Friday, December 2, 2011
A Trip to Where it All Comes Together
by Nick Belcher
During our last class on November 18th, the group took a trip to Spectrum Printing in East Petersburg. At the break for lunch, the class made the quick fifteen-minute trek north of Lancaster to the printer. Once we got there and walked in, the fine smell of ink and machinery filled everyone’s noses. It’s kinda like one of those smells that’s good, at least to me, but probably not so good for you (like gasoline!). The man who gave us the tour; the owner, I believe, welcomed us shortly after we got there and immediately started the tour. He showed us the process the company goes through in order to do a printing job. From looking at the ink dots through a magnifying glass to seeing the beautiful sheets that recently came off the press, all the students seemed fascinated with everything going on. He continued to show us around the place to where everything goes after it’s printed. In other rooms there were books being bound, and calendars being stapled, and brochures being folded. After that, he ended our tour with a question/answer and a merry farewell.
For me, I felt this field trip was really great for everyone in the class because we were able to see the process behind what happens to our work after it leaves our hands (or computer screens, for that matter). When designers are done with work, they normally just ship it out and only get to see the product when it’s all said and done. We were able to see everything in action and get a feeling for what happens on the other end of production. Printing is an art form in itself. Everything has to be done precisely; all the colors, all the lining up, and everything has to be as clear as the designer made it on their computer screen. It was reassuring to know that some printers also take great pride in how their products come out. If the product is not something the designer or client would be happy with, it gets pitched. I’ve always heard horror stories about how printers mess things up all the time, and while I still believe this is a fairly common occurrence (much more common than we would want, I’m sure), it’s nice to know that there are printers out there who really care. We just have to be wise in choosing them.
Besides the awesomeness of going to the printer, I also had the privilege to drive our dear professor, Sir Tom Bejgrowicz around for the day. After the shop, we hit up the oh-so-amazing Murder King for some burgers (veggie, of course!) and fries. We talked life, music, and the design industry. All in all, it was a great afternoon. Oh, and I totally made him listen to dubstep during the car ride!