M Library 2008
- p. 80
Electrostatic printing is a reality, but only in the laboratories. In the meantime, the designer’s range and capabilities are being extended in other ways. One of these has been achieved by the Du Pont Company, with the announcement, in 1960, of the availability of the Dycril photopolymer plate. This plate is is used primarily in letterpress applications, although it can serve in offset lithography. It is made of a layer of light-sensitive plastic material (the photopolymer) backed up by a steel or aluminum plate. Processing is practically the same as for conventional engraving: a negative is exposed against the plastic with ultraviolet light from a carbon arc lamp. The polymer reacts to the light and is then “developed” in a solution which washes out the areas which are to print in lighter tones.
Advantages are (1) economy — the cost is lower than conventional metal-etch engravings from negative to finished plate, longer runs are possible than with conventional materials, “make-ready” time is reduced and the plate is lighter; (2) quality — the photopolymer plate accepts ink more evenly than metal plates, it has no known limitations on the density of halftone screens, and it is more resilient than metal — if it is accidentally battered on the press or in make-ready, it will recover. Even severe battering can be cured by the application of a hot towel which brings the surface back to specifications. While materials such as Dycril photopolymer plates extend the designer’s capabilities in one direction, designers themselves have extended them in another. This direction has been taken by an inky Philadelphian, Eugene Feldman, who is a painter, lithographer, and the founder and director of a printing shop — Falcon Press. Feldman also heads the Department of Typographic Design at the Philadelphia Museum School of Art, and when he is not painting, teaching, or designing, he is wringing astonishing effects out of a Harris 23 x 35 offset press. Some of these are suggested in the illustrations at the bottom of this page. Most of them, unfortunately cannot be shown with letterpress techniques. Feldman is perhaps best known for three books he has printed: a collection of Kafka stories illustrated by a young Mexican painter, Jose Luis Cuevas; Doorway to Portuguese with a Brazilian painter-industrial designer, Aloisio Magalhães, and Dooway to Brasilia, also with Magalhães.
… tone aluminum plates in three colors; made direct contact plates from objects such as palm leaves; drawn directly on film with transparent and opaque inks. He is not averse to scattering a handful of grass in his ink reservoir to see what happens on the printed sheet, and he is one of the most abandoned splitters of fountains in the graphic arts field. Feldman is a newcomer to package design, but his work is so arresting that the Du Pont Company commissioned him to design a series of boxes illustrating the imaginative use of colored inks on colored paper. His experimental printing techniques immediately suggest rather specialized applications such as cosmetic or drug package design, and the velvety, three-dimensional effects of his aluminum-plate work would produce an invigorating change in liquor overwraps. More than anything else, his might some day provide some relief from the dreary monotony of the average aisle in the average
supermarket. 1. Photopolymer plates 2. Continuous-tone aluminum plates 1. Hot stamping 3. Dry offset xau. f \ j. 80.