• Jeff McMillan press-passing at Graphicom, Italy
  • Victoria Forrest, a woman with redhair standing next to the control panel for a commerical lithographic printing press, on which you can see a B2 sheet printed with the words VIKA. Victoria is holding small child in her arms, he is facing away and wearing a blue jacket.

Press-passing with VIKA

Printing beautiful books

Press-passing a book on a lithographic press is a beautiful moment that marks the crucial final step in the design process. Having a dedicated representative on press during printing is essential to fine-tune those last details. From ensuring the colours are perfectly balanced throughout the book, to selecting the latest materials, and spotting any last-minute errors, VIKA’s expertise ensures the best outcome for you possible.

Press-passing is a critical stage in the book prodution process. It is the moment before the full run is approved for printing, when a select batch of printed sheets from the lithographic press undergoes meticulous examination, overseen VIKA and the printer, and accompanied by the photographer. Thorough scrutiny at this stage is vital to ensuring that the colors, sharpness, and overall tone of the printed images align perfectly with the deisgn specifications and faithfully replicate the pre-approved Epson proofs.

Checking Epson proofs against printed sheets on press with Mark Cator at EBS, Italy.

Once the press is set-up to the printer’s standards and the colours have been matched as close to the photographer’s Epson proofs as possible, both VIKA and the photographer conduct a detailed inspection of each plate, checking for irregularities such as color variations, misregistration, or printing defects. Press-passing is an opportunity to fine-tune press settings, including ink densities, water balance, registration and colour balance, to optimize print quality and consistency across the entire production. Because the checks are live, any issues can be promptly resolved there and then, and amendedments are made directly on press. Only once everyone is happy with the sample sheets, does the photographer get the honour of signing off the final run on the lithographic press!

The photographer’s role
When it comes to press-passing a book on a lithographic press, witnessing their book print on press is not only a magical moment, it is also a indispensable necessity to ensure their vision is faithfully represented in the final publication. The hands-on nature of press passing, watching ink on paper, enables them to verify color accuracy, assess print quality, ensure consistency across the print run, make real-time adjustments, and gain the ultimate peace of mind regarding the quality of their work. Active participation during press printing also empowers photographers to maintain control over the production process and ensure that their vision is accurately realized.

VIKA’s role
For VIKA, it is a pivotal moment in ensuring that the printed material aligns precisely with the intended design and quality standards. This entails meticulous inspection of the printed sheets for color accuracy, clarity, sharpness, and overall print quality. To do this, VIKA must maintain open communication with the printer, troubleshooting and resolving any issues that may arise. VIKA works with the printer to make informed decisions on adjustments to press settings or print runs from observations made during press-passing. Detailed documentation of any changes or observations is maintained throughout the process, ensuring consistency and quality control.

Effective collaboration between photographers and designers during press-passing is essential. Clear communication, defined roles, and a shared vision are fundamental aspects of this collaboration. Collaborative problem-solving, flexibility, and meticulous attention to detail are key to success. Mutual respect and acknowledgment of achievements further enhance teamwork, ensuring the successful printing of a high-quality photobook.

In summary, press-passing plays a pivotal role in the printing process, guaranteeing that the final photobook meets or exceeds the client’s expectations in terms of color accuracy, image quality, and overall print finish. For the photographer, it is the culmination of years of work. There’s nothing quite like seeing the smile on an artist’s face as they sign off the first sheets on press and start the print run for their latest book.

Visit our Collaboration page to find out more about our Press-Passing Service




A free VIKA Book of Books

We have FREE exquisitely manufactured, hand-stitched and lithographically printed, Book of Books for potential future clients to experience the production quality of VIKA books.