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.

Case Studies

  • Book Waste Book - Temporary Services (Half Letter Press: 2022)
  • Bruises - Samara Scott (Loose Joints: 2017)
  • Recorder - Miranda Lichtenstein (Loose Joints: 2021)
  • Scale & Substance - Tamsin Green (manual.editions: 2022)
  • Life After Plastics - Vitra Design Museum (V&A: 2022)
  • 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)


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 / 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


Samara Scott

(Loose Joints: 2017)

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/ 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)

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/ 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

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
  • Printed by Duplikat Press, London

Challenges/ Learning

  • Minimised paper waste through trimming by using a standard A3 size paper. 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 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
  • A bioplastic was used for the wrapping of the book, certified for home compost. A sticker is used to indicate to the consumer how the material should be handled after use

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/ Learning/ Next steps

  • 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


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 @generationpress
220 copies - litho printed black photography

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

Challenges / Learning

  • Partnering with the designer Sarah Boris @sarahboris_ldn 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 @generationpress 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.

Questions/ next steps:

  • 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)

Issues 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

Questions / Next Steps

  • 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 & 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


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

Using Format