Thursday, May 27, 2010


Adding seasoning or a marinade to meat, fish or a vegetable is a great way to tenderize it and add a little flavor. These coatings, add a characteristic to your food that you just can't achieve by cooking without them. Even a chef will add at the least a little salt and pepper to a filet! It's fair to say that coatings add complexity and enhance the overall taste, smell and visual presentation of a meal.

As a printer, we also look to achieve enhancements on print materials by adding varnishes and other coatings. Press coatings and varnishes improve the look of a printed piece by creating different textures and visual effects. They can change the look and feel of a brochure drastically and as with cooking, there are a number of coating possibilities to choose from depending on the artist's desired outcome.

There are a number of things to consider when choosing the right coating for your print project. While I recommend you work closely with your printer to see physical samples for the different types of coatings, I have listed a few things that will help you get a rough idea for the coating of your choice (there are many more types of coatings but these are the most common):

Aqueous Coating - water based coating that adds protection to a press sheet, helps dry the press sheet quickly and can add a variety of different finishes such as gloss, dull, matte, satin, pearlescent, and touch coatings.

Gloss Finish - varnish or aqueous coating that adds a high reflective, shiny appearance to the sheet.

Dull or Matte Finish - varnish or aqueous coating that reduces the sheen on a press sheet.

Satin Finish - varnish or aqueous coating that creates a smoother sheet and less shiny than a gloss finish but more shiny than a dull or matte finish.

Varnish - a liquid based coating that can be either gloss, satin or dull. Varnishes can also be tinted with a pigment for effects.

Pearlescent Finish - made from crushed mother-of-pearl particles, this coating adds a pearl like smooth finish.

Soft-touch Coating - an aqueous coating that adds different textures than a traditional finish (rubbery finish or leather-like feel).

UV (Ultraviolet) Coating - Clear liquid coating that dries with ultraviolet light leaving a high-gloss, satin or dull finish. A gloss UV Coat will give you the most shine but will also result in the most visible finger prints.

Textured and Sandpaper Finish - Coating that creates a rough texture and depth to an image area or creates a sandpaper type feel.

Scented Finish - Scents are within the coating and when applied and rubbed on the press sheet, a fragrance is released.

Flood Coating - process of applying any type of coating above to the entire press sheet or entire image area as one flat coating.

Spot Coating - process of applying any type of coating above to an isolated or designated area (ex - part of an image that you want to stand out) on a press sheet.

Now that you have an idea of some of the different types of coatings available in printing, I will share with you one of my favorite types of coatings (marinade) that I use on pork and chicken meals. Here is the recipe and check out the video above for detailed instructions on making this wonderful meal:

Garlic Dijon Basil Pork
- Mix together well olive oil, dijon, chopped garlic and basil together. Your the chef so you choose your recipe size! I add about 1-2 tablespoons of both oil and dijon, 3 cloves of garlic and about 1/2 teaspoon of dry basil (or 1 teaspoon of fresh basil).
- Line a baking dish with tin foil and place the pork in the dish.
- Salt and pepper pork and baste the mixture thoroughly on both sides.
- Let the pork sit at least 15-20 minutes to absorb the marinade (the longer it sits the better it tastes) and go ahead and pre-heat the oven to 450 while you wait.
- Cook about 12-15 minutes or until done to your desired level. I like to eat pork right around 150 but this is medium and may not be to your tastes.

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Art of Printing

Art, in its many forms, has a number of definitions and meanings. Often the result of a human's ability to produce work that evokes emotion and heightens our senses, art in all its beauty, is still in the eye of the beholder. Art is completely subjective which makes us appreciate it when it actually moves us.

One of the most famous cookbooks of all time is Mastering the Art of French Cooking (Julia Child, 1961). An appropriate title as french cooking and all cooking in general is a complete art form. There are subtleties and techniques to cooking and the required knowledge needed to perform and output great meals is art in all its forms.

While we can appreciate the art put into great cooking, we also have to accept that humans have their own unique tastes when it comes to what they eat. Just because a chef puts his heart and soul into a meal and uses all his or her talents to create a masterful representation of the recipe, it does not mean his customer will appreciate any bit of the result. Our senses are a curious thing and art will fall victim to this.

The art of printing certainly falls victim to individual human senses and perception of beauty. Aesthetic judgement by the printer is a delicate balance of perception, preference, skill and knowledge. The reproduction of color and design is art. While completely in the eye of the beholder, a printed piece can powerfully affect our senses.

When thinking of the art of printing, appreciate the skill and craftsmanship that goes into it. Ink on paper, a simple concept, creates subjective beauty. Printing is never perfect as that would suggest that we as humans are all the same. Printing reminds us that we are not the same as art should never aim to achieve the exact human response in all of us. The art of printing should only aim to be appreciated for what it is, something that influences each of our own, unique, individual human senses.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Why Do Print Projects Take So Long to Produce? Part 2: Knife Sharpening

When using knives in the kitchen, you are more likely to hurt yourself with a dull blade. This is because you're applying more pressure which causes you to be less stable with the knife. In addition to the safety benefit, a sharp blade will save you time by cutting the food faster. Also, it allows you to make equal and consistent cuts that ensures your food cooks evenly and looks more appetizing.

The kitchen isn't the only place you need a sharp blade. We cut printed materials in almost every stage of the print process. Cutting may look quick and easy but we spend just as much time maintaining, setting up and replacing sharp blades as we do actually putting them to action. Continual maintenance is what it takes to be a cut above the rest.