Monday, October 3, 2011

Assembling a Portfolio

After a long and troubling process of finding out how I will assemble my portfolio, things last week finally fell into place. The main issue I had was the printing of the portfolio. Originally I was going to print one continuous long portfolio and then fold the document into an accordion. The accordion would then be glued together to form a book. That process turned out to be too costly and hard to locate an 11" wide plotter. 
13x19" Canon iX6520
The next method was to reduce the document in size and print it off on sheets of 12x18, but this turned out to be highly expensive method... some printing shops quoting me $6.99 a sheet. So I decided to BUY a printer outright, which actually turned out to be the most cost effective method so far. 
So I bought a 13x19" printer by Canon that was on sale at Canada Computers. One issue with buying a printer was that I had to buy 1600 sheets of the 13x19 paper! From a cost point of view buying 20 sheet packages was 27 times more expensive than buying 1600 sheets... so a carton of paper I ordered. In all, after buying the paper and printer I will recover all the costs in only about 4 printed portfolios. Not bad for 4 portfolios and now I have a printer that prints awesome sizes. 
To construct the book style portfolio I began of course by printing all 45 pages of my portfolio. That took no time and looks awesome once I found the plot settings in Photoshop. (always check this out, it makes a huge difference. Colours went from a close reproduction to being an exact reproduction from the screen). 
The next step is to painstakingly fold each page exactly in half. Something that is easier said than done. The repetitive folding can bore you to death. 
After folding all the sheets of paper I created a jig so that when I assemble the portfolio each page will be perfectly in line with the next. After the jig I also created the gluing zone for all the sheets. I covered the entire table in newspaper, elevated the gluing area and put up spray barriers around the glue zone. The elevated barriers help keep the misting glue from traveling everywhere. 3M Super 77 is great stuff, but it coats everything in a sticky film. Ideally one should do this outside, but with the awkward jig and the fact it was raining today forced me to stay indoors. 
Folded Portfolio
Each page is glued on one blank side and placed (hopefully perfectly) on the following page. Spraying and assembling took about an hour. I figured a way to achieve a more symmetrical gluing process by gluing batches of sheets together. This allowed me to keep the book relatively straight. The slight offset nature of the pages will be hidden by the 1/4" bleeds I printed with. 
Using my old sketch books to compact the whole package
After all the gluing I had my finished portfolio... sort of. I still need to put the cover on, but I failed to consider how thick the document would be. The thickness doesn't allow me to fold a 13x19 around the booklet. I'll have to get that printed a print shop for an extra cost... learn as I go. 
The finished booklet though looks great. The wide format images and the vibrant colours work perfectly at the larger scale. Once the cover is glued into place I'll have the booklet chopped at a printers to the right size. Once its at the right size I will post what the finished document looks like. 

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