Case Studies

Insights into the materials and processes used, lessons learned, questions asked, and how things might be done differently next time. Thank you to all of the contributors for embracing this open knowledge sharing.

Edited by Tamsin Green

  • The Silent Land - Jesse Alexander  (VIKA: 2021)
  • Monsanto® -  Mathieu Asselin (Actes Sud / Verlag Kettler: 2017)
  • Curator Conversations - 1000 Words (1000 Words: 2021)
  • 67-P - Magdalena Wysocka / Claudio Pogo (PogoBooks: 2019)
  • Beyond Drifting - Mandy Barker (Overlapse: 2017)
  • Creative Climate Investigations - Climate & Cities (Folium: 2022)
  • Contranatura - João Pedro Lima (Selo Turvo: 2022)
  • re.source - The Sustainable Darkroom (Folium: 2022)
  • Book Waste Book - Temporary Services (Half Letter Press: 2022)
  • Scale & Substance - Tamsin Green (manual.editions: 2022)
  • Bruises - Samara Scott (Loose Joints: 2017)
  • Recorder - Miranda Lichtenstein (Loose Joints: 2021)
  • Life After Plastics - Vitra Design Museum (V&A: 2022)
  • Brooklyn Art Book Fair (2017 - )
  • Fastidiosa - Jean-Marc Caimi & Valentina Piccinni (Overlapse: 2022)
  • The Space Between Us - Ed Sykes (Self Published: 2021)
  • this is how the earth must see itself - Tamsin Green (manual.editions: 2021)
  • Kunywa Jasho Langu: Coffee Kenya - Jake Green (Leyton of London: 2018)
  • (Copy) 80. The Schwarze Mönch - Sayako Sugawara (Self Published: 2021)
  • Trinity - Oliver Raymond Barker (Loose Joints: 2021)

The Silent Land 
Jesse Alexander
(VIKA: 2021)

‘The Silent Land’ documents a plantation which grows on the remains of ancient lead works on the Mendip Hills in Somerset where, in 2016, a local man chose to end his life. Against the backdrop of seasonal change and the cycles that are observed over several years, the work explores the elegiac potential of the land and the memorializing act of photography. The book attempts to invite questions around the paradox of outdoor, ‘natural’ spaces – how these provide well documented benefits for health and wellbeing, but are often infused with pathos and melancholy, and are frequently the destination of choice for those seeking to end their lives.

Images © Jesse Alexander

Materials and Processes

  • Offset lithographic printing using vegetable-based inks (Heidelberg Speedmaster XL 75)
  • Paperbound with foiling
  • Cover: ‘Twist’ 290 gsm by G.F. Smith, Hull
  • Paper: ‘Heaven 42’ 135 gsm by G.F. Smith, Hull
  • Scanning by Photographique, Bristol
  • Design and publishing by VIKA Books, Bristol
  • Printed and bound by Taylor Brothers, Bristol
  • Size: 180 x 214 mm, 64 pages
  • Edition Size: 300 (signed and numbered)

Challenges and Learning

It was very important to me to produce a book with as minimal negative environmental impact as I could manage. If I was going to expend natural resources by publishing a photobook, then I was also not prepared to compromise on quality. My main strategy was to keep things as local as possible: the designer, reprographics, scanners and printers were all less than 20 miles away from me. A book of a similar specification could have been printed further afield for less, but I was a lot happier working with Taylor Brothers. They have been printing in Bristol since the 1830s, are Certified Carbon Balanced Printers by the Land Trust and have extensive experience of printing photobooks. For the end product, this avoided delivery costs and associated emissions – I was even able to collect the bound books and then pick my kids up from school.

Transporting, handling and distributing the book has mostly been done by myself, negating the need for individual wrapping (i.e. shrink-wrapping) and meaning I can ensure all packaging is fully recyclable – paper, cardboard and tape. The first 20 copies of the book were accompanied by a unique cyanotype print featuring the poem Remember by Christina Rossetti from which the book’s title derives. These prints were produced at home on watercolour paper from St. Cuthbert’s Mill in Wells, a few miles away.

Whilst we labored over whether to print digitally or lithographically, I have some regrets at not making a closer comparison of the ecological impacts of each process – in particular the amount of energy used. With that said, I was at least entirely satisfied with the quality of the lithographic process, which provided the necessary tonal depth for the darker images in the series.

