Desktop Publishing

This is Peter Chadwick of Popular and Jonny Holmes’ Desktop Publishing project. The project is really very simple – it’s a desk, and also a four colour printing press.

David Ryle’s photographs of the print process have been made into a run of newspapers, which have of course been printed lovingly in CMYK here at Newspaper Club, on our four colour press. We think the two processes work together rather pleasingly.

 

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Filed under: art, Newspaper Stories, printers, Uncategorized

Happy New Year

Calendar

We’re all back and ready to print after a nice big Christmas break.

And for the new year, we’ve designed and printed some lovely calendars.These are a big thankyou to anyone who’s printed with us over the past 12 months, and a hello to anyone who plans to print with us over the coming 12 months.

Calendar spreads

The calendar has some of our favourite papers in it from the last year, and a handy guide to colours and text size for your reference. So you can see how things look in print.

Calendar test pages

We have a limited number sitting in a pile in the office, if you’d like one, just drop us an email at support@newspaperclub.com with your address and we’ll pop one in the post to you!

Calendar - March

 

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Filed under: Newspaper Stories, printers, running a business, Uncategorized

Portraits by Tom Oldham

DSCF4110

This is Tom Oldham’s paper, featuring some big names in some very big photographs. Normally when we see this kind of thing coming in to the print queue I get a little panicked, because printing photographs to newsprint can be hard. But when it works, it looks AMAZING!

We asked him how he prepared his photos for printing, so we could pass on some advice to others attempting similar feats. He came back to us with this solid gold list of advice which is so right on I want to print and frame it:

DSCF4112

“- Though mentioned on the site, definitely up the contrast of your images and up blacks a little more than screen resolution.  Images in print may appear a tad flatter than anticipated, though I was aware of this and consider it in the edit. You can’t really test it so err on the side of caution.

– Don’t rush the edit. Consider it, then leave it and come back to it. It’ll change, evolve, develop.

– Use the space. The subtleties are lost in this format I think, so go big. It’s great to see your shots landing large on a DPS.

Improved newsprint is REALLY nice.

– The service is great at Newspaper Club so if in doubt, ask. They will always answer and are friendly too.

– Get it right, but don’t worry so much. This is newsprint, it’s not forever so go with your gut and enjoy a format that is very forgiving. People don’t expect perfection in a newspaper – excitement, strength, fun, enthusiasm and dynamism is strongly favoured.”

Thanks Tom!

DSCF4117

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Filed under: art, printers

The Blog Post In Which We Would Get Lots of Reblogs If This Was A Tumblr But It Isn’t So You’ll Just Have to Share It On Twitter Or Something

We went to visit one of our printers last week. For some of the team it was their first visit to one of the big, traditional presses, and I think everyone was suitably awed by the whole process.

We wandered around the presses a bit, while some of our papers rolled through, snapping photos and video, which we’ll be combining into a nice video to explain the whole process. Engineering Mike and I found ourselves somewhat hypnotised by motion and energy of it all, and almost synchronously turned to each other and said: “this will make some brilliant animated GIFs”:

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Filed under: printers

Design / Print advice

help

We often get asked for advice on designing a newspaper and what sort of quality you can expect when printing with us. We cover this in our help section but it is worth repeating every now and then.

If you have any questions not covered here, or if the stuff below sounds like gibberish, or you just get stuck you can email us support@newspaperclub.co.uk or you could come along to our School of Everything class on Thursday 10 March.

To get the best possible looking printed product you should always remember that you are designing artwork for a newspaper, not a magazine, glossy brochure or website.

Newspaper presses are industrial-scale machines designed to operate at very high speeds to allow publishers to produce and distribute large numbers of copies quickly and economically. They are not designed for perfect high-fidelity reproduction or to be able to match Pantones or exact colour mixes. You can achieve very good quality results with newspaper printing but only if you start the artwork design process with the print process in mind.

Two Halves by the Rebel Alliance

Below are some hints and tips which should help you to produce excellent results.

Text
Text works best if it’s black; colour can be used but it works best if only headings of font size 14 or above are in colour.

White text on coloured backgrounds should be used sparingly and only at font size 14 or above.

Small type (under 12pt, or 14pt if the font is a serif) should always be made up from only one of the inks. ie 100% cyan and not 50% cyan and 50% magenta to avoid registration issues.

Coloured text on coloured backgrounds should be avoided all together.

