Last week we paid a visit to our bindery, to sign off our first order of notebooks. We were eager to see the making in progress, and took along a camera so we could share a little about the production of our stationery.
Upon entering the bindery we were greeted by the whirr of machinery and wonderful smell of ink, then shown to the enormous press that was ready to print our notebook covers.
At one end of the press sits a pile of creamy white paper, once the machine is started each sheet is picked up and run through. It passes under 2 rollers that hold the plates which have been engraved with our patterns, one lays the grey ink and one the turquoise. When the first sheet has completed its journey through the press, the print quality and ink density are checked before the rest of the run is printed.
This was the first time we were able to see the results of the previous months of design and preparation. In the brilliance of colour and quality of line it was clear our commitment to this process had been worth it. Though more costly than digital printing, the subtle feeling and integrity that comes with this traditional technique is truly unique.
Next the book blocks are made. Each page is creased, paginated and neatly sewn together with linen threads. The spine is reinforced with gauze for strength and stability. The book blocks are then attached to their printed covers using a special layflat binding process which allows the spine to stay detached, and the books to open completely flat. We felt this was an essential function of a notebook – allowing you to work across two pages simultaneously, and the book to rest open at a chosen page.
The books are then at the final stage of their journey. They are trimmed and checked, ready to be shipped to our workshop.
The bindery we work with are the only people using this layflat process in the UK, so we feel very lucky to have found them. Working with local, knowledgeable manufacturers is important to us at ola. Not only does it mean we’re more connected to the objects we produce, but it allows us to develop relationships with the makers of our products and watch them being created.