Monsanto®, A photographic investigation
Mathieu Asselin
(Actes Sud / Verlag Kettler [1st Ed. only]: 2017)

Monsanto®'s dozens of Superfund sites ( large contaminated sites of high priority for the us Environmental Protection Agency ) across the United States alone are affecting hundreds of communities and their environment with terrifying health and ecological consequences. Monsanto® maintains strong ties with the us government, and especially with the FDA (United States Food and Drug Administration). It is a bedfellow with many other economical and political power houses around the world. The company engages in campaigns of misinformation, the persecution of institutions and individuals, including scientists, farmers and activists that dare to disclose its crimes. Monsanto® is spreading new technologies and products, while scientists, ecological institutions and human rights organizations are putting out alerts about issues like public health, food safety and ecological sustainability issues on which our future on this planet depends. This is all particularly troublesome since Monsanto® is entering a new chapter of disregard for our planet through the creation and commercialization of gmos. Looking at the company’s past and present, this project aims to picture what Monsanto® ’s near future will look like.

Book Design & Layout: Ricardo Báez

Images © Mathieu Asselin

Materials and Processes

1st Edition

  • Paper: Lessebo smooth white 150 g/m², F-Color smooth opal blue 120 g/m², Surbalin smooth white 115 g/m², Prestige Opak 65g
  • Printing: Offset printed by Druckerei Kettler, Germany
  • Binding: Smith sewn
  • Book size: 27 x 30 x 2 cm
  • Edition size: 1000 English, 2000 French

2nd Edition

  • Paper: Munken Lynx 130 g/m², 300 g/m²
  • Printing: Offset printed by Editoriale Bortolazzi, Italy
  • Binding: Perfect binding
  • Book size: 19.6 × 25.5 × 1.5 cm
  • Edition size: 3.000 Bilingual (French / English)

Newsprint Edition

  • Paper: Recycled (Newsprint) 50 g/m²
  • Printing: Newspaper Club, UK / Polska Press o/Poligrafia, Poland
  • Binding: Loose binding
  • Book size: 28.9 × 38 × 0.1 cm
  • Edition size: first edition (1.000) – reprint (500), second edition (4.000), third edition (1.000), fourth edition (1.000),  fifth edition (2.000), sixth edition (2.000), seventh edition (2.000)

Challenges and Learning

1st edition:  This was the first book for the photographer and there were no specific ecological considerations given to the physical qualities of the book object.

2nd edition: The primary goal of the second book was to extend the reach of the work through creating a more accessible and affordable version. This goal led the team to develop a smaller softback book that cost less to make,  used less paper, and utilized paper stock that was already in-house at the printer. With this edition a bilingual approach was taken to reduce the need for two separate versions of the book.

Newsprint edition: Printed by the Newspaper Club in the UK and distributed for free. The newspaper is printed on recycled paper stock.

When an emerging photographer works with a publisher on their first book there is often little scope to influence many aspects of the making of the book, including the ecological agenda. A balance also needs to be struck between the affordability of the book in order to get the work to an audience, and the often higher cost of ecological material choices. Across all of the different versions of this book, approximately  20,506 copies have been made. On future projects it would be desirable to work with the publisher and designer to develop an ecological approach that did not compromise the affordability of the book

Curator Conversations
1000 words
(1000 Words: 2021)

Curator Conversations is a collection of interviews with leading curators working within contemporary photography today. It offers precious insights into key modes of thinking behind the curatorial practices that have resulted in influential and landmark exhibitions at galleries and museums across the globe, including MoMA, Tate Modern, Pompidou Centre, Fotomuseum Winterthur, Finnish Museum of Photography, Zeitz MOCAA – Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, Instituto Moreira Salles and SCôP: Shanghai Center of Photography, among others.

  • Editor: Tim Clark
  • Copy Editor: Alex Merola
  • Design & Art Direction: Sarah Boris
  • Production Assistant: Louis Stopforth

Images © 1000 Words

Materials and Processes

Litho printed in the UK on FSC certified paper: 

  • Softback cover: Masterblank Lino 270gsm uncoated coverboard
  • Paper: FSC College Text 80gsm 138micron text paper
  • B Format standard trim size: 198 mm x 129 mm
  • Printed + perfect bound by Clays Ltd, Suffolk, UK

Challenges and Learning 

The book was seen as complementary to the digital content of the 1000 Words website. This allowed for the book to be focused on the text based content without the need for image reproductions. The small softback format enabled the book to be affordably printed in the UK. The book was made using the printers standard trim size and in-house materials. Using stock materials reduced the need for transportation as the materials are delivered in bulk to the printer, eliminating the need for multiple bespoke deliveries.

