Tag Archives: eco_friendly printing

A Brief History of Printing

By Winn Apple   |   Published October, 2013

Gutenberg’s Bible wasn’t first…heresy!

Let’s all take a deep breath. Lower your pitch forks. No need to organize a mob or gather a few choice stones to hurl.

I think we can all agree on one thing- that the invention and subsequent spread of the printing press are among the most influential, if not the single most influential, events in the second millennium AD, revolutionizing the way people conceive and describe the world they live in.

In recent years, Printing has fallen in popularity as a form of communication. With Global Warming and the protection and sustainability of our planet and all her resources being one of the biggest issues we face, many have turned to the digital world for its speedy, chemical and paper free trail -though the electronic world has its own adverse impact on the health of our planet- hazards which are now becoming evident.

As often is the case, that which holds our highest regard is susceptible to the proverbially fall from grace. But before we turn our backs on that which has aptly recorded our worlds’ history, diligently taught our children, provided endless hours of reading pleasure and cushioned the contents of our cardboard boxes marked fragile- crumpled wads of its Sunday best, systematically wedged between wine glasses and porcelain figurines- let’s take a moment to reflect.

Stroll with me along memory lane, revisiting the birth of this incredible tool and uncovering the true identity of the 1st printed book in history.

The printing press, invented in the Holy Roman Empire by the German Johannes Gutenberg around 1440, produced what some authorities have commonly cited as the first printed text –Gutenberg’s Bible. Whether one can say with conviction that this statement is indeed true may depend on whom you ask and what they consider the definition of printing to be.

One may consider the transfer of any characters to paper, clay, fabric and other materials to be a process of printing – a system established thousands of years ago. Taking this position, woodblock printing would certainly make the list of the earliest forms of printing. Many nimble fingers worked arduously to hand carve wood blocks for every page of the Diamond Sutra – which is the oldest surviving example of a printed book containing a verifiable date – dating back to 868 CE.

For those to whom wood block printing does not fulfill their definition, let’s keep trucking along.

Obviously, the more common association to the term implies mass production, involving plates, blocks and moveable type used to transfer ink onto a surface at repetition. Movable type certainly cuts down on the sheer volume of work. With no need to whittle wooden pages, countless fingers are spared the painful affliction of blisters! All of these characters and letters can just be reused and rearranged for the next print.

There is some evidence that the first movable type –which was ceramic–was invented in China by Bi Sheng around 1050 CE. Unfortunately there are no surviving texts, but it is very likely that the oldest printed books are Buddhist texts from the 11th century. It is thought that the ceramic type didn’t have a long shelf life and the Chinese returned to wood block printing as the primary method.

So who brings home the gold? Korea. They can claim the distinguished honor of producing the very first movable metal print book. Printed in 1377, Jikji – a book of Zen Buddhist teachings- passed the finish line a whopping 78 years before Gutenberg’s Bible. The Jikji originally consisted of two volumes totaling 307 chapters. What remains, is safely stored at the National museum of Korea.

In this modern age of speed and technology, take a moment to revisit your own relationship with the printed word and all the wonders and joys that this invention has brought into our lives.

For me, the iPad just doesn’t compare to losing yourself in your favorite second hand book store, leisurely strolling along the isles of previously enjoyed gems -or the anticipation, building as you walk home, debating which of your newly acquired treasures you’ll dive into first.

You curl up with your new paperback, settling into an oversized chair– a few pages in you begin to see the pages dog-eared and well creased from previous readers. You smile. This literary journey has been enjoyed and passed on for you to discover as will the next reader who pulls it from the shelf.

Whether it be electronic or paper, remember that all choices have a cost and benefit. We at Bacchus Press will continue to work towards keeping the option of printing an eco-friendly choice – providing printing you can feel good about.

Until next time, keep it Green!

