Printing the W.A. Dwiggins Biography

The process of printing a book might not be glamorous, but it is fascinating. Boxes of paper, presses, color adjustments and approvals. Constant vigilance and attention to the tiniest details.

First we need some paper. For the Dwiggins biography, we worked with Sappi Paper in Boston. As the successor to the legendary S. D. Warren paper company, Sappi provides a direct link to one of Dwiggins’s most important clients.

Once color adjustments are made and everything’s approved, the presses can get rolling. The 40-inch Komori Lithrone press at Penmor Lithographers in Lewiston, Maine, is robust and impressive,  and the results are high quality, full color pages.

While the book itself is being printed, there’s more to do. The portfolios for the deluxe edition of the book required eight folds, all by hand. Penmor had a workstation set up for me when I got there — very glad to have such a great, longstanding relationship with a printer that’s committed to excellence.

Author, designer, folder. It was a real thrill to be on hand to see the book come together.

You’ll notice the gold leaf on the spine of the book on the right side of the photo above. The binding took place at Acme Binding in Charlestown, Massachusetts, which is where the gold leaf is also applied. But that’s a story for another day.


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