I spent a weekend recently at Hemlock Printers in Vancouver, B.C. participating in the press check for our book, Face to Face: Children of the AIDS Crisis in Africa. It’s hard to describe the satisfaction and joy as I watched the photos and stories that represent seven years of work come off those presses.
Hemlock printed our book on 6-color, 8-color and 10-color Heidelberg presses, some of the highest quality presses made. The detail they bring out in the photos is phenomenal. I felt from the beginning that I wanted the children and families in this book to have their story told as beautifully and engagingly as possible. They deserve no less, and that’s exactly what they got. I couldn’t be happier.
Our press check worked like this: Designer Doug da Silva compared the digital proofs we signed off on in San Francisco to the freshly printed sheets from the presses at Hemlock. He examined those sheets for color accuracy, richness of blacks, color balance and registration, among other things. He asked for needed changes and when the sheets were printed to his satisfaction we signed off on them.
After each approval, they printed 2,000 sheets. The 8-color and 10-color presses were perfector presses, which means they are able to print both sides of the sheet at the same time. This is a very efficient process. We had a two-hour break while they did the printing and readied the next sheet for our examination. The pressmen were very knowledgeable and responsive to our requests—so accurate that we really made very few adjustments to their work, particularly toward the end of the weekend.
We signed off on 5 sheets and the cover on the first day and finished the last three the following day. Each of those sheets will be cut up into 16 page signatures and sewn at the bindery. Eight signatures plus the cover will be bound into our 128-page book.
I realized a few things. It takes a village to produce a book like this and I’m grateful to writer Ruthann Richter; Doug da Silva and Annemarie Clark of the Clark Creative Group in San Francisco; Frits Kouwenhoven, managing partner of Hemlock Printers, and their talented staff and pressmen, particularly Gerry and Chris.
Now—to the bindery for the finishing touches and then, hopefully, to you!