03 April 2010

Print and bookcloth reference

I made a bit of an impulse purchase at Ratchford. Faced with rolls and rolls of bookcloth, I found myself saying "red" when asked what colour I was looking for. Then confronted with a pile of different reds, I ended up - in a state of confusion - opting for a two tone product that is a red woven thread across a blue background (above).

I had expected Ratchford to be a shop where I could just browse and agonise over materials for ages but it's predominantly a wholesale company. So when someone was taking time out from dealing with a massive order to assist with a poxy metre of book cloth and a few other sundries, it made sense to be that bit more decisive. So this snap decision has suddenly informed the colourway for the finished product. (The red, by the way, was to keep it working within the British Library's brand guidelines.)

This is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact it has just focussed what I'm doing with the print aspect as I have something definite for it to work alongside. So I've subsequently developed a treatment for the photography that I believe compliments the hue of the cover.

Also I was re-reading my undergraduate dissertation the other day [not for fun - just because there are parts of it that are relevant to my PhD application] and I had interviewed the boss of Azuli Records about how they approached the design for the label when it first launched. Despite being based in London, Azuli capitalized on what was then a demand for American releases by faking their origins and positioning itself as a New York label. The tracks were even shrinkwrapped and had a Stateside telephone number on them. Anyway, they were saying that a problem with the early logo design was that the US labels used old printing presses for the details on the records. Over here in the UK - where the records were manufactured - the print was of a superior quality. To combat this slick printing, they did some photocopies of the original logo to rough it up a little before handing this more ragged artwork to the printer. The suddenly more lo-fi interpretation suddenly had the authenticity required to be able to charge a couple of quid more for a record assumed to be an import.

This inspired me to see what would happen if I was to try out a similar approach with the photos: so that they were printed and re-scanned so they lose some of their sheen. The reason for this was to try and capture some of the qualities of the print that had first caught my attention when looking at vintage paperbacks. I had toyed with the idea of carrying out some traditional printing techniques but - as Amy discovered with last semester's project and Dave has found out through his current work - more contemporary processes can be much more convenient. So the above is an attempt to put some of the graininess into the print without resorting to derivative Photoshop filters. They have also been printed on cream coloured paper just to knock back the tones that bit further (while also relating to the kind of cheap buff stock that is used in paperbacks). I'm also suggesting that these re-scanned versions then be printed on quality white stock just to give some contrast between the imagery - that will then have some sort of heritage feel - and some crisp typographic elements. I also tried out the same re-printed method out with the logo (below)

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