Looks best in Japanese

Arash Stationary

This project is a stationary package created for a private company.  The package contains calling card, folding note card, letterhead. The inks were pastel green pms solid litho, flourescent green pms 2x, dark green foil stamp, dark green engraving.  Stock was Rolland Opaque cover and text. finishing includes die cutting and scoring.

See section on intaglio engraving below.


Intaglio Engraving is a process where paper is printed using a steel die with recessed artwork engraved into it.  A roller runs ink over the die, kraft paper on a roll wipes the die off leaving ink in the engraved areas, the die is pressed onto the paper and the ink in the engraved areas sticks to the paper.  This leaves a slightly raised, opaque, matte surface ink on the paper. Engraving is used to resolve fine lines and type.

The following images are of dark green and black engraving inks on a paper litho printed with solid pastel green ink.

These images illustrate difficulties in inking the bottom part of the letters when printing over the solid pastel green litho. The problem was due to an incompatibility between the dark green engraving ink and the litho ink.  Black ink did not have the problem.

Photomicrographs from the finished job will be added to this post upon delivery of the stationary package to the client.

green ink shows bottoms of letterforms starving of ink.

Photography Doug Laxdal, The Gas Company Inc., 2011

black ink

80% black / 20% green mix still has the problem

dark green


Hot Foil stamping is a print process where a heated die with the raised artwork is pressed onto paper with a heat sensitie foil between.  The plastic foil is coated with a heat sensitie transfer material with colour pigment incorporated.  The die leaes a debossed impression and the coloured foil coating is melted onto the paper to create proide colour.  These photomicrographs show the artwork enlarged at approximately 1000%.  This illustrates how the heat transfer material will error on the inside angles of the hot die due to heat build up between the two surfaces.

Photography Doug Laxdal, The Gas Company Inc., 2011


ACAD Imagination Arts Community

ACAD Imagination Arts Community
Design:  Bruce Mau Design
Print production: Guy Poulin and Doug Laxdal

This book is printed process litho with a fifth touchplate of black to bring up the shadows on the uncoated Mohawk Navaho stock.  The signatures are perfect bound french folded with slices of the cover's title graphics progressively crossing the fore edge of each french fold, creating the appearance of the title wrapping around the fore edge to the back cover.

snowlab logo

These are draft designs for the snowlab logo.  I'm getting close.

The snowman version isn't really on the table but it's kind of fun.

If I could remember what code I inserted to hide the comments I'd change it so I could hear some opinions. But I can't.
Snowlab equipment under development

How printing inks are made

See this beautifully shot film by Canadian craft ink supplier Rycoline, The Printing Ink Company.

Ink specialist Peter Welfare and his team at Rycoline formulate and manufacture inks primarily for litho printing.  In addition to a full lab facility, Rycoline is able to consult and advise on how to match colour, surface textures, as well as consulting on how to achieve consistent results with corporate brand colours on various stocks.  I also use Rycoline raw materials and advice in my experiments with letterpress and effects inks.

If you are a designer or otherwise involved in the graphic arts you should watch this to gain a more full knowledge of why ink choice is equally as important as the paper stocks or printing presses you choose to run your projects on.  Ink supplier choice is very important in lowering environmental impact as many commodity ink factories pay little attention to how these chemicals are handled and disposed of.


Tools of the trade

These are the most basic tools of the graphic arts, it won't matter how fast your computer is if you don't have these.  This photo shows my personal kit that resides on my cutting and light tables.  When you buy these items get the best ones you can find.  I keep my studio, car and home littered with these items just in case.

Stainless steel ruler.  An 18" for the desk and a 38" for the table.
Sharpie. The only pen required.
Olfa stainless mini knife. Beautiful feel and they last forever.
Folding bone. Manipulate papers without marking.
Pencil HB2. Sketch and erase.
Low tack 3M white masking tape. Duct tape for the studio.
3M Double sided tape aka Dtape.
Scoring matrix. Create mock ups without splitting the paper.
Big paper clips.  Ouch!
Scissors.  Cut anything
Betamag 12x viewer with light.  Never goes out of style.
Rubber cutting mat.

Amazing sign

I saw this sign in Shanghai.  These LED/laser cut acrylic signs were everywhere and looked amazing. I want to make one so bad.

Bell Runner Image

Photography Sandy Nicholson ©2012

This is a job for Bell Canada & Leo Burnett Advertising.  Photographed in studio by Sandy Nicholson.

This is a good example of a more simple job where timing, quality and cost are all factors.

Seen here is the initial comp layout, the raw shot with agency retouching comments, and the final image.

Electron Optics

Scanning Electron Microscopy

This project is part of Gas Labs.  These are photographs taken using a scanning electron microscope.  This device can magnify up to 300,000 times.  It uses electrons instead of light to capture an image.  The lens is a tunnel of magnets which bend the electrons the same way that glass does in a camera lens, kind of, it's more complicated than that but that's the general idea.

 * Thanks to George Kretschmann at the U of T Geology SEM lab for his much needed assistance.

The tip of the G in the Gas logo on the printing press plate seen above

Utopia Gloss printing stock at 500X

Utopia gloss printing stock at 5000X

Side by side Mohawk Superfine uncoated and Utopia gloss coated printing stocks
Aluminum flake pigment used in metallic ink

Utopia gloss printing stock at 1000X

The Scream

This book was produced for Pen Canada.  The book was produced by Neil Stewart, 11 ink scans and colour separations were produced by Doug Laxdal.

In this case the artist used a combination of watercolours, found pigments, and fluorescent paints to create the illustrations for the book.  The challenge was to reproduce the flourescent pigments using PMS 8000 series flourescent litho inks.  The images were scanned on a drum and colour separations were created manually with selections and masks.

The book was smythe sewn and case bound with a two colour foil stamped black cloth half wrap and a litho wrap cover.  The book includes a wrapped slip case, a watercolour paper giclee with a blind deboss, a letterpressed print contained in a blind debossed folder.


snowlab is a side project I've been working on for a few years.

I build microscopes and use them to photograph snowflakes.

Photography ©2011 Doug Laxdal/The Gas Company Inc.

Snowflake photography copyright 2011 Doug Laxdal