If you enjoyed this article, get email updates (it’s free)

About the Author

In addition to crafting content and blogs, Winn Apple writes short stories and novellas for middle-grade readers. You can find her short stories along with a portfolio on her site, MysticJunkyard.com or on her soon to release website, snugbuggle.com – the best darn place to find short stories for kids.


Leave a comment

Filed under Eco-freindly

A Brief History in Color – Part II

By Winn Apple   |   Published September, 2013

“It is sometimes said that scientists are unromantic, that their passion to figure out robs the world of beauty and mystery. But is it not stirring to understand how the world actually works—that white light is made of colors, that color is the way we perceive the wavelengths of light, that transparent air reflects light, that in so doing it discriminates among the waves, and that the sky is blue for the same reason that the sunset is red? It does no harm to the romance of the sunset to know a little bit about it.” – Carl Sagan

Poetic and brilliant Carl – it is indeed part of our very nature to attempt to understand the world around us. The perception of color has stirred many a great mind.

As a follow up to last week’s exploration of man’s creation and use of color, we shall now dive into man’s desire to comprehend the mechanics behind one of nature’s greatest gifts…color.

Aristotle’s early studies of light and color yielded the discovery that by mixing two colors, a third is produced. He achieved this by placing a blue and yellow piece of glass one on top of the other, noticing that as light passed through, a third color green was produced.

In 1666 Isaac Newton made a study of color resulting in the Newton Wheel, a tool devised to illustrate the relationships between primary, secondary and complimentary colors. This chart was conceived from his experiments with sunlight by noticing that white light divides into seven different colors when passing through a prism, an effect he coined as spectrum.

Artists adapted this chart to what they knew empirically – modifying his diagram to create a color wheel consisting of the three primary colors- red, yellow and blue with the complimentary color opposite each.

Because Newton did not understand the difference between additive and subtractive color mixing, his observations were argued to be inaccurate or incomplete.

In 1775, a German printer by the name of Jakob Christoffel Le Blon solved many of the practical problems surrounding Newton’s chart. He invented a way of using three different printing plates to create a color picture. Each plate was inked with one of the primary colors, red, yellow or blue – occasionally adding black.

Le Bon was the first person to clearly state that there is a difference between additive and subtractive colors. His method has become the basis for the tri colored printing we do today.

In the 1920’s, working independently, John Guild and W. David Wright set out to determine how the average person perceives color. Two beams of light, containing the three primary colors, were cast on one side of a box while an observer was situated on the other. Looking through two holes, the observer was instructed to adjust the light of one beam until it matched the color of the other.

They found that the same color could be created by many different combinations of red, green and blue lights. This property of color is called metamerism.

Based on Wright’s and Guild’s work, the International Commission on Illumination or CIE set out to define color mathematically for the first time. The intent was to create a language for color which would accurately communicate each variation exactly. In 1931 the CIE color system came into being – using an abstract mathematical model to describe the way colors can be represented.

The CIE color system became the international standard and is still used today.

It is amazing the multitude of experiments, inquiries and discoveries which have lead up to the way man translates color. Our use of color, in an ever expanding range of medium, was first born out of prehistoric man’s motivation to convey the world around them with merely a chunk of dried earth applied to a cave wall.

We have evolved well beyond the cave wall, and the color range far exceed that available to our ancestors. Achieving this range with precision requires skilled technicians when printing.

When you are considering your next printed piece, look to Bacchus Press. We haven’t been around since the stone age…but we’ve got 31 years under our belts!

If you enjoyed this article, get email updates (it’s free)

About the Author

In addition to crafting content and blogs, Winn Apple writes short stories and novellas for middle-grade readers. You can find her short stories along with a portfolio on her site, MysticJunkyard.com or on her soon to release website, snugbuggle.com – the best darn place to find short stories for kids.

Leave a comment

Filed under Eco-freindly

A Brief History in Color – Part I

By Winn Apple   |   Published August, 2013

The Red Coats are coming, the Red Coats are coming!

