Last week, we went to Great Atlantic Graphics and took a tour, which covered the entire paper printing process. We met with our sales representative, Jessica Hussie, who guided us throughout the building and introduced us to many of her co-workers. Some of them took the time to explain to us what they do and how they do it.
The process begins with very detailed order packets that are specific to each and every job that comes through Great Atlantic’s doors. Every page of that packet provides information that is crucial for the people working on the individual project. Jess showed us the job board, where all of the current jobs are visible. They are listed in order of when it will be printed and what printer will be used for that job.
When we walked by, a bunch of guys were standing around the board rearranging the jobs and strategizing what should go where. Jess explained to us that people are constantly checking the board to make sure that the jobs are running smoothly and on time.
Then, Jess walked us through the pre-press area and we were able to see examples of proofs of different projects. The proofs are used to identify certain issues before sending the project to the final printing stage. It was really eye opening to see the time and attention put towards each individual job. They thoroughly inspect color accuracy before moving on to the next step, which in the design world we take very seriously.
Next on the agenda, was getting to witness the monster-sized printers in action. I have never seen such amazing pieces of technology in my life. These are the machines that push out the high quality and beautifully designed pieces that we create. Great Atlantic uses two different kinds of printers, digital and offset. There are reasons for using either type of printer.
The digital printer is more cost effective if you need a lower quantity of materials. Digital is also great when you want to have the ability to change something like a name or address for each individual document. An offset printer is more cost effective when you’re printing large quantities. It is the highest quality printing option and you have the ability to print on thicker stocks of paper.
At the end of the tour, we had the opportunity to see the assemblage and packaging of finished products. I have such an appreciation for the work that goes into making these printed pieces. Now, I have a deeper understanding of the entire process. I think this experience will help me as a designer. I am much more aware of what goes into creating a quality finished product and would strive to work with the detailed ethics of a company like Great Atlantic.
Sara Mizrachi is an intern at CWP Design Studio and is currently a senior at Moore College of Art & Design. After work, she likes to curl up on the couch with a glass of wine and binge watch the Food Network’s Chopped.