There is certainly no lack of complex and astounding projects manufactured by Hong Kong/China print players. But non-disclosure agreements often put the kibosh on discussions that PW is interested in having about the intricacies involved in such projects or the approval process, tedious as it is, for a specific book, which somehow gets lost in the urgency to create and deliver the next project. Here are several amazing examples that managed to make it to the page:

Accidentally Wes Anderson

The Imago team collaborated with Hachette Book Group USA on this 368-page case-bound book featuring filmmaker Wes Anderson’s visual adventures. “Reproducing the stunning photography with such vivid color palettes was difficult with CMYK inks,” says Imago’s president and CEO, Howard Musk, whose team came up with an inappropriate ICC profile for uncoated paper and then tweaked the magenta and yellow inks to make it work. “Add printing on an uncoated paper, and the challenges mounted.” This book went on to win the Books category in the 50 Books/50 Covers 2020 competition organized by the American Institute of Graphic Arts.

Designed by Apple in California

Artron was one of the three printers short-listed to produce this photo book chronicling 20 years of Apple design. “Files were sent to all three candidates—in China, the U.K., and the U.S.—for test printing, and our printing quality won the day,” says overseas sales director Jim Gao, whose team carried out the project in utmost secrecy per the non-disclosure agreement. “The real challenge was in mass producing the title, where Apple imposed strict requirements, such as setting the trim size tolerance to within 0.375mm, when the usual standard for fine books is between 0.5mm and 1mm. We ran a multitude of tests for at least six months before the actual printing.” The book, available in two different sizes, has eight-color printing using customized inks on paper with gilded matte silver edges.

The Potala Palace

This book showcases Artron’s wide-ranging work on anything arts-related, including digital asset management for Chinese artists and high-fidelity replication services of calligraphy, paintings, and artwork. Here, the team spent nearly four years photographing and scanning cultural relics and artwork—some of which are never shown to the public—stored in the Potala Palace in Tibet. “While the preprinting process was long, tedious, and exacting, the actual printing of this 400-page book was rather straightforward, predominantly focusing on bringing the colors of the objects to life so as to bring the reader closer to the subject matter,” says Gao, of Artron.

What Happened to You?

For this Oprah Winfrey/Bruce D. Perry bestseller, the Imago team worked alongside book packager Melcher Media and publisher Pan Macmillan. “The cased edition was bound using an untextured imitation cloth and wrapped with a four-color jacket with embossing and lamination to the underside to add strength. The content pages were printed in two colors on uncoated paper,” says Musk, adding that both editions were produced with a full FSC chain of custody and that printing was done in Asia and Europe simultaneously to meet global distribution schedules.