A Visit to Kirkwood Printing —MAV

After I finished college I remember the question I got the most: ‘So, what are you going to do with a fine art degree?’ My standard answer was, ‘Um, I guess I’d like to design books.’ At that time I sort of remember thinking that would never happen but I figured I’d just put out into the universe anyway in hopes that perhaps I would stumble into it. Well, I did. My second job out of college was at a small university press doing just what I said I hoped to do — art direct and design book covers and interiors. In so many ways I was in heaven and I felt very lucky.

Jump to today and many jobs/clients later I find I have always kept a finger in designing either books or catalogs. To that end I have been on many press checks (for those who don’t know a press check is when you go to the printer and actually check the color/details of the pages of your book/catalog while they are being taken off the press in real time) and worked with many printers. This week I had another incredible opportunity to do just that once again but this time it was for our own book! I think I will always look back on Tuesday, press check day, as one of my favorite days ever. Let me tell you a little bit about it …

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When Stephanie and I decided to put this book out ourselves, with the support of Other Books, we decided we would take time to choose every last thing about it. We talked over sizes, page counts, paper type, cover options. Everything. We also talked at length about printers. It was important to us to print the book in the US and it was important to find a spot that was a good fit for us (meaning someone who would take on our tiny little project as if it was really meaningful); we did just that in Kirkwood Printing.

Above: Some of the sections which I saw first. What made me so happy was how rich and dark the colors are turning out to be. I was worried that the book would be too dark but it’s not at all. And don’t miss in the middle image (upper right) you get a sneak peek of something we’re very proud of: our 3191 timeline. It’s beautiful!

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Kirkwood is made up of about 120 employees total (so they are a small- to mid-sized printer in the grand scheme of things) and I can tell you first-hand, they care deeply about printing; it was infectious. (On a side-note: for all of you who email me asking me for printer recommendations, Kirkwood is my top choice for sure.) Each and every person I met and worked with was proud of their work and felt genuinely interested in our small project. When I arrived Robert Brown, our fantastic rep, took me on a full tour which I absolutely adored. I saw everything from where our files were prepared to where the film was made to the 4-color press which had our book pages on it at that very moment! And the entire press check for the book went so well. The images were coming out just as I had imagined and overall everything looked perfect. I think some of that also had to do with the paper we chose for the book—Mohawk Superfine. Paper may not matter to some but to me it’s a very big deal; I take paper very seriously. I believe that if you take the time to choose good paper your images will look so much better! I’ve been a fan of the Mohawk line for years (and in fact use it in my Card Society work) and I am just so pleased and proud that we chose their paper for 3191: Evenings.

I just love that we have had a hand in every single small detail of our book and we think that will show in the end (we hope you see it too!).

Above: This was so amazing. I got to see all of the plates (CMYK) from one part of our book and then see the pages that printed from those plates. They were so pretty!

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And now let’s get to it—what does all this really mean? Well it means that we are getting closer to having our book out in the world and we are therefore getting closer to closing down pre-orders. I want to take this last moment to give you the details …

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Stephanie and I have really enjoyed sharing this process with you; it means a lot to us. Thank YOU and a big thanks to Kirkwood Printing and Mohawk. Go team 3191!