Blacks
Blacks should always be 100%K only, whether for text or solids; do not use ‘rich black’.

Colour
If you have large solid blocks of colour bear in mind the ink may rub off on facing pages (and your hands).

If you repeat a standard or corporate colour repeated on every page there will often be noticeable variation, as exact colour matching can’t be guaranteed.

Image quality
Images should be a minimum resolution of 150dpi.

Photographs work best when they have a clear, strong subject and a lighter background; dark or ‘moody’ pictures will reproduce less well. (We mean moody like a Morrissey album cover not moody as in stolen.)

Blank spaces
If you have a blank page or space opposite heavy pictures or text it is possible that there will be a noticeable ‘ghosting’ impression on the blank area. It is also possible that you will notice ‘show through’ from the other side of the paper.

Two Halves by the Rebel Alliance

Of course if you use ARTHR almost all of these issues can be avoided. We want to make it as easy as possible for you to produce a handsome looking newspaper. I hope these tips help.

Further Reading
Designing a black and white newspaper
Designing a colour newspaper
Our general help section

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Filed under: art, printers

Westward ho!

You might remember that back in the days of summer we started shipping internationally. This was, of course, our initial attempt to dominate the global market in helping people make their own newspapers. But whilst world domination remains on the ‘to do’ list, we’re pleased with how things have gone – it’s certainly done its bit in doubling our sales in the last four months.

Where are we delivering to? Well, the Nordic region has been a popular destination. I guess this may have a lot to do with quite a few people up there speaking English very well (often better than a lot of us), making our website easily understood. We’ve also delivered a disproportionate number of papers to Germany – but the reason why is mysterious.

We’re keen to do more internationally, especially as we’re not delivering as much as we’d like to the US (even though the delivery cost seems fairly reasonable). We’ve concluded that a better way to help more people over there make their own newspapers might be to partner with some US printers – we can then print locally and, like we do in the UK, absorb domestic delivery costs. We’d also then stir ourselves to bill in dollars.

We have a couple of interesting potential partners, but could do with adding some more candidates from around the country… which leads me to make a bit of a bleg: if anyone could recommend US newspaper printers we’d be very grateful. It’s been particularly difficult to find printers that can (or are willing) to produce newspapers digitally (i.e. in small runs that remain economic), so suggestions in this area would be even more gratefully received. Please email me at gareth[at]newspaperclub[dot]co[dot]uk.

It’s probably worth pointing out that just because we’re getting all excited about the US, it doesn’t mean we’re not also thinking about the rest of the world. We’re always interested to talk to people who have ideas about how we might work together in places we’re not, but should be…

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Filed under: developments, printers

Ipex 2010: Engineering Dept Report

Newspaper Club bridges two worlds – the web and the printing industries. We think we understand the web fairly well – that’s our background as a team. But printing is hard, and we need to understand printing technologies and logistics to the same degree if we’re going to build products and services that pay to both world’s strengths.

Ipex is the largest printing technology trade show in the English speaking world, and it’s on at the moment. So I decided to go.

I knew it was going to be big, but nothing quite prepares you for 11 halls of the Birmingham NEC. It’s absolutely huge.

13:42

That’s not surprising when you get inside. There are companies that must have relocated their entire industrial operations into the NEC for a week. Vast stands, with massive machines churning out demo print after demo print. Robot arms lifting parcel after parcel of newsprint. Conveyor belts with box after box going round and round. And it’s all shiny, clean and, dare I say, beautiful.

13:42

Technology trade shows are the same the worldwide. There are suited men wearing wrap-around microphones demoing hypnotising high-speed lamination machines. Huge bags of publicity materials to avoid. Branded 32MB USB sticks. Prize draws for obscure pieces of technology.

Win this machine

I came away slightly surprised that the technology is still marching towards printing more copies, faster and glossier. I guess that’s valid for certain section of the industry, but that’s not what we’re trying to do.

We’ve made it no secret that we’d like to be able to print one copy of a newspaper, on demand, shipped to you, preferably in colour. If we were called Glossy Magazine Club, we’d be there. But the thinner paper of newsprint is still an issue for many of the short-run machines.

That said, there are a handful of companies making strides, and at risk of breaching our strict “under promise, over deliver” policy, hopefully we’ll be there before too long.

And it made me more excited about Newspaper Club. At its simplest, we wrap all of these amazing technologies and systems in a friendly face; something that the printing industry finds hard to do. And printing is going from strength to strength – presses are still being bought, and they’re getting smaller, less polluting and more efficient.

