I have always loved print shops but strangely never really attended a piece of my work being printed. So it was a great treat for me to nip along the A303 to Wincanton Press and watch a brochure start to run through the press.
Pulling up I was immediately greeted, welcomed and engaged in conversation with Ian the production director about my BMW R1200GS. He has the newer version, we both recognised that whilst it is a fantastic bike the truth is there are only a few bikes that men of a certain age are allowed to ride. Simon joined us sadly now without his lovely Aprilia but the keeper of a neat looking Greaves. Hey ho, time to get inside the building, there is a huge chunk of Heidleberg 75XL waiting to run some print. Once inside further discussions about the merits of the Honda SP2 (Castrol livery) with the staff in the estimating room, oh yes. Wincanton partner with Prodrive so I was expecting conversation to be more Aston Martin focussed but then I don’t actually own an Aston.
This was the tour, well equipped studio, lots of Macs, neat and tidy, then lovely Agfa computer to plate setup, tipping out plates quicker than an office photocopier, then the noise and smell of the print shop floor. Two generously sized Heidleberg 75XL presses with all that one might hope to find to finish the job in-house. And of course the little old Heidleberg Platen sat in the corner now cutting rather than printing.
My proofs were on the table, the Fedrigoni paper was loaded in the press and soon the first pass was through the various stations and out the back of the press waiting to be released from the cage. Good, looks nice, maybe a little more warmth? No problem we’ll dial in 10% more yellow. I could never be a printer though, there is no way I could carry such a huge stack of paper back to the other end of the press without dropping it. Actually I could’nt pick it up in the first place, paper is heavy.
I’ve said it before, there’s huge financial investment in print houses, this is a 24 hour establishment, this machinery needs to keep printing, day and night, night and day. And it is refreshing to witness a busy establishment but one that finds time to welcome customers on what is in truth a relatively small job. But the litho is only part of it, there is a full compliment of digi print facility in a shed down the road with some awesome ways to cut things out.
For now though I am happy that this job is in good hands, and as I sit here hours later I wonder if the sheets have been backed up yet. Somewhere there is a small palette with my job on it, amongst all the others.
The journey home was briefly a shared experience with someone else on a GS (adventure) before I pulled off to visit Annie’s cafe on the A303. It was on telly you know and in a book, you buy the book there, real paper, real ink.