Monday, 7 November 2011


It was good to be involved in the print side of this excellent project with designer, Tess Wood. The stock is Cairn Craft, the ink is black and the Barter project sounds like a lot of fun!

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

High Class Work Done On Premises

Two historical photographs of the Govan Printing Works;
the former name of today's Glasgow Press. 
This is a treasured picture of our premises, taken in August 1933. The front is a stationery shop where orders are placed for all types of printing. At the back is a well furnished caseroom, quiet and comfortable. Adjoining this is the busy printroom, resonating to the sounds of printing presses and the chat of printers and finishers. Although none of today's staff were actually there in the 30s, the shop didn't change for decades and I can give a pretty accurate description of how it was.

Outside, the main signage for the shop reads, "Govan Printing Works. High Class Work Done On Premises". The biggest window sign declares, "Printing Is Our Business" and another sign alongside reads, "Stationery, Bibles and Hymnaries. Leather Goods." A banner display advertises "Swan Fountpens and Inks."

Inside the window, which extends down to floor level, there are rows of shelves displaying books. From my own experience, I'd say these will be sales and purchase ledger books, cash day books, receipt books, order books, slim boxes of waxy deep blue carbon paper, diaries, notebooks, scrapbooks, typewriting paper, autograph books, stamp collector's albums, envelopes, writing paper in Albert, Duke, Post Quarto and Foolscap, and so on.

Hanging in the window are displays of postcards and what looks like lots of pictures and photos around the bottom of the window - maybe scraps?  This is summer time, but by October these will be replaced by calendars which will also be strung up and held by bulldog clips inside the shop, like clothes on a line.
On the outside wall between the shops, there is a glass case which displays samples of printed cards, for which you may place an order, Madam.

Next door on the right hand side you can see the 'L' of the Lyceum Cafe on the sign and on the other side, the sign says 'Records' and there's sheet music in the window and, I think, I can see a violin.

The second photograph is dated August 1939. We're on the brink of war but things are still looking dandy. The Lyceum has just had a makeover in the latest Art Deco style. On our other side, the music shop is now a Dairy, boasting "Finest Value in Ham, Butter and Eggs" with a banner advertising HP Sauce. Look at the first floor above the Lyceum - a pretty birdcage is suspended in the window.
The top half of the shop window is covered by a large poster advertising "High Class Printing of All Descriptions - Let Us Quote". The poster also proclaims "Wedding Stationery; A Speciality", and there's a phone number! Is it Govan 306? Our no. now is 0141 237 3032
Ticket Writing is another service offered; Tickets, Posters, Showcards, summat else I can't make out, Pelmets, Displays.
Wonder what happened to Swan Ink which was so prominent? In later years, Quink was the Ink for your fountain pen.

What a glorious shop, full of neat and tidy boxes containing: sealing wax, newspaper wrappers, balls of string of various strengths, tapes and ribbons of varying lengths, ink pads, rubber stamps, rubber bands, rubber fingerettes, rubber erasers, paper spikes, gums and glues, laundry pens indelible, lead pencils erasable, china markers, fountain pens and selections of nibs, scalpels and guillotines, paper clips, eyelets, staples and paper fasteners, raffle tickets, strung tags, dance tickets, correspondence cards, calling cards, condolence cards, celebrations and invitations, acceptance and regrets, in memoriam . . .

