One Size Doesn’t Fit All:
The Business and Design of Print-Process
Tell us how this project came together?
The idea came from lots of little stimuli and influences I guess. In December 2009, we introduced a range of prints to Blanka by Austrian artist Albert Exergian called ‘Iconic TV’. He had come up with a series of prints [about 50 in total] based around great or iconic TV programmes. Out of a love of modernism, he had created minimalistic designs as his design solution to the project. Originally, Albert had wanted to make all the prints as screenprints and we immediately realised this would cost thousands of pounds to produce. The practical solution was to make them as archival giclee inkjet prints so we started selling them and they sold in huge numbers.
The other thing which is an influence, although I hate to admit it, is all the criticism and feedback on blogs about how we price our product.
I hadn’t expected them to do as well as they did and for the next few months they kept selling and selling. We were also getting lots of requests from customers who wanted them in A2. Normally with Blanka, we agree with the artist how a print should be made and how it should be sized and priced and we stick religiously to this so once it’s agreed, it’s set in stone.
The other thing which is an influence, although I hate to admit it, is all the criticism and feedback on blogs about how we price our product. I realised that, if I could scale the prints up + down, I could counter this criticism by making a smaller cheaper option and a larger more expensive option without compromising ourselves or the artists we work with.
I realised that I didnt actually care about any of these things as a collector, I just was buying into something I liked and wanted to put in a frame and take enjoyment from it.
The final piece in the jigsaw appeared when a student sent me an interview for his final thesis, which was based around editioned work. He asked me the simple question ‘how important is editioned work to you’. I found the question really difficult to answer because, as well as running Blanka which sells editioned printed work, you could also say I am a bit of a collector of modernist posters. These are posters; (which I would never part with or try to sell via blanka), they are just posters I have fallen in love with and enjoy looking at them on a daily basis. This is when the realisation hit that out the work that I had collected, none of it was editioned or at least not in the modern sense, as they were just made to whatever the designer or the client specified as the print run.
Did you ever consider adding this concept onto Blanka without creating a sister company?
Some of the work which has now moved over onto Print-Process was included in Blanka originally. The challenge was related to the way Blanka was created and structured which didn’t allow for the option of making the print scaleable.
02 | Mad Men by Albert Exergian
03 | Scrubs by Albert Exergian
04 | Charlie’s Angels by Albert Exergian
Naming a business is just as tricky as naming a band. Out of curiosity, how did you settle on the name Print-Process?
I just wrote down a long list of words that i liked which summed up what we planned to do. I then spent the next few days seeing if the domain name was available. After having no luck, I tore the list up and went through the process again. I knew that I wanted the company to end in .com and every single name was gone. One of the names on the list was print process [no hyphen]. I was really pleased when I found I could
02 | Return of the Jedi by Olly Moss
Will we ever get to hear: Olly Moss × Print-Process in the same sentence?
I recently tried to buy 3 of his Star Wars prints for myself but totally missed the launch date and they sold out in minutes so I was gutted as his design solution was amazing.
We would love to work with Olly. I emailed him about 2 years ago about some of his work i had seen on his flickr link, It was a straight forward email exchange where I said ‘nice’ and olly said ‘thanks’. And that was pretty much that. When PP started I had a lot of people say they wanted to see Olly’s work on the site and I agreed 100% that it would be perfect. His name was on my long list of people to chase up after we had launched anyway. I have emailed Olly to try and get him involved, but I am not having much luck. If anyone has got his mobile number or if Olly is reading this, we would love to work with him on something together and I think his work is great.
How did you firstly get involved in the project?
We’d done a lot of work with Blam on various projects (mainly for Blanka) and so he rang us up and asked if we would be interested in working on a new project, and it went from there. We liked the idea of the project, thought the business model an interesting one plus working with Blam is always ‘interesting’. As a ‘retired’ designer himself he has strong views on certain aspects and we clashed a couple of times during this process, but that’s normal with Blam : )
What informed your visual approach to the identity?
I’d been walking to the pub one evening and decided to take a different route and came across this garage with two car number-plates stating ‘NO’ & ‘PARKING’ and was really taken by it. I loved the DIY aesthetic, and thought it would really suit this new project that Blam was talking about. I thought the idea of someone, a non-designer, using materials not usually associated with signage a refreshing approach. I liked the fact that it’s a bit random, a bit odd, but it works. Print-Process is all about democracy, giving people options, not being so rigid, and this is what we applied to the thinking behind the identity.
What was the starting point in the creation of the Print-Process ID?
Since the project is based on showing other peoples work off we approached the project mainly from a typographical viewpoint so as not to clash with any imagery. We also took a big lead from the business model itself ‘Any print at A1, A2 or A0′ in that we used three different type sizes. The launch posters for instance have a 3 sized layer aesthetic, with one of the two actually cropped down to reinforce the sizing options. So basically we looked at the business model and took cues directly from that. Kept it nice and simple, bold
02 | Walthamstow Garage
03 | Print-Process Acid Green
04 | Print-Process Black
05 | Launch Poster A
The printed materials were broken down to Letterhead/Document sheet, business card, printed tape and custom mailer. The letterhead is double-sided, one side layed-out for the customers order (order details/weight/care instructions/returns policy/total spend etc.), the other for normal correspondence. Templates were produced for both sides, and the orders were then printed onto the letterhead and placed in a clear adhesive bag attached to the mailing tube.
We redrew a tweaked version of the UK car numberplate font (that we had seen on the garage door) and everything identity wise is based from that. The logo came directly from the typeface, two uppercase ‘PP’, this again came from the desire to strip back any unnecessary extra detail. We liked the notion of using the numberplate font as the main focus in the same spirit as the person who used it for signage on his garage. Using something that is intended for a different purpose (like the font) and using it in a different way is intriguing to us as designers.
Democracy on your Desktop
As a salute to all that Print-Process stands for – freedom and democracy in print – we have decided to do the unthinkable and offer 6 desktop wallpapers for you to download, conveniently sized to fit handsomely on most desktops.
The topmost three are a microcosm of the PP identity, designed by Build and customized for the screen by Blam. The last three are a collection of illustrations depicting three UK motorway junctions [North, Midlands, South] and were graciously designed and provided by Melissa Price.
These wallpapers are free to download and use on your desktop and for your personal use. We ask that you respect the copyright of these works as you would respect the belongings and/or work of anyone.
I’d like to sincerely thank Blam, Michael and Melissa for all their contributions and efforts in making this feature a reality. I hope I’ve done it justice ;)
Edited by SI
Design by SI
Words & Images by MB, MCP, MP
Photography by Build
Copyright © 2011 SeptemberIndustry. Images and artwork in this feature are trademarks of and/or copyrighted by their respective owners.
This post is tagged Build, Identity, Melissa Price, Olly Moss, Packaging, Posters, Print, Print-Process, Stationery, Typography