Stationery porn, centre-folds and getting laid

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Left to right: 90gsm with border, 90gsm borderless, 100gsm Conqueror laid, 120gsm premium text & graphics inkjet

After a short enforced hiatus whilst we moved house, I am back on the daffodil and printing again.

Further to my reconnection with print, and spurred on by Site Gallery’s exhibition & COPY in residence’s activities last summer, I have remixed some of my old work into printable leaflets to promote my forthcoming retrospective.

In the interests of DIY, I am doing it all myself, although I have got to admit to a slight hiccup in my usual “decide, commit, act” approach, and this was provoked, in the good way, by the touring exhibition from Coracle Press and the print/bookbinding workshops at Site Gallery.

I found it very easy to put together the first seven “Retrospective” leaflets, but printing them was another matter, and what stopped me in my tracks was doubt about the actual physical quality. I know it’s a bit of a contradiction to be extolling the virtues of DIY and using whatever is available but I came across two quality issues that I just could not ignore. One is bleed and the other paper stock.

Despite using generic 90 gsm A4 inkjet paper for many years, compared with the variety of far superior paper stock I saw in the exhibition, I just could not overcome the dissatisfaction with my own print. Inkjet suits me for a number of reasons but I wanted to get away from the poor paper and the non-printing border.

Screen shot 2013-01-07 at 14.30.03

Above is one of the “Retrospective” leaflets. The top-left thumbnail is the outer cover and the inside fold-out is one of 14 different designs. The leaflet is laid out for A4, to be folded twice to A6. There is an online-readable version on Issuu and a PDF can be downloaded here. Expect a paper version soon.

The solution to my dilemma was nowhere near as expensive as I had imagined, and I bought a Brother MFC-J6510DW all-in-one A3 duplex full-bleed inkjet for less than £150. I have only just set this printer up and done my first few tests. It’s not a photo printer but initial tests are very favourable. It really does print right up to the edge and that suits my layouts. Also, tests on Staples’ own-brand 120 gsm premium “text & graphics” paper is very good and that extra weight lifts the print from feeling like toilet paper. I also tried Conqueror 100 gsm brilliant white laid and this is excellent too, although slightly yellow compared with the ultra-smooth Staples paper.

I am still on the included set of cartridges and I bought some third-party lookalikes. I’ll post some estimates on running costs at some point, but my initial impression is very good and I am happy with the superior feel of the print.

I’ll publish more details about the printer as I use it more.

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