On the morning that we crossed the border from China into Hong Kong we went to meet King Wang, my contact at Gold Printing, to collect the much anticipated sample of The Country that Shook.
The idea of having the book printed in China was quite a logical one as it was the next destination on our journey. But the reality of having to choose and liaise with a printer in a country that I’d never been to before, with no physical proof of the quality of their work was quite nerve wracking. I contacted a whole selection of printers from a website that listed ‘reputable’ book printers in China, but that also had a large disclaimer about not being liable for their work! Gold Printing seemed to be the obvious choice… Their prices were comparable to the other quotes I got, King’s English was great and his responses, support and reassurances in reply to my many questions were so helpful. He was also genuinely interested in the project itself and even shared the Kickstarter campaign on his Facebook page.
Anyway, everything culminated that Friday morning as we went to meet King at his office in Shenzhen. Beforehand I tried not to dwell too much on the prospect of what would happen if the quality wasn’t up to scratch… I’d cross that bridge if it came to it!
I needn’t have worried anyway, the book and the print were lying on the table as we arrived and both looked great! If anything they highlighted small things in the illustrations that I wanted to improve on, which was a good position to be in! As a designer of course there were things I would have liked to be done slightly differently… Perhaps a more tactile, uncoated paper at an even heavier weight. But those kind of things would be much more expensive to produce and, practically, would not be suitable for children; it would get dirty very easily! So it was a lesson in being practical too, and making the right decisions for that particular project.
King’s meeting room was a bit of a cave of wonders for me too. It was full of other books they’d printed and lots of packaging, particularly tea, with innovative closing methods and nice foiling detail. It was very reassuring to see their portfolio up close.