It’s reasonably argued that Paul Revere did not shout this infamous phrase, nor any other, while galloping through Boston in 1775. What is verifiable is that British Army was indeed referred to as Red Coats, for obvious reason. Color!

And color is what we are here to speak of today.

Alizarin, the first color to be synthetically reproduced, was used as a red dye for the English parliamentary “new model” army. The distinctive red color, invoking the reference Red Coat, would continue to be worn for centuries.

What spawned humans’ affinity with color? It’s not as though with the creation of life came tubes of Winsor & Newton’s Alizarin Crimson dangling from fertile tree branches like ripe fruit.

Not only did Alizarin Crimson not blossom out of thin air, ready to be plucked and slathered onto our cave walls, it wasn’t even derivative of a source one could readily see. Its lusty red is produced from a single compound extracted from the roots of a plant by the name of Rubia Tinctorum.

Humans’ first experiments with color weren’t so difficult a process to achieve as was the case with Alizarin. More than 32,000 years ago cavemen began to use color to decorate their cave walls, mark objects and possibly even the skin of their clan. There weren’t men in white coats boiling pots of roots and bark, extracting pigments. Nope. They preferred to keep things simple. Clumps of red and yellow earth – the color we now call Ochre – along with white chalk and soot from the fire pit were all the medium they required to produce their spectacular cave creations.

As time progressed, our process for attaining color became more complex. We didn’t simply grab a handful of clay and paint the town red. We desired richer, more distinct colors that required a bit of labor and ingenuity to achieve.

The Aztecs created a red using the female cochineal beetle. Talk about labor intensive! The color is derived from carminic acid with is released by the beetle to keep other predator insects away and must be extracted from the body and eggs of the lil critter. The Aztecs were so fond of cochineal red that they considered it more valuable than gold. Can’t imagine the beetle was too pleased about being so popular!

The Aztecs weren’t the only ones to go to extremes in order to colorize their world. The Romans had to crush four million mollusks to produce a single pound of their favorite royal purple.

The ancient Egyptians went to great lengths as well. They created many difficult to achieve colors from a variety of vegetables and minerals. The blue we now refer to as cobalt was created from blue glass ground into a fine powder. Ofcourse this required the initial step of creating the glass from sand and copper.

As a language, color has been also used to describe mood and establish authority…among other things.

Romans in high office would wear purple robes indicating power, nobility and thus authority.

The color black, regarded as grief, was a clear choice for Queen Victoria to communicate her sorrow over the death of her husband – a fashion choice which became quite iconic. We’ve certainly all heard the phrases, “I’m green with envy,” or “You’re yellow bellied,” or “I’m feeling blue”.

In addition to being a tool for artistic expression, color was commonly regarded to have healing properties. Multiple civilizations, including The Egyptian, Aztec and Chinese, created documents denoting specific colors as being treatments for various ailments. A 2000 year old Chinese chronicle, The Nei/ching, recorded color diagnoses within its lengthy text.

Today, we see an array of products, literature and therapy devoted to the belief that color effects health, mood and vitality; an ideology based on a theory that each color exists on different frequencies and vibrations. The appropriate color may allow our feelings and emotions to return to a balanced state. One of my favorite items I stumbled upon while researching color was a snappy pair of glasses designed to lift mood through color.

Interestingly, with all of this, anthropologists discovered that many languages contain only two color terms, one being equivalent to white and the other black. For the millions of colors that exist, nearly all have names borrowed on the examples of them, such as avocado, tan, peach and gold. English contains the highest number of unique naming at eleven; black, white, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, pink, grey and brown.

With so many things volleying for our attention, we likely don’t realize our attention to color, but someone does! There are teams of marketing genius devoting time and study to color in an effort to determine what shade of fuchsia will be best received by their target audience. You can’t just go dropping in a bit of dye all willy-nilly and hope that folks will respond kindly to their tennis balls being colored a shade of pink or their masking tape green.

