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I’ve been hesitant to post this, largely because there is a good chance most of you won’t even notice. However, I’ve been quite consistent with openly communicating what’s happening behind the scenes, so I decided to share this with you, too.
Some of you may notice that issue No4 feels slightly different. Even though the same paper stock was used (apart from the sponsor pages), your haptic experience of issue No4 may be a bit different. I’ve first noticed this when the unbound sample copy came back from the printer. We immediatly started researching the cause for this. It turns out that the paper manufacturer had changed locations. The paper mill producing Circleoffset — the stock we use — is now located in a different country using different recycled materials. As a result the quality of the stock has become more inconsistent — not substantially but noticably. The difference is most obvious on “darker pages” where the now more textured surface causes the ink to behave unpredictably.
Once we realised it wasn’t just a “bad batch” of paper, we started looking at possible solutions. A few test prints with minor adjustments on the printing machine itself (pressure, humidity, amount of ink, mix of colours etc) didn’t yield any results. We looked at alternative stock, contacted suppliers and various manufacturers. I was ready to reprint the entire magazine on different paper to achieve a more stable result. However, the only stock that we’d been able to order in without delaying the production more than a week or two would have been paper not made from recycled materials.
I’ve always been proud of the fact that Offscreen was made of 100% recycled materials, printed with natural colours and even shipped in environmentally friendly packaging. And so, the perfectionist in me decided to let the environmentalist win this one.
My printer and I are already examining and testing alternative stock options for the next issue. I’m pretty confident most of you won’t even notice any difference. If you do, please know that the paper type will change again with the next issue. Now, please don’t let this little story lessen your expectations — it’s still a bloody awesome issue and I’m eager to hear what you think! :)