away from the screen.
Typography is explored as abstract shapes, unique in their own character and form. We typically recognize these shapes and symbols within the context of communication, particularly when they are combined in ordered, linear arrangements that serve as archetypes of our language system. By individually valuing each form as an abstract shape rather than as an alphabetic symbol, they can be re-arranged within new methodologies and applications. By observing dualities and recognizing personalities behind each letterform, various letters can be combined together to form a unique visual chemistry. An amalgamation of these characters are like the convergence of interpersonal relationships, which interact with one another in space to create a more unified whole.
A couple of a series of patterns that abstract the word “LIGHT” to apply on a lamp.
These are my recent typographic jewelry experiments. They are laser-cut and coated with metallic copper paint.
Yesterday was my last day as an intern at B. Creative Group and I spent the day with Kerry touring a printing company called GraphTec in Jessup, MD. The when we came back I got to share some sweet cinnamon-flavored cupcakes with cream cheese icing that I baked with the rest of the group. I learned a lot about the different processes involving different printing presses, and saw the intricate amount of hands-on work that they do to get designs printed just right. The printer we met, Rob, seemed to really enjoy his job because of the fast-paced excitement evoked from his voice while talking about the operations. I never knew about how much extra effort it takes to get work printed, particularly for hundreds of papers.
Before even printing, they have to spend a lot of time perfecting, touching up, preparing the design for print and separating all the colors out for the plates for offset printing. I got to look at some prints closely with a loop and noticed all these amazingly tiny dots that form together to create the images. I learned about the differences between traditional/conventional vs. stochastic printing, and how the dots in conventional line up together in varying sizes like rows, while the stochastic dots are usually more sporadically spaced out. When deciding between conventional or stochastic printing, usually conventional printing is typically good for a majority of prints, especially if its just producing large solid spaces of color, but if there are tiny photographs with intricate details that need clarity, stochastic printing is the way to go. It was also good to know the differences between process colors (CMYK) and Pantone (spot) colors, and how the inks get placed separately in these different fountains in large printers that roll the color on plates and then on a rubber which then gets printed on the paper. And it all happens so fast!
Then, there were these machines that could cut huge stacks of paper at once pretty cleanly, and then another machine that does all the scoring and folding so quickly. To prevent paper from cracking they score it a certain way by adding moisture to the paper to help it fold down smoothly.
If there were books getting printed, they had a machine for saddle-stitching the paper together too. Now I understand where the term saddle-stitching came from because of the way the paper sits over top the machine, saddling it, while it runs down the line to get “stapled” together. Though it’s not a staple, it’s actually a huge wire string that stitches the pages together like a staple.
Then, the most crazy thing to see was how they made the die-cuts and now I understand why that process takes forever because of the amount of hand-work the printers have to go through to create custom shapes for a particular design. They have to take these wooden boards and hand-create the outline of the die-cut design on there, by gluing and bending these strips of blades between pieces of rubber around it. It’s almost like a cookie cutter stuck on a piece of wood with pieces of rubber surrounding and supporting the blades. They basically create these custom die-cuts to press onto stacks of the paper. It’s crazy! I now understand how the printer must have gone through after I had to design key-shaped wedding invitations for a client earlier this summer. It was just… so complex.
With so many sheets of paper getting cut and printed, I wondered what happened to all the waste. Luckily they do collect all the excess paper and they just return it to the paper mill for recycling and reuse.
There’s so much more I learned about that I could keep writing on and on about it, but it’s good to an actual trip to see how it’s like. I’ll really miss working with all of them, and I feel like there’s still a lot of things I can learn from them but I just don’t really know where else to begin quite yet.
I wish our school had close access to awesome printers like these, but a lot of these printing projects at large presses seem expensive for a student on a budget. However, I really feel that several other students should get more tours like this before graduating. There is so much to learn from the printing world that we aren’t aware about while we are in school focusing on design techniques and concepts. Before getting sent away to tackle the real-world thinking we’d know it all, experiences like this are essential to making sure the designs we make can actually be implemented. We can’t assume that a design would actually turn out all right if the format is going to be impossible or extremely costly to print. I’ve learned that the hard way before even knowing about all the steps to take during pre-press, learning about forming relationships with good printers that you can communicate well with and be able to check for details in proofs.
Anyway, for all my fellow graphic design friends and classmates, here are some very useful lessons to know before graduating, with a downloadable quickie guide and video tour of a printing press created by my awesome colleagues at B. Creative Group: http://bcreativegroup.com/quickies