Saturday, 29 October 2011

RM - Ramsay MacFarlane

The personal business card of talented freelance designer, Ramsay MacFarlane, is a fusion of classic design and modern flair. In Ramsay's own words, "as people increasingly stare at pixels on a screen, printed promotions can have a more personal and lasting impression.As well as graphic design, material choice and printing methods are equally important in creating print; from business cards and product packaging." All sentiments with which we would heartily agree.
Stock is a heavy duplex 700gsm of Colorplan pristine white and ebony. We letterpress printed in dense black ink to the white side and foiled Ramsay's signature logo in glossy black foil.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

A Wooden Tree

Creativity is abounding in this beauty, designed by Adam Wilson of fourcolourblack for textile artist Kirsty Anderson of A Wooden Tree. Now, your delectable purchases will be enhanced by a lovely personalised swing tag.
A very thoughtful choice of stock made this a pleasure to print. Cairn Board is recycled stock made from 100% pre-consumer waste and as can be seen at 700micron, gives a deep, crisp impression. It's available from Paperback in a nice range of colours - this one is Almond. We mixed a rich brown ink and letterpress printed before drilling the hole in the tag.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

All That Jazz; Award Winner

 "The 2011 Chairman's Award for Design goes to Glad for Nottingham Jazz Business Card."

An excellent result for Glad Creative, with whom we've had the pleasure of working on a number of pieces, including the award winning business card for Nottingham Jazz at the recent Roses Design Awards.
The prestigious Chairman's Award demands high standards on every count. Chairman Jack Renwick said "this was the piece that I remembered most throughout the day's judging ... the choice of stock was the icing on the cake."
And the stock was . . Colorplan by GF Smith, Mid Green at 540gsm weight. The face of the card has a buckram emboss and the reverse is a plain finish.
We letterpress printed the business card in black ink on a Heidelberg Platen to the strains of Duke Ellington on the gramophone, of course.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Printers' Pie part 1

Dan Snr. of Glasgow Press writes, I admit to having a weakness for pies – Scotch, steak, macaroni, apple, rhubarb, gooseberry, raspberry, cherry – yes, you've got it, give me anything encrusted in a nice-tasting pastry and I am hooked! So, last week I was in heaven when I heard our neighbour had given us four 'buckets' full of 'pie'  in which I could indulge myself.

For an explanation we need to go back to pre-computer days – the 1940s and beyond: I was an apprentice compositor with a company called Gilmour&Dean, of Fordneuk Street, Bridgeton, Glasgow. It was a fairly-big outfit who did quality colour work and had 'quality' customers, including a few large carpet manufacturers (who needed colourful, patterned carpet leaflets). G&D also printed for India Tyres, Babcock&Wilcox, and so on.

As an apprentice you'd be given the job of 'dissing' (distributing) Founders' type back into the proper box of the proper case. Founders' type was bought in from the typesetters, as against that produced in-house, e.g. linotype or monotype which would be melted down after printing, and re-used.

When 'dissing', you had to know the layout of the typecase, and be sure that the typeface and size matched what was already in the case, before 'dissing' the job.
Printers' Pie would come about if there was a mix of different fonts in the case or, more spectacularly, if you pulled a typecase out of a frame too far and spilled the contents onto the floor.

Caserooms were generally 'library-like' quiet, and a case of type spilling was not something that could go unnoticed. I don't recall this happening too often – but when it did, there would be loud cheering and jeering and stamping of feet from the unsympathetic fellow compositors – and even louder and more sensational if they learned that it was a case of 6-point Spartan.
Our foreman, who suffered from ulcers and had a perpetual worried look on his face, would be quick to try and calm the situation before the works' manager should happen past.
So, this is Printers' Pie; the result of an upset case (which might take a month to put right), or it may be a 'galley' of type going the same way as the case – scattering across the floor. Which leads me on to my four buckets of Printers' Pie – not for eating – but, strangely enough, something which I found very satisfying.

I enjoyed the nostalgia of going back to the 'setting-stick in hand' days and the dusty, real-feel of lead-type as against 'knocking-out' letters on a computer keyboard.
Wonderful as the computer may be, and is, there is nothing like a bit of Printers' Pie to cheer up the day.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Tasting Notes

Whisky Tasting Notes are always a delight to typeset. We especially love the enchanting, lyrical quality of those from Bruichladdich Distillery on the Isle of Islay.

Their Celtic Heartland bottlings are described in this special card which we foil blocked in silver onto Plike.
Plike is a unique range of paper and board from Italywith the unusual surface texture of rubber.