Magdalena Wysocka / Claudio Pogo
(PogoBooks: 2019)

A visual journey through a true deep space odyssey. 67-P is an abstract and subjective vision on European space agency’s photographic archive of the world famous Rosetta mission.

Images © PogoBooks

Materials and Processes

The book was printed with care for planet earth by using rice based risograph ink on an environmentally friendly paper:

  • Paper: Stone Paper by Rockpaper, made in Germany from 80% limestone
  • End Papers: Surbalin black 
  • Cover: Clothbound Iris linen embosssed with hotfoil 
  • Printing: Risograph printed on MZ770E by Outer Space Press
  • Ink: Rice bran oil, petrleum solvent, glycerol, carbon black, alkyd resin, water
  • Binding: Smyth Sewn with Black Thread on Brehmer 39 3/4
  • Size: 24x17cm / 191 Pages
  • Edition size: 151 1st edition, 151 2nd Edition

Challenges and Learning

A lot of the decisions we made while designing the 67–p book had to do with the topic of the book itself which is the famous Rosetta mission—a historic landing of a small space probe on a comet called 67–p. The archive of the mission is not only the impressive collection of 20.000 photographs, but also other types of data: encrypted text files and technical documentation of many devices with which the lander was equipped, including 3 cameras. The way this mission was documented gave us the idea of creating a colophon which documents the process of making the book in a similarly detailed way. Making an edition of 151 copies by hand is a slow and complex process even with 'regular’ materials, so creating this colophon gave us an excuse to really show how many details go into producing each copy. This info includes the time and power consumption through printing: riso printing time approx. 20hrs, human printing time 45hrs 35 mins, energy consumption 230V max 545 Watt. The odd number of 151 copies we have produced is also connected to the Rosetta story itself—it is the number of months that the mission lasted. 

Printing riso on stone paper was also quite a mission for our two sets of hands. Both editions are printed in an extremely complex way. The qualities of the rock paper required us to feed the sheets through the risograph one by one, as well as throwing extra sheets of paper in between prints to keep them from staining. Riso ink on this type of paper stays extremely wet in the very first few seconds when the sheets fall on top of each other. After printing the first edition we promised ourselves to never do it again, but the book was so warmly received that after it sold out we decided to go through the pain once more and print the second edition. 

We were instantly drawn to the stone paper because of the subject of the work and because we loved the fact that it is basically a product of post industrial waste. It felt like a coated paper stock, but it still allowed the ink to be absorbed under its surface and to dry. The combination of these two things allowed the risograph prints to have an extreme amount of fine details, which with typical paper stocks used for riso printing it's not possible to achieve. We wanted the photographs to look somewhat analogue, as they were originally transmitted from the space probe as text and then decrypted into images. The stochastic raster with which Risograph renders the images was perfect for that reason. Apart from these technical considerations and finding a paper stock made of actual stone to print a book about a stone, we loved the idea of printing this book with one of the most environmentally friendly printers on one of the most sustainable types of paper.

We faced many challenges, mostly in print, but binding was also not a piece of cake. Rock paper has no grain direction and it’s extremely heavy, so binding and handling it in bulk was surprisingly difficult. There is a difference between producing a few prints and printing an edition of 151 books each with almost 200 pages. Binding of the first edition was outsourced, as at the time our studio didn’t have the sewing machine or the hotfoil press yet. We were called to the bindery several times to talk through various issues resulting from the combination of the rockpaper and riso printing, as both have a reputation of being troublemakers in the bookbinding world. The second edition was made entirely by us, in house. We knew what to expect from the materials, so it felt easier, at least this time we had an understanding of what we were getting ourselves into.

Beyond Drifting
Mandy Barker
(Overlapse: 2017)

Beyond Drifting: Imperfectly Known Animals encapsulates in miniature the much larger environmental problems of an imperfect world. This work presents a unique collection of ‘plankton specimens’ related to pioneering discoveries made by naturalist JV Thompson in Cork Harbour during the 1800s. These recently found specimens are deceptive, however, and mysteriously conceal their true origin.

