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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Making a book: Blueprints, proofs and dummies

An update on my book.

After more than a year's hard work, we are nearly at production stage. I finished the final edits over the week, and packaged the entire contents to the printers. The layout work is done with Adobe InDesign, and the files outputed as high resolution pdf.

The process next is for the printers to produce 3 documents for checking:

1. The Dummy. Which is a blank book, made to the exact specifications, using the specified papers. This dummy will give the publisher (that's me), the author (me too), the editor (Timmy Tan) and the designer (Livi) a feel of how the final book will look and feel like. The dummy will show the bulk, paper type and binding style. The dummy's spine can also be measured to provide the designer the spine width to allow for the jacket.

The dummy is a whopping 2.6kg! And this is the regular edition. We estimate the Deluxe version will tip the scales at 3.5kg.

Measuring 1.2 inches thick (approximately 3cm). The final count is 240 pages.

We estimate the Deluxe version will be about 1.8 inches thick.

Here is Timmy, with the book. I think its just the right size, albeit heavy.

The dummy comprises of all the pages, bound in the manner specified, using the speific paper ordered, but all blanks. No printing.

2. The Blueprints, also known as ozalids. These days, its not a print from the film so technically not an ozalid or blueprint, but old habits die hard, and most printers still use the same name. With CTP (Computer to Print) technology used in modern presses, the ozalid is printed with a plotter. These are called blueprints because the method of producing this economic proof is prepared by contacting film in a vacuum frame with a specially coated paper developed in an ammonia vapour The result may be blue, black, red, or brown. But today's CPT style blueprints are in full colour.

The blueprints are smaller than the specified size, in the case of my book, they are A4 sized. But will give us an idea of how the pages will bind. In this book, the signature is 8 pages...meaning each set of 8 pages are stitched together to form a booklet which is then bound together to form the book.

This is how they look like. In the next post, I will show some peeks of the contents.

3. The Proofs. These are full sized colour proofs, made with an inkjet printer. In the case of my printer who is ISO certified, they maintain a colour standard, and are obligated to measure with a density meter the ink being laid down on the proof paper. This ensures the colour consistency made by the inkjet (Epson 4880 printer) for the proofs are the same as that made by their offset printer which will be used for final print run.

The proofs are actually printed on paper that is larger than the final size. It includes a part which will be cut off, and so marked...called the bleed. Note the colour bar at the side of the page. This gives the printer information about colour, trapping, slurring, accuracy and dot gain. They can be read with a densitometer to check that the colours being printed by the offset press later are the same density as indicated by the colour bar of this proof.
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