I've been working with Dale at Hearn Brothers Printing in Spokane for many years. His printshop has printed much of the materials for The Farm Chicks Antiques Show. This year, the printshop has been busy printing the show posters and postcard flyers. I thought you might enjoy seeing how they are made.
Before we begin the process, I always meet with Dale to go over paper options for my project. For these posters, I had one sort of paper in mind, but after consulting with Dale, I was convinced I needed to head in a different direction to make sure we ended up with the best possible poster. Once the paper is selected, the process of my materials being printed begins.
It all starts with the art file. The file is opened up and analyzed. Here is the postcard art shown on the left and then super-magnified on the right for color analysis.
Once the file is ready to go, it's sent to this piece of equipment to make the film.
Once the film is produced, it's analyzed to check that everything looks correct. The film is then placed on the machine that produces the printing plates, secured via notches in the film.
and the machine cover is closed. The platemaking process begins.
Four plates are made, as there are four colors in the posters and postcards. The plates are then taken to the printing area and placed into the printing machine. Since the posters and postcards have only four colors, only four of the six printing chambers are used.
Scrap paper from previous print jobs is taken from the shelf and placed into the feeder on the print machine for a test run.
Standing on the platform of the print machine, and looking down into the chambers, you can see the posters run through black:
Yellow (seen below), Magenta, and Cyan.
And out they come, on the other end.
The test posters are then very carefully analyzed to make sure the colors are exactly correct.
This magnifier is used to check the colors.
This is what it looks like through the magnification lens:
Million of dots, completely unseen to the naked eye. These little dots are what make up the image that you see. Amazing, isn't it?
Tiny adjustments are made and testers are run through a couple of more times until it's just right. Then, they're ready to print the posters. Fresh paper is brought out and taken to the cutting machine to cut down to the correct size for this project.
Then it's back to the feeder with the fresh-cut paper and the process is started once again, this time with the final version.
Next, the posters are taken back to the cutter and are trimmed to size. Then the process starts all over for the postcards.
Hearn Brothers Printing is located in Spokane, Washington. You can reach them by phone at 509-327-6308.
P.S. I'm having a little Pop Up Poster Release Party in Spokane this Friday. I'd love for you to pop in for some flyers and I'll treat you to a cupcake! You can find all the details here.