Images © Overlapse

Materials and Processes

Litho printed in the UK using soy-based vegetable inks: 

  • Greyboard case cover wrapped in Wibalin White Embossed Buckram 125gsm
  • Dust jacket: White recycled offset paper 120gsm (Printers in house stock) - litho printed
  • Interior Paper: Munken Polar Rough crisp white, 150gsm
  • Endpapers: Fedrigoni Sirio ultra black, 115gsm
  • Printed + bound by Pureprint Group, East Sussex, UK

Challenges and Learning 

Given the subject of Mandy’s work is concerned with marine plastic pollution, the use of single-use plastic was at very least minimised. The books were shipped unwrapped (other than the already aged-looking dust jacket) and for long-distance distribution minimally packed into boxes with paper padding when extra protection was required. This worked very well for us, and we didn’t receive any returns from transport damage.

Hand-sanding corners to make it look more worn and antique, we did 750 copies of these! Each one took about five minutes which we did in batches to keep up with orders.

For the second edition we decided to remake the book into a pocket-sized piece which was singer-sewn. This of course required much less paper for production, no glue (as for case-binding), and hardly any packaging for shipping as it was letter-sized. 

Overall, we felt that both editions were made in an ethical, sustainable manner which represented the concerns of the book concept. At the time of design and printing, although we made the most sustainable choices possible throughout the process, we didn’t overtly advertise the use of vegetable-based inks, etc, which we would be much keener to share now, with hindsight. We thought that the lack of plastic use, in particular, would be immediately apparent.

Creative Climate Investigations
Climate & Cities
(Folium: 2022)

Our inaugural book, Creative Climate Investigations, is the culmination of learnings, creative experimentations, and proposals from the past two years. Working with nine researchers on eight projects, we have explored various challenges at the nexus of the climate crisis and urban environments. Investigations were launched into global sports events, air quality, environmental effects on wellbeing, plastic, ecological impacts of datasets, trees, global dimming, and green spaces.

Images © Climate & Cities

Materials and Processes

All paper by PaperBack, recycled paper from a UK manufacturer, sourced at John Purcell in South London.

  • Paper: PaperBack Arden Silk 115gsm, Context Natural 115gsm, 
  • Cover: PaperBack Corona Bright Red 270gsm
  • Printing: 2/3 risograph and 1/3 digital printing
  • Binding: using an old 1950s threading machine
  • The cover will be Swiss Bound
  • Edition size: Dependent on current Kickstarter campaign

Challenges and Learning

We looked at applying the circular economy principles to the design (reducing waste and pollution, making things last, regenerating nature); and then, in parallel, looked at where fossil fuels are in the process and how we could remove this. The latter had a double side to it: a) the materials b) the carbon emissions of travel and energy use, which we are monitoring and reducing as early as possible

Inks can be one of the most toxic aspects of printing, and they proved to be one of the more challenging aspects of production in terms of sustainability. It is difficult to find information on pigments; paint manufacturers rarely produce the pigments themselves, and supply chains quickly become murky (if not untraceable) once you attempt to follow them. While digital printing ink is a form of liquid plastic, the stencil-and-ink risograph process can be realised with vegetable inks – though is sadly unsuitable for printing high-resolution colour photographs. As an image-heavy book, we had to carefully consider which pages did and did not require full colour, so we could ensure their suitability for risograph printing wherever possible. As a result, around ⅔ of the book is printed with vegetable inks, with the remaining ⅓ printed with digital petrochemical inks. 

A similar compromise was taken with the binding of the book; we chose a binding method that involves a small amount of PVA, but took steps to ensure that it is sewn in with thread rather than directly glued in order to reduce contamination during the process of recycling.

Another consideration is the size of the book; though it is clear that a larger book would require more paper to print, a less obvious consideration is that a book manufactured at a non-standard size can produce excess offcuts. We wanted to ensure that we were printing at a scale that was compatible with Folium's existing machines; as a result, the size of our book is a direct reflection of the machines that we are using to print: everything down to the size of the bleed has been refined to use as much of the procured paper as possible.

It was a lot of conversation, and understanding our priorities was quite a key element. We approached this book as a research project itself, and we collaborated with our publisher Folium on this, which was truly fantastic.

