The printing of Empire has been in the pipeline for a longtime – the project has been running since 2007, and since the first trip to Ascension Island I have been keen to see the work realised as a book, but it has really been the last 12 months that has cemented everything together to reach the printing stage.
In October 2013 I flew out to Verona, Italy with Dewi Lewis for a few educational days of being on press.
It has felt like a long drawn out process getting all the information together, choosing the final edit, scanning the files and writing the text, but having the deadline of a printing slot was good motivation. The images in this post are all from EBS, the printing house in Italy. For me it was a fascinating insight into how the process works; large sheets containing about four pages of the book are printed up on an enormous Heidelberg press, colours are checked and rectified if needed, and then re-printed to see if they are a closer match to the proofs. This process continues sheet by sheet until the entirety of the book is complete.
Once all the printing is finished, the sheets are loaded onto large pallets, ready to be transported to the binders. We then put time into finalising details for the front cover; analysing pantone colours and making choices for some of the finishing touches. I knew exactly how I wanted the cover to look, but it is amazing how many small decisions are involved that you wouldn’t have thought of. It’s a slightly bizarre anti-climax once the printing process is done – suddenly you can’t make any changes, there is no more editing to be done, you have a very close idea of how it will look but you still have to wait a few weeks to actually hold the finished result.