Stu's Critical Printing Blog

by Wolfman

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Print is what I am and what I do. I teach on the Art & Design Foundation course at York College, where I look after the Visual Communication specialist area. My personal interest is in anything printed but type in particular. I make works which are printed and have a healthy obsession for beautiful and innovative printing, commercial or otherwise. I also like photography which is printed on lovely papers and surfaces.

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Polaroid PoGo

This little thing is the Polaroid PoGo. It prints photos from digital cameras and phones using Polaroid's patented Zink (zero ink) technology where crystalised dyes are imbedded into the paper. These are activated by heat in the printer head. The prints are 76 x 50mm and have a peel off backing so can be stuck into sketchbooks or on to any surfaces near by. It is blue tooth compatible so a lap top can be linked to it too and it has a USB 2 port on it for PictBridge cameras. It is very exciting to use. A print takes about fifteen seconds to emerge and it takes up to about 30 seconds for the data to transfer. The paper comes in little packets of ten and the prints themselves have a Polaroid quality to them, a lilac bloom and a slightly blurred look but that is its attraction. It is brilliant because it is just so much fun to use. The down side is that the charger is twice the size of the PoGo itself but this is not too much of a problem. The posted photos are mostly taken with a Leica D-Lux 3 apart from two with a the (very basic) Nokia 2630.
3rd Apr 2009, 21:37   | tags:comments (3)

An Atlas of Typeforms

Found in Chevin Books in Otley, this is a fascinating catalogue of type families which demonstrates how they evolved from early types such as Garamond, Caslon and cursive medieval manuscripts. It is not in brilliant condition but must have complimented the type catalogues on a print managers office bookshelf for thirty years or more. The samples are printed letterpress and the enlargements are half tones which is lovely as they have tiny tonal variations round the edges where the grain of the paper they were originally printed on has broken them up. One of the photos shows the fold out section at the back which gives examples of the main examples of type faces in paragraphs.
The book was published in 1968 by Percy Lund Humphries & Co Ltd. and designed by James Sutton and Alan Bartram. Helvetica is listed as Haas Helvetica denoting that its use was still licensed by its birth place foundry at that time. What a find.
30th Mar 2009, 21:33   | tags:comments (2)

Ink Tins and Rollers

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The ink looks very tasty but should not be eaten. Use the rollers.
25th Mar 2009, 21:19   | tags:comments (2)

Image by Ivan Chermayeff - Baseline 56

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The typographic quarterly Baseline contains surprising and sometimes unusual articles and images about type, books and printed media. At £12 a go it is a good job it is a quarterly, what with all the other lovely graphic design magazines in Borders. So it is not a throw away purchase. It is like a book to be treasured and collected. It usually comes shrink wrapped and when opened the evocative smell of printing ink wafts through the olfactory senses. Lovely.
25th Mar 2009, 20:52   | tags:comments (0)

The Wolf by Joseph Smith - Jonathan Cape 2008

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The wolf is in the verge of starvation and desperation puts him in to contact with man. The fox offers a way out, a meal and a way to survive the winter but the wolf cannot afford to trust him. This wonderful little volume is more powerful than it looks. The relationship between John Spencer's beautiful wood cuts and a jaw dropping narrative is profound and moving. Joseph Smith may not want to be compared to Jack London but there are similarities. The raw, elemental forces, instincts, motivations which drive the story forward are so reminiscent of London's famous tales. This is a very good thing. Spell binding.
25th Mar 2009, 20:46   | tags:comments (1)

The Elfin Knight

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This is the other book in the pair. The idea is that they can be sent through the post without an envelope by sealing one end with sealing wax. They are folded prints in reality but read like books and are sewn into their covers. Each has a short printed narrative and an embossed image.
22nd Mar 2009, 22:31   comments (0)

The Efficiency of Dynamos

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This is one of a pair of books. It is screen printed, has a photo etching as the illustration, is printed on Somerset Soft White stock and hand bound with linen thread.
22nd Mar 2009, 22:24   comments (0)


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These are a big part of what its all about. Sometimes called silk screens they are actually polyester mesh which is coloured yellow so that it is less reflective than raw white fibres. This is essential for photographic stencil making. Screen printing at its most simple is a stenciling process.
22nd Mar 2009, 22:00   comments (1)
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