Achieving perfect color has been a long lived pursuit of man – and not an undertaking for the timid. Even for seasoned pressmen, color can go astray. There are numerous elements skulking in the dark shadows waiting to bungle the ink. The subtleties of some shades take an expert eye and steady hand to mix. It truly is an art.

Entire budgets can set aside for the designing and printing of items as seemingly simple as a company logo. Make no mistake; it takes a high level of skill.

When you’re ready to print, look to Bacchus Press. Our pressmen are experts in color!

If you enjoyed this article, get email updates (it’s free)

*Thanks to Artist & Craftsman Supply in Berkeley

About the Author

In addition to crafting content and blogs, Winn Apple writes short stories and novellas for middle-grade readers. You can find her short stories along with a portfolio on her site, MysticJunkyard.com or on her soon to release website, snugbuggle.com – the best darn place to find short stories for kids.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Who shot QR?

By Winn Apple   |   Published January, 2013

Everyone with the decoder installed on their smart phone…that’s who!

If you were hoping I would announce the return of your favorite late night soap opera, I’m sorry to say that I am not. Though I imagine a revival of Dallas is in the pipelines somewhere.

Let’s review a bit of what we know of this nostalgic sounding acronym.

QR Code, aka Quick Response code, is a matrix barcode which is encoded with text, URL or other data. The looks of it are reminiscent of the late 70’s video game, Space Invaders, after a few of the enemy had been successful shot down -with its black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background.

The code requires a QR code reader to translate its cryptic message. An application for this mysterious translator can easily be downloaded as an application to your smart phone allowing you to roam about, reading codes on a whim.

Despite its popularity in Japan, the QR code has only recently hit mainstream America. Always at the forefront of technology, Japan began equipping its cell phones with QR code readers over four years ago -most likely in anticipation of its growing popularity.

It’s not uncommon to find QR codes prominently placed in many of GAP Inc.‘s marketing campaigns. Walking into Old Navy, don’t be surprised to find QR printed onto a large poster hanging in the window or colorful flyer displayed at the checkout counter announcing a sweepstakes of some sort – directing you to utilize the code to obtain important information on how to enter for a chance at the grand prize.

Whipping out your smart phone, eager for a chance at Justin Bieber tickets, you swiftly snap a shot of QR and off you go. With speed and ease you are safely delivered to a unique URL. The associated landing page, as promised, delivers all pertinent information. You enter the contest and wait patiently.

All sorts of restaurants and retailers utilize QR code. It can be a real convenience if you are a foodie who frequently passes by restaurants that look interesting. With no time to stop in for a bite, you snap an image of the code conveniently printed onto the menu and off you go. A new URL has been successfully stored with all of your other eatery URL’s. Just thumb through those when you’re hankering for a new place to grub.

Directing individual QR codes to a unique and personalized landing page is another effective marketing strategy for converting direct mail recipients into new clients. With the ability to propagate each page with your potential clients name and information specific to them, you’ll be far more likely to catch their attention.

The uses for QR codes are countless. Its versatility and convenience makes it the perfect marketing tool, offering consumers direct and instant access to everything from movie trailers to nutrition information. You’d be hard-pressed these days to find a catalog not sporting one.

Next time you set out to print up new marketing material or direct mail campaign, consider adding a QR code.  Save yourself some time, money and hassle by using a printer, like Bacchus Press, who can handle the entire project from print to mail.

And when you’re ready to discuss the next night time soap, drop me line.

Till next time, keep it Green!

If you enjoyed this article, get email updates (it’s free)

About the Author

In addition to crafting content and blogs, Winn Apple writes short stories and novellas for middle-grade readers. You can find her short stories along with a portfolio on her site, MysticJunkyard.com or on her soon to release website, snugbuggle.com – the best darn place to find short stories for kids.

Leave a comment

Filed under Eco-freindly, Uncategorized