Screaming Colour produces high quality, short run print very quickly just moments away from our front door, Son and I (the work experience kid/tea-boy) got the opportunity to have a look around their factory and see how they work. They have the capability to produce everything from business cards to 3 inch thick perspex billboards, so, as you can imagine, the place is pretty busy. Downstairs, they have a large finishing studio to cut down time (most companies have to transport print to finishing studios offsite) and their own courier so the whole process is very speedy (the factory also works almost 24 hours a day).
In the factory, there are two main ways of printing; digital and litho. Digital printing has an extremely fast turnaround and a next-to-nothing set-up cost, but the actual printing part is relatively expensive compared to litho printing. Litho printing has a low printing cost, but expensive set-up costs and a slower turnaround because the ink is still slightly wet when it comes out, but the print is actually of slightly higher quality.
Litho printing works almost like a potato-print, with ink being slammed onto the paper, while digital printing is slightly more complicated. It involves focussing lasers onto a positively charged ‘drum’ to discharge a certain part of it, then negatively charged ‘dry’ ink is attracted to the parts that aren’t discharged (opposites attract) to create an image on the drum which is then rolled over paper to create an image.
In the finishing part of the factory, everything from book binding to box-making was happening. There were creasers, embossers, binders and die-cutters and it really makes you think about all of the possibilities which are available when thinking about print and design, and how these can be applied to specific projects to create a desired outcome.
For a more detailed (and a generally much better!) explanation of their work, feel free to check out their website - http://www.screamingcolour.com/