Last year one of our best selling books in the UK trade was The Princess and the Peas, by Caryl Hart and Sarah Warburton. This year we publish its eagerly anticipated follow up, The Princess and the Presents, and I’ve just come back from Barcelona seeing it off press.
As I’m sure we’ve said elsewhere, most of our four-colour books print in the Far East, but we do print a few books in Europe when we don’t have the longer timescales that allow for a month on the sea when the books are shipping to the UK. Printing in Europe also means that if needed, we can easily go over to see them off press – an EasyJet flight is often cheaper than a peak time train ticket out of London! The Princess and the Presents was one such book that we thought it was important to colour pass – like The Princess and the Peas, pink is a dominant colour, and to get the shades just right is crucial. So off I trekked with Michelle Draycott from Imago, our production agency, to printing company Tallers Grafics Soler, SA.
There is a real art to four-colour printing, and getting the balance of cyan, yellow, magenta and black (CMYK) inks correct is the key to achieving the perfect colour. We had previously produced Epson proofs of the book (these are like digital print outs on photographic paper) so that the machine operators had colour references to match, and they did their magic, carefully adjusting the huge printing machines to ensure that the right amount of ink was pushed through in the right places. They then pulled off large printed sheets for us to check under a light box against the Epson proofs supplied to approve the colour, or say that we wanted a bit less magenta or yellow. It took a few colour adjustments until we got it perfect, and on one occasion we had to compromise very slightly because although the yellow on the cover was slightly too orange, if we reduced the red then the pinks lost their jewel like colours – that is always the way with printing though, there has to be a certain degree of compromise to get the overall look right, and I am really happy with the stunning colours that we reproduced, and I feel that we’ve done Sarah Warburton’s beautiful colour palette justice.
So all-in-all, a very successful day’s work, and Michelle and I left Spain clutching our printed sheets and looking forward to seeing the bound book in its full glory with beautiful pinky-purple foil (they can’t print, do the cover finishes and bind the book all that in one day unfortunately).
The Princess and the Presents will publish in hardback in March – you can pre-order the book online here and take a look inside below. The Princess and the Peas is available in shops in paperback now – you can order it online here.