João Pedro Lima
(Selo Turvo: 2022)

The project consists of a series of photographs that went through the process of rephotographing the photographer João Pedro Lima's own archive. Made during 02 years of isolation in the mountains of Serra da Cantareira and in the artist's studio in São Bernardo do Campo, the book is a collection of these graphic experiments that an image can deliver: the photographed moment, the revelation with expired chemicals, the reproduction of the image by enlarging and the whole process repeated several times. The artist's investigation of space, the fears and anxieties that a forest at night can bring to light.

Images © Selo Turvo

Materials and Processes

Inkjet and screen printing on FSC certified and recycled papers all made in Brazil

  • Paper (body): BO Paper Cold Ivory 90g/m²
  • Paper (body) Fedrigoni Color Plus Roma 80g/m², Color Plus Los Angeles 120g/m²
  • Paper (cover):  Fedrigoni F Card Brown 250g/m² made with 100% recycled fibre
  • Inkjet printed with an EcoTank Epson printer by the Publisher
  • Edition of 125

Challenges and Learning

Contranatura was printed in our studio in Brazil, from the inkjet interior to the silkscreen cover. It also passed through the hands of the bookbinder Luciana Prado for the final finishing. Thus, opening a conversation between the object and the human touch, without using machines - besides the home printer - to have a book. A search for what can be a sustainable book.

Inkjet printing was chosen because inkjet technology can be up to 90% more energy efficient than laser technology. We use an Epson EcoTank printer in our studio that has water based ink

It's really hard to find sustainable materials locally, especially paper. Of course we want to work with papers like Munken but we have a big problem here. We have only one printer locally that has Munken and other environmentally-friendly papers and they don't sell these to anyone else because of the monopoly business. They will also only print your book using offset if you make up to 1,000 copies. So they have the most environmental paper in their stock, but you have to print a lot of copies to use them.

Local book deliveries are made by hand. National and International deliveries are shipped in a kraft box with plastic bubble wrap. We’re looking to buy biodegradable bubble wrap for our next publications, mostly because our books are very fragile. But it's still a very expensive material and our book prices are very low as we like them to be accessible. This is a real problem for us, how do we ship our books using ecological materials in an affordable way?

We found it very hard to find information in the beginning about how to approach sustainable book making. How to find paper, how to bind the book in a handmade way and things like that. We certainly have much more to learn, but we want to share this information with our public and anyone who cares about how to make books with a more sustainable approach

The Sustainable Darkroom
(Folium: 2022)

re·source is the third publication from the Sustainable Darkroom. Featuring nearly 200 pages of essays, recipes, experiments, images, and research from our network of practitioners worldwide, re:source is our largest publication yet - and the most extensive collection of writing on sustainable photographic practice to date.

Images © The Sustainable Darkroom

Materials and Processes

Litho printed in the UK with bio based inks on recycled paper stocks:

  • Paper (Body): Revive Offset 90gsm, 100% PCW
  • Paper (Cover): Paperback Context / Birch, 80% de-inked pulp
  • Printed by Martins the Printers Ltd
  • Binding and cover printing by Folium
  • Edition of 500 + Digital PDF

Challenges and Learning

Litho printing was chosen because the process uses bio inks. This process is typically used for book runs over 500 due to the high set-up costs of the metal printing plates. The book was printed on Revive Offset, a paper that the printer had in stock and therefore did not require an additional delivery.  Folium advised that the most sustainable way to assemble the book was to maximise the number of pages per signature which resulted in 6x 32 page signatures.

There was a very conscious choice to make the book in the UK and to think about transportation. The book was printed in the North of England in Berwick-Upon-Tweed, and then delivered by Palletforce to the publisher in London. The binders used second hand equipment to risograph print the covers and bind the books. A cargo bike was borrowed to pick up the books in London and take them to the place of distribution.

Temporary Services 
(Half Letter Press: 2022)

This publication by Temporary Services extends ideas explored in our earlier booklets Publishing in the Realm of Plant Fibers and Electrons and What Problems Can Artist Publishers Solve? Here we consider the various kinds of waste that are generated by making books, how we attempt to avoid wasteful ways of working, and suggested practices that others might consider.

