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CONSOLIDATED PRESS -- Landscapes in Print

March 2002
Capturing a sense of place and event on the printed page is often an important goal for graphic designers. From rock concert venues to battlefields to a city's cultural heritage, designers are asked to create designs that capture both a geographic locale, as well as a place in history. The Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) had this in mind when it set out to commemorate its new Millennium Park Garden.

To celebrate both the landscape of the new lake-front park and the unique architectural competition that led to its design, the DCA commissioned a commemorative art book to be sold in park gift shops and local bookstores. The Hennessy Design Group worked with the DCA to create "Constructed Ground: The Millennium Garden Design Competition."

The large-format book utilizes photo-graphy of the Millennium Park and architectural drawings submitted for consideration in a contest that was also sponsored by the DCA. The result is a book that captures the beauty of a real-world location and the ideas and talent that went into creating it. By allowing the garden space and designs to speak for themselves through sketches and photography, the design team created a timeless design on the printed page.

Hennessy Design proved that the depth of architectural design can be effectively conveyed on a printed page.

Clare Hennessy, who led in the design of the commemorative book, explains how "Constructed Ground" began. "It was important for this design to both memorialize the Millennium Park competition, as well as capture the essence of the finished park and gardens," she says.

"Creating texture and depth in the pages draws the reader into photographs. We chose an uncoated paper to give texture and dimension to the photographs of outdoor spaces. Our goal was to capture the warmth and depth you would feel walking through the Millennium Park on a sunny day."

Paper of Choice

Hennessy specified Domtar's Titanium Opaque 100-lb. cover and 100-lb. text in white for the book project. "I chose Titanium because it has great aesthetic appeal. The spectrum of light dances across the surface of the images, giving it movement and dimension. It was important for the project to exude both the light of the outdoors and the tactile properties of trees, grass and stone."

The tactile power of paper allowed for elaborate details, like the brightly colored cover images with contrasting text, to dramatically illustrate the book beyond simple illustration, according to Hennessy.

"By using an uncoated paper, the piece conveys the combination of culture and concept that was found throughout the actual competition and its gardens."

Using an uncoated stock was also essential to the black-and-white architectural sketches throughout the piece.

Hennessy worked with Consolidated Press, based in Elk Grove Village, IL, to print "Constructed Ground." The printer's objective was to communicate both the visual and tactile qualities of the book. It was essential that Consolidated highlight the premium quality of Hennessy's work, which would be demonstrated, literally, at the readers' fingertips. They looked to create eye-popping images, but also readable text.

Consolidated Press ran the four-color job on a 40˝ Komori sheetfed offset press. The printer also employed stochastic screening to bring out vibrancy and depth in the printed images.

"By applying the stochastic screening, our results were vibrant, crystal-clear photographic images and sketches free of screen rulings and angles or other interferences," notes Mark Jaskiewicz, production manager at Consolidated Press.

"Titanium Opaque made all the difference with this project," he adds. "We achieved excellent ink lay down and superior hold-out. The extra-fast dry time was also ideal. We didn't want to deal with the text spoiling an image or a sketch by bleeding through, so it was important to the printing of this piece that we use a strong opaque paper."

Jaskiewicz adds that there was no ink bleed through and that the images printed crisply and cleanly on the surface of the page. "It achieved the goals of this job perfectly."

The final launch of "Constructed Ground" was the stepping off point for a project that would stay with the city of Chicago for generations. "We hope that this design will draw people into the park, both as an actual place and as a creative idea," says Hennessy.

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