Vessel, Printing an Exhibition Catalog for the Guild of Bookworkers

The Guild of Bookworkers is a new client for Bookmobile, and we are so pleased to be working with them! I don’t know if there’s a better compliment for us as book printers than to have an organization dedicated to the book and paper arts choose us for their exhibition catalog printing. The Guild of Bookworkers is a national organization dedicated to all of the book arts: typography, printing, bookbinding, conservation, and restoration.

Vessel is the Guild’s 2015-2017 traveling juried exhibition. As the Guild describes, the artworks included in the show demonstrate how

the book as vessel inspires beautiful metaphor—a craft for traveling, a container, a holder, a receiver, a transporter. Across time and culture, the vessel is at the center of many ceremonies and rites of passage. Native American cultures regarded the vessel as a portal to a sacred realm. The book as craft is our vessel to sail the high seas, to hold our dearest memories, and to indicate the pulse of life.

The exhibit features approximately fifty works from Guild members and is traveling across the U.S.—you can see the full schedule here. And to accompany the exhibit, the Guild published a catalog and came to Bookmobile for the printing and binding.

Exhibition Catalog Printing

Julia Leonard was the designer of the Vessel exhibition catalog, and she last worked with Bookmobile nine years ago (I think we left a good impression!). Julia is a member of the Guild of Bookworkers and an associate professor at The University of Iowa’s Center for the Book.

Vessel had very long lead time. Julia first got back in touch with me in June of 2015. I sent her printing and paper samples to show her coworkers at the Guild, then in August of 2015 she had approximated enough specifications for production to request the print estimate.

The files came in for printing in November of 2015, and books shipped at the end of February 2016. It was more important to the Guild to have the images perfect rather than to receive the catalog fast. With Vessel, we went through three sets of proofs, a process that including going back to the photographer to adjust the original images. We not only created full sets of revised proofs, but also test pages with color corrections—we wanted to ensure a correction would work before anyone spent time applying it to all the images.

With clean files and a quick “okay to print” on proofs, our normal schedule for a paperback book is just over two weeks. But we frequently see projects that can take up a few months to complete. If publishing an exhibition catalog is not your full-time or only job (rarely it is) and you’re also working with a designer, a photographer, and a committee, production tends to slow down a little.

Bookmobile does try to avoid any color-correcting issues from the get-go: we have color file guidelines on our website, and we offer to print samples pages for clients before final files are submitted so any major color correction can be done in advance of full proofs. But even with the best preparation, issues can arise. It’s always good to pad any production schedule with enough time to accommodate any issues that may come up.

Why Bookmobile for printing exhibition catalogs

Our short-run print quality is excellent, our pricing is affordable, and we offer many options, like square trim sizestranslucent vellum insertsfoil stamping on paperback covers, and more. Browse our Gallery to see the full breadth of what we offer! And with a minimum run quantity of just 25 copies, artists and galleries can print short runs and order reprints as needed—which means no worries about storing inventory or cash flow complications.

Catalog Fulfillment and Mailing

Once the catalog was completed, we also provided fulfillment services for the Guild of Bookworkers. We drop-shipped the bulk orders and fulfilled individual orders. Through our distribution service, Itasca Books, we can process individual orders for clients. You do not need to be distributed to the trade by Itasca Books to take advantage of our fulfillment services.

Also, once the first run is sold out, the Guild can reprint through Bookmobile and again have us fulfill their bulk and individual orders. I hope that happens soon—Vessel is a beautiful book!

Interested in what Bookmobile can do for your museum or gallery? Contact me!