Images © spp network

Materials and Processes

Risograph printed on recycled paper:

  • French Paper, Niles, MI: Newsprint Extra White 100% recycled paper (booklet)
  • Risograph printed on EZ390-U, Chicago IL and Fort Wayne, IN (booklet)
  • Cover printing by Mission Press, Franklin Park, IL
  • Union Bindery, Chicago > collation, folding, stapling, trimming
  • 594 copies + DIGITAL PDF

Challenges and Learning

When printing on a RISO the first prints will always be the most saturated with liquid ink and are generally too dark to use (15-20 pages) We overprint these test sheets with different print jobs until the ink starts to get too thick (around 8 different print jobs). These test sheets have accumulated the history of things we have made with the machines and document our waste. Two of these sheets are bound inside this publication and are drawn from a variety of different paper stocks from many sources.

Printed on "8 1/2 x 11” sheets / half letter size, untrimmed except for the face edge. It is easier to find bargins on overstock or discontinued letter-sized paper than the larger tabloid size.

The cover was digitally printed by Mission Press. The full-bleed covers were printed two-up on 12 7/8” x 18” paper, resulting in a trim of everything beyond the total dimensions of 11” X 17” for two covers. Mission Press is located about 9 miles from our Chicago studio.

Union Bindery is located approximately 7 miles from our Chicago studio. They saved all of the extra interior pages and covers (approximately 100 sheets total) so that we can use them if we do a reprint. Test prints and damaged pages from our own RISO printing were either recycled or saved for overprinting and collating into a future edition.

It takes 3 gallons of water to make one piece of paper, 36 gallons for this book. Print runs of 600 = 21,600 gallons. Water consumption offset for 15,000 gallons of water through installation of two dual flush toilets.

Scale & Substance 
Tamsin Green
(manual.editions: 2022)

This text based publication features writing by Eugenie Shinkle, Tamsin Green, Ursula K. Le Guin, and an interview with the artist by Photofusion Director Kim Shaw. These texts and accompanying drawings and photographs explore the multifaceted meaning of the words Scale and Substance.

Images © manual.editions

Materials and Processes

Small handmade edition of 120 soft-cover concertina books. Risograph printed locally on recycled and FSC certified paper stock using plant based inks:

  • Fenner: Colorset & Echo
  • GF Smith: Colourplan
  • Claire Fontaine: Standard colour paper
  • Risograph printed by Duplikat Press, London

Challenges and Learning

I wanted to explore using a standard size sheet of paper to see if paper waste through trimming could be eliminated. The resulting book was made of eight sheets of standard A3 paper, folded and sewn together to create a 1.8m long concertina book. This necessitated careful transportation of the printed pages as the full sheets were used in the final book. Transportation distances were minimised by working with a printer 1.5 miles from where the books were assembled, bound and distributed. The printed pages were protected with cardboard and wrapped in paper by the printer for transportation.

The concept of the book was the creation of a ‘greyscale’ through 8 different shades of grey paper. Sourcing these was a challenge and the best that could be done with the printers supply chain was 100% recycled material for half of the paper stock, all others are FSC certified.

The book was entirely risograph printed. The risograph (or 'riso') is a digital stencil duplicator, released in japan in the 1980s. The riso produces stencil paper prints using a unique range of spot colour plant based inks. I chose this printing method for it's eco credentials as well as it's imperfect printing aesthetic especially when printing on textured papers. 

Plastic free biodegradable packaging was used to post the books. The riso printed soft cover of the books is delicate and so the books are wrapped in a bioplastic. This is a home compostable & biodegradable film made from sustainably sourced woodpulp.  A sticker is used to indicate to the consumer how the material should be handled after use. The books are then posted in a book wrap, an FSC certified, recyclable cardboard.

Samara Scott
(Loose Joints: 2017)

Bruises is the first book of photographs by the British artist and sculptor Samara Scott. Taken from the artist's archive of 35mm half-frame images, Bruises unfolds over six years in which Scott used the camera as a form of 'sampling' the world, footnotes to feedback into her artistic practice.

Image © Loose Joints

Materials and Processes

Offset printed, softcover with embossed plastic dust jacket:

  • Printed by Kopa, Lithuania
  • Plastic jacket made by an engravers in the UK and then creased and applied by hand

Challenges and Learning

Approx. 3000km journey of the materials within Europe to reach the printer and then on to the warehouse - we are actively looking for ways to reduce supply chain transportation

Plastic library sleeve used for the dust jacket - we wouldn't use plastic now

The printer in Lithuania  was not eco certified, and none of the papers were FSC certified - we now insist on this with every book that we produce

Miranda Lichtenstein
(Loose Joints: 2021)

Densely-layered experiments with abstraction reveal a submerged world of recycled shapes and depths.A singular artwork, derived from disposable plastic carrier bags, serves as a departure point for three intertwined photographic series.

