Wednesday, May 27, 2009

operation press check!

At b&w, we design and create custom, one-of-a-kind wedding stationery. They are usually requested by brides & grooms who've planned a cohesive event down to their paper goods, and by those who make it a priority to create a wonderful first impression of things to come. The process from meeting the couple to receiving the invite in the mail is a meticulous one -- it takes almost 5 months to nail a custom invitation job. We pretty much start out with a blank canvas, actually, just ideas. I wanted to share what it's like to peep the printing process and me doing a press check at an actual press -- YES, our invitations are printed at a professional print house like this one.

Photo above: a 6-color commercial press (this thing is HUGE!); wedding invitations that are printed offset are usually done with a 40-inch press

Photo above: two rolls of paper..yes, paper (they were almost as tall as me)

Photo above: Stacks of printed sheets of my project

I've been doing professional graphic design for 8 years now, and continue to do freelance corporate work for a variety of clients, large and small. Keeps me in tune with the industry and allows me to expand my creativity. I'm on a press check (when I go on-site a printer's facility to check the colors, layout, and all the bells and whistles, before the pressmen print 100s of thousands of them!) to oversee two food packaging sleeves that are in your local grocery store. This is very similar to a wedding invitation job. The difference is that the printer used for wedding invites is much smaller and the quantities printed are much less. Nonetheless, it's an important part of the printing process, and one that you'll only get with b&w.

Photo above: The pressman is about to run the second sleeve. He's using a color indicator to check the colors on the sample sheet. If they are too saturated, he'll adjust the 6-color press and reprint until the colors are to my liking.

Photo above: Job running through a UV coating machine. This is what adds the gloss and additional protection.

Photo above: Job about to run through a die cutting machine. This is where the food package will get its shape.

For a wedding job, a similar process takes place. Paper comes to me in huge sizes. I usually hand deliver the specialty paper to my printer, where they will cut it down or have custom die cuts trim the paper. They deliver all the pieces to me shrink wrapped and in boxes. The next step is assembling..and that's a totally different story.

1 comment:

  1. This place is amazing! It's like the Food Channel's "Unwrapped", for the printing world!