The Off-Beat exhibition, on show at The John Rylands Library in Manchester from 8 September 2016 to 5 March 2017, showcases a range of examples of early self-publishing, including the print techniques and materials that the ‘International Underground’ of 1960s artists, poets, philosophers, actors and musicians used to publish their art and literature.
These ‘Little Magazines’, as they were known, were often printed in small low cost runs using a stencil-based forerunner of the modern photocopier known as a mimeograph, these were published to highlight the literary work of new and non-mainstream writers.
The exhibition has been commemorated by design studio Design LSC, with a series of printed materials celebrating the Off-Beat’s raw and retro appeal. British Master Papermaker James Cropper, renowned for their unique skills in colour-matching papers to order, were approached to help produce the pack. The papers used to create the reproduction prints, postcards and bookmarks were selected from the mill’s ‘Kendal Manilla’ collection in a range of weights and ‘heritage’ colours.
Luigi Carnovale, Creative Director at Design LSC, said: “We often look to use papers in a way that challenges the norm. We chose Kendal Manilla because we felt it evokes a sense of that period, the colour working perfectly to complement the art and literature of the 1960s and 70s when academics and artists would take to the streets of London and challenge the order of the day. We wanted to push this idea further by using a ‘lost’ printing technique from that era –thermography – which resulted in a textured, high gloss finish.”
“The print technique is rarely seen these days, but the highly calendared finish of Kendal Manilla makes it a perfect partner for thermographic printing. It’s a classic paper, but it still has a very modern appeal. The same effect could not have been achieved if, for example, we had used a more natural surfaced stock.”
Nick Shepherd, UK Sales Director at James Cropper, added: “Often considered the benchmark for stationery and filing, Kendal Manilla is typically used for files and indices, presentation folders and garment tags, so it’s great to see the paper being used in such an artistic fashion. The commemorative Off-Beat pack perfectly demonstrates how, when used in the right way, the paper can elevate the everyday into the inspirational.”
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