[Alyson Kuhn] Blurb, the publishing platform that “enables anyone to design, publish, share and sell bookshop quality books,” has just launched their ProLine. The new line is actually a set of super-premium materials available for use on any Blurb book — most notably luxurious, thick pages available in two finishes. Mohawk Fine Papers partnered with Blurb in selecting the two papers for the ProLine, so we thought our readers might appreciate a bit of backstory.
The book shown above is printed on medium-gloss Pearl, Blurb’s name for Mohawk proPhoto. The name “proPhoto” perfectly sums up the paper’s purpose: to digitally reproduce photography to the highest professional standard. Introduced only last year, proPhoto was instantly heralded by the creative community. “Pearl” describes the luster of the finish (rather than the color of the sheet). The paper’s caliper is a robust 7.5 pt. It feels — and performs — exactly like paper used for fine photographic prints. Its tonal range holds color faithfully and consistently, with outstanding opacity.
ProLine Uncoated is 100# text, heavier than many coffee-table books.
Mohawk loyalists will instantly guess — or perhaps divine — what grade Blurb is offering as ProLine Uncoated. Yes, it’s Superfine, long loved by artists, photographers, designers and readers around the world. Blurb selected Superfine White Eggshell, a perfectly neutral, slightly soft white. We describe it as bookish yet modern; not over-bright, not too creamy and very easy on the eyes. Its eggshell finish has a slight tooth, making the page feel even thicker. It takes ink superbly, from fine type to rich solids, including velvety black.
At Blurb, customization is key. Since launching the company in 2005, founder Eileen Gittins and her creative team have continually sought ways to make Blurb’s publishing platform more versatile, more affordable and more rewarding for authors and artists alike. Now, the ProLine offers professional-grade materials that will elevate the look and feel of any Blurb book for a minor upcharge. It’s a remarkable option, whether you’re producing an edition of one, a set of many or a retail offering. In the ProLine, Mohawk papers are encased in tactile fabric covers with understated linen-textured endsheets.
Eileen Gittins describes three main categories of Blurb customers: People doing a fun book to share with friends and family; people producing a promotional platform to drive additional business to themselves; and people who want to make money, either by selling their Blurb books or by using them as a marketing vehicle. But you don’t have to choose door 1, door 2 or door 3 … there is plenty of overlap, from brand books and portfolios to academic projects for students of all ages.
iPhone/iPad users: View the video here.
Alanna MacGowan published Eat/Gather to document her MFA thesis project.
The Gather in the title Eat/Gather does not refer to foraging, but to sharing recipes, meals and cultural traditions. Via Blurb, Alanna MacGowan was able to unify her three handmade books into a single professional-looking volume that satisfied an academic requirement and honored her family and provided a resource for various audiences (Japanese-Americans, foodies, other academics) who would otherwise never have had access to this lovely story.
What better enticement — and excitement — can there be for a young reader, than to see his or her own words and pictures in a real book? Each child in Rebecca Kee’s class took home a personal yearbook.
Back to the ProLine: Listen below to photographer Dan Milnor enthuse about his preview of Blurb’s new offering. Our favorite bit is near the end, when he says, “These papers have been thought out … and Mohawk, Mohawk’s been around. If I may speak for photographers: We want everything, we want it now, we want every option under the sun. … It’s pretty nice to see these things coming.”
iPhone/iPad users: View the video here.
Dan Milnor, who shoots primarily in black and white, is a veteran Blurbophile.
Tom O’Connor, CEO of Mohawk, adds, “Print designers have been intrigued by the potential of short-run publishing for brand books, client presentations and their own personal storytelling. But they are often stopped by the generic quality of most books on offer. Having beautiful, professional-level Mohawk papers available will open up a new range of possibilities to the creative community. We’re thrilled to be a part of it.”