Image © Loose Joints

Materials and Processes

Embossed softcover with double-folded cover, section sewn. Offset printed on all recycled and FSC certified paper stocks:

  • Paper: IBO One, Recystar Natur, Oxygen Silk, Mirabel GD1
  • Printed by Robstock, Amsterdam

Challenges and Learning

Transportation within the supply chain reduced to approx. 300km for the materials within Europe to reach the printer and then on to the warehouse

Books stored in the Netherlands close to the printer, and where they are shipped to America. Especially important for an American artist like Miranda

A bioplastic was used for the wrapping of the books, as an alternative to single-use plastic, provided by the printers at our request

Life after Plastics
The Vitra Design Museum
(V&A: 2022)

1. View of books currently on display in the V&A Photography Gallery, mounted on standard Perspex cradles

2. A standard Perspex cradle

3-4. The V&A Conservation Team making alternative cradles from mountboard and fabric

Images © Victoria & Albert Museum, London

Materials and processes

A book display cradle developed as an alternative to travelling perspex cradles for the exhibition Life after Plastics, at The Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein, 26 March – 4 September 2022

  • Made from recycled mount board
  • Covered in textile using EVA glue

Challenges and Learning

Making the mountboard cradles durable for transportation meant covering them in a coated textile, which was not recycled and is not recyclable

The glue required to attach the textile to the board had to be an EVA glue, which is the conservation equivalent of PVA glue. The starch paste that would have been a more sustainable option was not strong enough to hold the textile to the board

3D printing could allow for cradles to be made in a more environmentally friendly way in future. Reducing transportation by printing the cradles in the location where the books are being displayed

The conventions around displaying books and the idea of books being displayed as if they're almost floating within a display case is something that we need to reframe and re-think to address sustainability

Brooklyn Art Book Fair

New York (2017-)

BKABF started as a "what-if" and has become an inspiration that a book fair can support its vendors, rather than burdening them with the costs of production. The fair first began in 2017 with a desire to make the artworld more accessible by providing free tables to all vendors and redistributing surplus fundraising to those who need it most. The fair has created non-competitive spaces for independent publishers and artists to flourish, while also providing much needed support in a field that is not necessarily lucrative.

Images © Daniel Wang


Creating a community and distribution opportunities for those who didn't have them:

  • 40 or 45 vendors
  • No fee to participate
  • Fee given to publishers who made less than $200 - 300 to pay for their transportation and costs of participating


How do we keep it impactful to the vendors without having it become too overwhelming for the public? How do we make our effort have as large an impact as possible for as many people as possible?

The number of participants was restricted for each fair, and the intention was never to grow to hundreds of publishers

Fees were given for participation in the fair as a way of valuing different forms of labour within the community

Jean-Marc Caimi and Valentina Piccinni
(Overlapse: 2022)

An unfiltered, personal and intense account of Xylella, the plant epidemic that threatens Europe; Fastidiosa is the result of Caimi + Piccinni photographing the plight of local farmers and environmental devastation in Puglia, southern Italy, over a period of six years.

Images © Jean-Marc Caimi and Valentina Piccinni

Materials and Processes
Offset printed on a range of recycled and sustainably sourced papers:

  • Printed on Fedrigoni: Arena, Materica, and Woodstock
  • Dust jacket: Geltex by Guarro Casas 

Edition of 750, section sewn exposed binding. 


Geltex is a stain and scratch resistant paper, minimising damage through handling.

The photographers processed their films in an olive oil mill in Puglia.

The Space Between Us
Ed Sykes
(Self Published: 2021)

The eerie reality of London during Covid pandemic. Shot on an infrared camera showing a new normality and an increased sense of fear and the unknown.

