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As the famous British poet John Keats once said “Nothing ever becomes real ‘till it is experienced”, and it was in the last few days leading up to Christmas that I was fortunate enough to be invited to visit one of our clients, who had kindly offered to show me around and give me an insight into the real work that goes on in a busy print house.
The client in question specialises in digitally printed graphic solutions and covers sectors including retail, exhibitions, events, museums and leisure amongst others, producing work for high profile and globally recognised brands. So you can imagine my excitement at the thought of not only seeing first hand how it all happens, but seeing actual products produced for customers in sectors that I could easily identify with.
After a warm welcome by all, the tour proceeded and I was delighted to be able to learn more about the client, their business, the type of work they produce and to see the machines at work. It was the first time that I had seen the printing materials, machines and the processes involved and consequently my host was fielding a barrage of questions! A particular point of interest for me was seeing the different types of media and hearing examples of their usage, especially a certain type of media used for glass or window graphics that enables the non-printed areas to appear invisible once applied.
However, the highlight of the day was seeing some remnants of a recent project for a global brand, a building covering that was printed to appear like polished stone, but that was actually printed onto a glossy media and then wrapped around durable lightweight boards suitable for outdoor use. The project was impressive, both in terms of the sheer size of the task and the two week turnaround, with many of the team working through the night to deliver on time. I was regaled by the team with tales of fitting the boards in the dark whilst four metres up, trying to steer the enquiring (and in the lead-up to Christmas, somewhat inebriated) public away in order to complete before nightly work permits came to an end. The finished product looked fantastic, an expensive adornment of cream marble to the naked eye, but on closer inspection a printed, high quality product that was practical and both more cost and environmentally efficient.
A few farewells and a bacon sandwich later, I was on my way back to the office to share the excitement and experiences of the day. John Keats, I applaud your saying, because although print is one of the most important industries out there, it wasn’t until I was able to experience first hand the way in which a working print house can fully function and had the opportunity to get to know the machines that I could further appreciate what a fantastic, interesting and evolving industry that print really is.