Overall, despite leaving the NEC smelling of toner, it was a day well spent.

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Filed under: engineering, printers

Things Our Friends Sent Us For Printing

Last week we were in Austin, Texas to speak at SXSW Interactive. We also went to hear other talks, to meet up with friends and to investigate taking Newspaper Club to America.

We thought it would be a good idea to print a newspaper while we were there and seeing as our panel was at the end of the week we thought we would include content generated during the conference.

Things Our Friends Sent Us For Printing

Things Our Friends Sent Us For Printing

Things Our Friends Sent Us For Printing contained articles kindly written for us by Matt Jones, Bobbie Johnson, Clay Shirky, Warren Ellis, Dan Hill and James Bridle.

Things Our Friends Sent Us For Printing

Chris Heathcote made a Buzz Word Bingo for our panel, David McCandless sent us a beautiful infographic, we included some Noticings from the week and we added a Walking Paper for Austin.

Things Our Friends Sent Us For Printing

Things Our Friends Sent Us For Printing

But my favourite bit was the centre spread. Foursquare and SimpleGeo very kindly gave us some anonymous checkin data from which Michal from Stamen made this gorgeous map of foursquare checkins during the conference. If you checked in on Monday, this was in the centre spread on Tuesday afternoon.

Things Our Friends Sent Us For Printing

To make the newspaper we found this little nook inside the conference centre and set up a mini BRIG studio for two days.

BRIG, SXSW Edition

BRIG, SXSW Edition

The panel seemed to go really well and people seemed to like the newspaper which we handed out at the end.

For a blog post

For a blog post

For a blog post

Because our panel had Spime in the title, Bruce Sterling himself turned up. Luckily Twitter seemed to think he liked it.

For a blog post

One of the things we spoke about was analogue friction. Problems you encounter when making stuff in the real world as opposed to just on the web. We experienced this first hand as we neared the deadline for our newspaper just as Ev Williams started his keynote.

For a blog post

First they nicked Michal’s chair.

For a blog post

Then Engineering started to feel the pressure.

For a blog post

Then we tried to upload the files just as all the @ev’s brought the conference wifi to a halt. Eventually we had to go outside and upload via Michal’s MiFi.

Stamen / Newspaper Club upload race

We made it just in time.

Things Our Friends Sent Us For Printing

We had a great time. Thanks to everyone who helped with the paper and thanks to everyone who came along to the panel.

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Filed under: art, case studies, engineering, printers

Clackity, clackity, clack

One of the things we’ve had in the back of our minds whilst building the Newspaper Club site, is that we want to honour the traditions and aethetic of newspaper production and distribution, but without pastiching or somehow sucking up to it.

Some of our inspiration has come from visiting the printing presses, which have changed relatively little in the last couple of decades. (You can see some photos from our previous visits in Flickr.) But the news-gathering, design and layout process has changed hugely, and it’s a bit of shame that it’s something that we can’t experience first hand anymore.

But still, there are some lovely pieces of footage. A friend watched Absence of Malice the other day, a 1981 film by Sydney Pollack, starring Paul Newman. And whilst watching the opening sequence he thought of us.

Clackity ticker-tape machines! Teletypes! Nasty chemicals! Lots of beeping! If we can evoke just the smallest bit of this feeling, then I’ll be a happy man indeed.

Merry Christmas from the Engineering Dept!

Note to the Sales & Marketing Dept: site does not include repetitive beeping noises.

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Filed under: engineering, printers

A flip chat towards a flat plan

At last week’s status meeting I presented the flat-plan flip-chart to an attentive Newspaper Club, who had initially been pretty amused by the amount of elbow grease and felt tip pen that had gone into making it.

But it was a success. Having the entire process of making a newspaper, from uploading all of the elements to receiving an order, was actually a lot of use, and provided a nice breather before the closing stage of Alpha testing began.

It’s also hugely useful in constructing the guide. With a sideways glance I can start getting used to the scale of the pages and the space of the layouts, and flipping between sheets to check details and workflow seems the right way to work out how a newspaper comes together.

I’ll be stressing in the guide the importance – and pleasure – of printing a PDF preview of your newspaper. It gets you a little closer to the physical sensation of holding one, a huge benefit when thinking about layout and content. Plus it’s always better to mark mistakes with a big red pen before you’ve ordered 500 copies.

printing

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