stuff for designers

Cover Story: Ligature Journal Issue 8

The story of the cover for Ligature Journal issue eight is tells of our most playful cover design to date. In the world of magazine design so much occurs on a computer screen before it translates into print. For this cover only a tiny amount was conceived in a computer, the bit that links this issue with the previous one, a single scanned image. It means that, aside from a few sketches the design was conceived and executed on the press bed. For a team largely unfamiliar with letterpress printing (and I wouldn’t consider myself an expert by any means either) it was a huge experiment and the risk of failure was high. The design brings together unusual materials, in the form of the stock a material more commonly used for low end packaging (pizza boxes for example) together with printing a two colour blend using a machine that is really not designed for this purpose and opaque white ink with is some of the most difficult ink to print with (it has a huge amount of pigment and is also very slow to dry). To make the impressions we combined linocuts and old, worn wood type, both bringing their unique quirks and problems to the mix.

TL;DR – #play #experiment #riskoffailure #pizzaboxboard #morsecode #linocut #twocolourblend #opaquewhiteink #letterpress

The outer cover is effectively a three colour print created in two passes through the press. First we printed a yellow/red blend with art created from strips of lino. Then the second pass was the troublesome opaque white ink with art from wood type, again, and metal type (10pt Bodoni and 14pt Univers). And our barcode is a magnesium block.

The inside covers were a single pass one colour print using wood type and a linocut.We never want to make our covers obvious, so things like the issue number and theme are hidden within the design (as well as appearing on the spine). But here’s a hint; we enlisted the help of Mr Morse. Can you find them?

We experimented, took the risk but I believe we didn’t fail. Get your own copy of Ligature Journal Issue Eight—the whole thing not just the cover, after all the story of the cover of issue eight is only part of the magazine.