Creative Tablet’s Good Old Days of Design – Part 3

Creative Tablet’s Good Old Days of Design – Part 3

I forgot about the Stat machine. A room sized version of a copier. It ran horizontally on rails and was literally the size of a room. The film plane was vertical and the film was held flat by a vacuum. Lots of complicated printed tables to work out magnification and exposure compensation. It took a while to learn, but made the work at that time much easier. However, it was smelly due to the actual chemicals used to process the film. Yes…actual chemicals, but no warnings that I remember. Today it would be wear a mask and get out quickly. I remember making copies of photos for layouts that took time to calculate the dimensions.

agfa repromasterAn Agfa Repromaster Stat machine.

So…we left off at the project going to the printer. Hopefully there will be no issues at the printer, but we will have to check the proof (blueprint) that shows how it will look when printed. This way you can be sure everything is in the right place (hopefully it was done already) before the actual print run.

Heidelberg printing pressOne of the printing presses used and probably still in use.

Sure there were times when a typo was found or a color came into question, but not everyone is perfect are they? Hmmm not sure about that.

Now we have to look it over carefully for any imperfections. Yes…imperfections in the print plate are called hickies. OK, don’t start thinking about someone you made out with and left marks on their neck. This is completely different, but understandable.

Anyway, these “hickies” are bits of dirt and dust that are caused by dirty plates of paper fibers that can cause a white (printing ink can’t penetrate) mark that can look bad on a solid color surface. So, you really needed to check carefully.

Imagine a printed project that has spots on it…the client would sure be yelling and so would the boss. I learned that quickly during one of my first print projects.

Now you look to confirm colors and positioning of images and 4-color set-ups. The best thing to do was to re-check proof using a loupe or magnifying glass because some marks were small, but could show up larger on the final pint.

offsetprintingThis is how the printing operation works

Yes, it was a pain-in-the-ass process but necessary for a great results. Once you looked it over you would get a printed proof to be sure everything was as it should be and of course, the printer in charge of the project would always give you a helping hand if needed.

Once approved and signed off the printer would complete and deliver the finished project.

I know there are a lot of things I forgot to add in the previous posts, but one day I will make a list of all the supplies and tools and post it.

Let me know if you had any contact with these items in your graphic design career. Would love to find someone who actually used them.

The Creative Tablet

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