Print and be delighted!

  • GraphicDesign& with James Ward, Terence J McGaughey
  • 8 February 2014

Having asked 70 designers to lay out the first page of a novel, GraphicDesign& wanted the printing of Page 1: Great Expectations to be as authentic as possible. The choice of printer was obvious. Specialist book plant CPI-Mackays based in Chatham are running their web-offset presses 24 hours a day, seven days a week printing on average 90 million books every year. Movable only by fork lift truck, enormous rolls of paper quickly replenish the presses – the most up-to-date of which prints two books at any given time and doesn’t even stop for plate changes which are all handled automatically.

Widely used in paperback printing, the text pages of Page 1 were printed on Ensonovel 70/140, with the Timson web press that ran the job capable of printing 2,000 copies of a book in around 10 minutes. Designer James Ward captured the event on film. Once the make-ready was done, the continuous drone while the press was in full production was almost hypnotic, blending with the smells of dusty paper and ink to create a full sensory experience. As the different parts of the press twisted and turned, a series of beeps, clinks, rips and rustles produced a ready-folded book sections of printed pages, which were all too quickly on their way to be bound. Sound artist Terence J McGaughey created a complementary score for Ward’s film, driven by the sounds of the machinery. ‘Machinery and music become interchangeable’, observes McGaughey, ‘conflating the brute machinery with the delicacy of the paper and the act of creating something beautiful’.

  • video James Ward
  • sound Terence J McGaughey