So this week, a group of my favourite designers came together for the first instalment of Designers On Tour. The plan is to try and come together every month to visit an exciting and different printer, publisher or any other exciting design or art venue.
For our first adventure we called on Lachlan Finch, the owner and director of Rawson Graphics, rawsongraphics.com.au, in Ryde. He gave the five of us a private and inspiring tour of his entire factory. At first, we sat together in Lachlan's boardroom and simply discussed the difference between digital and offset print. The table held over a dozen samples, we were told only 2 samples were printed in digital... and only 1 out of 5 of us picked the right ones. The quality of digital print has escalated greatly with recent technologies, producing astonishing results very similar to the more expensive option of offset print. The only restrictions that digital press really are the size of the paper sheet and the quantity of the print run.
In comparison to the small, compact scale of the digital print room, the offset printer and the room that held them, was astonishing. The size of the machinery, the scale of the process... I have never fully understood the printing process for the magazines that I design every day. Being able to see the rollers turn, to see the thick sticky ink being spun over the most beautiful smooth cylinders... it might have been the fumes but it all gave me such a buzz!
Did you know that when the pages come through the offset printer, the ink is still tacky. To prevent pages sticking together and to give the ink time to dry, each page is sprayed in a talcum powder-like substance that coats the pages, allowing thousands of sheets to be stacked on top of one another so they have time to dry overnight before the pages are collated to form the finished job.
Opposite the stunning offset printer, there are two beautiful Heidelberg press' and walls covered in client-labelled hand-made knives used to cut, or simply press the folds into paper. Spectacular in their own right, the machine's are unfortunately not used for their original purpose, but are lovingly serviced and looked after by the long-standing members of the Rawson Graphics team.
Thank you so very much to Lachlan, who gave us a night to remember!
To get in touch with Rawson Graphics, visit their website rawsongraphics.com.au, send Lachlan an email firstname.lastname@example.org or just pick up that mobular device of yours and give him a tinkle on +61 2 8873 2500.