POD (Print on Demand)

Print on demand was developed after the beginning of digital printing because it was not economical to print single copies using traditional printing technology such as letterpress and offset printing. Therefore, POD is a printing process that allows for the production of single copies of a book, as and when an order has been received, allowing for short print runs, low production costs and immediate responses to an audience.

During this uncertain time, POD is an ideal medium to get your work printed and out there. I will show two projects, which explored and challenged the possibilities of POD, both have been produced in the timeframe between 2008 and 2012, which feels like a long time ago but given the circumstances the work still feels relevant and up to date.

You might argue that a POD publication is poor in its physical quality, but if you allow it to be like Johanna Drucker states in her The Century of Artists’ Books, a “self-conscious record of its own production” you are giving it the freedom of being what it is. A book printed without you having influence in its production.

Image of books: Variable Format
Variable Format, 2012

Variable Format is a sample book, a model, a serial system that explores the technological margins of print on demand and how reading is informed by the materiality of the book object. Examining the quality of print reproduction, paper, binding, cover and size, the book has been produced in twelve formats using different options of print on demand. Conceived by Lynn Harris, published by AND and designed by Åbäke with Pierre Pautler. Materials collected from the now closed library of the Byam Shaw School of Art form the content of a publication that is spread through twelve POD platforms. Instead of being resized to fit the various formats, a single layout is cut, so each printed artefact acts as a unique “framing” of the same source

Open spread of the book: Dear Lulu and it's cover
Dear Lulu, 2008

Dear Lulu is a test book which was researched and produced by graphic design students at Hochschule Darmstadt, Germany, during an intensive two-day workshop with London-based designer James Goggin (Practise). The book’s intention is to act as a calibration document for testing colour, pattern, format, texture and typography. Exercises in colour profiling, halftoning, point size, line, geometry, skin tone, colour texture, cropping and print finishing provide useful data for other designers and self-publishers to judge the possibilities and quality of online print-on-demand — specifically Lulu.com, with this edition. The project was afterwards extended to other platforms, such as Blurb and MagCloud.

A book can also be presented as a video trailer, as a single line of text, a performance documented, an essay, a series of stills, or as a downloadable pdf file. The book exists in physical form and in conceptual form. It travels further and quicker as an idea than as an object. Source: ABC

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