Print Blank Pages
We learned an important lesson while printing GENE 01.
We spent ages getting the format of GENE right. At first we were all talking in pubs and houses over beer and wine, showing each other books we liked, justifying our emotional response to a particular paper size or texture. Later Daley and I sat with an old copy of InDesign on my not-quite-dead 2004 MacBook Pro and tinkered with margins and font sizes. Later still, Daley worked out which bits went where and how to make the flow and balance of the pages work. Then Nick nitpicked about ligatures and I questioned the dashes.
Daley and I sat in front of InDesign a month ago admiring the finished product, every single millimetre of every page positioned to perfection. We experimented with outputs: PDFs, preflights, packages, folders, linked and embedded images and fonts. We settled on a method that seemed to work (booklet print), and exported the single pages as a PDF too just in case.
I took the files down to the printer, and a few days later I went back to check out the test print. The paper looked beautiful, the printing was crisp and it was exciting to see it finally exist in physical form. I gave the printer the OK to print the rest.
It was only after about 6 hours of flicking through the box full of printed copies that I realised something was wrong. At first I couldn’t put my finger on it, but once I realised it was obvious, staring back at me from every spread: the pages were all in the wrong place.
Every single left hand page was on the right and vice versa, except for the facing plate at the beginning. All the duoble-page musical scores were split over a page turn, and Daley’s graphic novella was all out of whack.
The reprint cost us dearly, but it was worth it. The corrected layout is beautiful and we all would have felt bad to put out a half-baked publication. I’m not writing this for your pity. I’m writing this because there is a lesson to be learned.
There is an option somewhere in InDesign’s print dialogs labelled Print blank pages.
I can’t yet figure out why you would ever want to spend hours and days laying out your document perfectly, attending to every tiny detail, checking and double checking, only to set an option that removes random pages and ruins the whole thing. But it’s there, and we must have clicked it.
So let this be a lesson to you all (but more importantly a reminder to us for next time). And if you want some expensive-looking wrapping paper, let me know.
I reckon the first issue of GENE might actually exist soon. It’s only three months behind schedule, which isn’t bad considering the group of people involved. I have a very poor concept of timeliness, and tend to leave the house when I need to arrive somewhere. Juju is worse, leaving the city at the time when she should be arriving in another city. Daley often arrives places on time, but equally often spends weeks building raised beds for the lettuces. Nick is always busy. Miranda actually submitted her work on time, so she wins. George, Lizzy and Xander might make it for issue 2.
Nick is letterpressing the covers this weekend and Daley’s tidying up the last of the typos. I’m putting together a website. Luckily it’s going to be worth the wait.