Images © Ed Sykes

Materials and Processes

Litho printed on recycled paper by B Corp certified Generation Press

220 copies - litho printed black photography

  • Body: Fedrigoni Woodstock Azuro 140gsm
  • Cover: Fedrigoni Woodstock Azuro 285gsm
  • PUR binding

Challenges and Learning

Partnering with the designer Sarah Boris brought insight into opportunities for sustainable paper and printing processes, resulting in the use of recycled paper stock

As it was black ink on blue paper there was no way to preview on-screen beforehand. It was by proof and only a few due to cost and the desire to minimise waste. My judgement on file prep and Paul's expertise at Generation Press meant it went smoothly

this is how the earth must see itself
Tamsin Green
(manual.editions: 2021)

‘this is how the earth must see itself’ uses the Ordnance Survey (OS) mapping system and symbols to explore the English coastline. Using a combination of archival material, open source data and photographs, the project follows the five rock features as a guide. 

Images © manual.editions

Materials and Processes

Printed on HP indigo a few miles from the studio space where the books were made and stored. Small edition of 58 copies. Local and/or recycled paper stocks used where possible, all papers made in GB:

  • GF Smith Naturalis 120gsm 
  • GF Smith Zen 120gsm
  • GF Smith Extract 380sgm: A zero waste FSC certified paper made from recycled coffee cups
  • Eco Recycled Brown Kraft Paper 130gsm: made from 100% recycled paper pulp

Handmade edition of 58 books, signed and numbered by the artist.

Challenges and Learning

Is imported recycled paper more environmentally friendly than locally made paper from virgin fibres?

The design of the phase box produced a lot of off-cuts. Next time I would look to minimise this > I’m going to be finding uses for orange card for a long time to come!

Kunywa Jasho Langu: Coffee Kenya
Jake Green
(Leyton of London: 2018)

The photo-documentary series observes Colombia’s coffee industry, processing, its epic landscape, local culture and communities (‘Beber Mi Sudor’ translates to'Drink My Sweat'). Part of Jake Green’s on-going documentary project about speciality coffee production, global trade and the movement of coffee. 

Images © Leyton of London

Materials and Processes

1000 copies - litho printed full colour photography:

  • Screen printed cover on GF Smith Forest Green Colorplan 170gsm
  • Lose bound with a red elastic band
  • Main book
  • Arctic Volume White 130gsm by Arctic 
  • Insert on Extract 130gsm by GF Smith- Produced in the UK
  • Poster printed on Edixion Offset 80gsm by Antalis - wood free uncoated
  • Cover screen printed by Make Ready (London)
  • Printers Park Communications (London)

Challenges and Learning

The Extract by GF Smith is made from recycled coffee cups and suited the project - but on closer inspection the balance is made up of 80% virgin ECF paper

The uncoated and unsealed cover in Colorplan scratches easily and led to undesirable waste

The books were packaged in cardboard cartons and shipped globally without using any plastic, we haven’t recorded any damage to stock, maximum shipment was 250

Though the binding is very elegant and negates the use of glue, it is replaced by an elastic band - which is hard to source from anywhere but China

(Copy) 80. The Schwarze Mönch
Sayako Sugawara
(Self Published: 2021)

(Copy) 80. The Schwarze Mönch is a photocopied artist book; a journey through a found set of photographic glass plates.

Images © Sayako Sugawara

Materials and Processes

A photocopied book on recycled materials:
Edition of 15 Printed, bound and signed by the artist

  • Book: Redeem 130gsm / 315gsm 
  • Slipcase: Cairn Multiboard - Grey/White 350gsm, Card - Redeem 315gsm

Challenges and Learning

Is photocopying a sustainable method?

Next time I would consider designing the book in a way that there are as little offcuts as possible.

Oliver Raymond Barker
(Loose Joints: 2021)

Trinity by British artist Oliver Raymond Barker explores the complex histories embedded in the fabric of the land and engages with narratives around spirituality, protest and control. 

Images © Loose Joints

Materials and Processes

Printed on HP indigo in the UK, small edition of 250 copies (200 standard & 50 Special). Recycled paper stocks used where possible, using companies like Paperback:

  • Paperback Loop Snow 118gsm
  • Paperback Cairn Straw White 120gsm
  • GF Smith Max White Matt 150gsm
  • GF Smith Neenah Environment Birch 90gsm
  • GF Smith Colorplan Imperial Blue & Claret 120gsm
  • Winter & Co. Wibalin Natural Dove Grey 120gsm

Hand bound in UK by Piotr Jarosz, of I Make Books

Challenges and Learning

Recycled stocks are becoming harder to source with many mills going bust.

Using Format