Would you like to have a sample? Then, please e-mail or message us and we'll send one to you . . sorry, just the card, not the whisky.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Blown Away . . .

It seems appropriate, as gale force winds rage round our printworks today, to feature a postcard we printed showing how good letterpress print and hotfoil looks on 100% windpower papers.
The paper is a fusion of Strathmore Grandee (bordeaux purple) and Strathmore Writing (natural), both available in the UK from GF Smith, bonded to a plump weight of 514gsm.
The gusty old North Wind is blowing with all his might in three colours of ink and on the reverse a silvery smooth foil shows how well suited these papers are to our fine craft.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Top of the Class

This invitation to attend a reception at Morrison's Academy reflects the fine tradition and exceptional qualities that makes Morrison's one of the leading independent schools in the UK.
Designed by Kayak, the card is a duplex board at 540gsm weight. The bright white side is letterpress printed deep red ink on the white side. After some research, we were able to source a perfect shade of foil for the bokhara red side to incorporate the school colours.

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Communications Over the Wire

A cleverly creative business card communicates the services offered by Wire Media. Designed by Everyone, we letterpress printed in black ink onto both sides of a chunky 700gsm duplex Colorplan stock - bright white to citrine - from GF Smith.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Wayzgoose On The Waverley

There's a fair bit of traffic flowing past our printworks. This grand lady is The Waverley, the world's last ocean-going paddle steamer. We snapped her as she passed at 7 minutes past 10 this morning on her last voyage of the summer season.

A trip on The Waverley was a favourite choice for the annual Wayzgoose of many of Glasgow's printing companies, as it offered all the components of a great day out; entertainment, refreshments, splendid surroundings, beautiful scenery and a convivial atmosphere.

It takes a hefty bit to maintain such a vessel as The Waverley, and she is in need of a bit of support to tide her over the winter months. So, along with Glasgow Press, you can keep her afloat by making a donation here and keep the printers happy for many long years to come.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Brand Spanking Pocapoc

How's this for a great idea from Pocapoc Creative? Order business cards in a thick 540gsm Colorplan board of Pistachio and Bright White. Get a big whack of them printed in ink to match the pistachio with a complementary colour of wild west logo featuring cowboy with lariat, ready to lasso plenty of clients, on the reverse.
Then take them home and set about them with your own personalised rubber stamps and ink pads.
Great fun and very effective. Brand spanking!

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Hollywood Comes to Town

World War Z is being filmed in Glasgow this month with some of the action being shot next door to our printworks in The Big Shed.
One of the stars of the movie sauntered by to take a look at some of our letterpress print work. He was very impressed, as was our devil, who looks well chuffed. Awright, big man.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Diane Robertson; d r d

Always nice to print a set - in this case, business card and compliment slip for London based designer, Diane Robertson. drd's creative approach offers a fresh, professional look that will help a company stand out above its competitors.
This is reflected in the agency's own stationery, printed on Colorplan stock from GF Smith.
The business card is a bond of Bright White to Smoke, 540gsm. drd's logo is foiled in white and the reverse of the card is letterpress printed in an ink mixed to match the Smoke side, as is the compliment slip.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011


Smoked Salmon from Scotland is appreciated and enjoyed around the globe. This little card, with rich coppery foil applied to pearly grey stock, celebrates the Scottish smoked salmon scene. Tuck in!

Monday, 15 August 2011

Rosemary Carr; Good to Know

 It's the fine detail that makes this business card for Rosemary Carr outstanding. Design is by Taxi Studio and paper from GF Smith.
White and silver foil is applied to amethyst Colorplan and letterpress printed in co-ordinating inks to bright white, with an eyecatching logo in silver foil.

Rosemary Carr sends compliments via a crisp Colorplan sheet, letterpress printed in two colours of ink with the signature silver foil trademark. Beautiful design, and very good to know!