In keeping with the progressive nature of the HYPEBEAST platform as a whole, HYPEBEAST Magazine undergoes a visual overhaul every five issues, meaning that our next issue — Issue 11: The Restoration Issue — has been reimagined top-to-bottom to reflect the maturation of the publication since its inception in 2012. Here, we feature the final stretch between the magazine as a concept, and the magazine as a physical product. After four months of ideation, collecting and writing stories, proofreading, editing and designing, the final master file is sent to the printing press. To mark the third evolution of the magazine, we visited the printing press at the beginning of the production process to follow the realization of Issue 11 into its final physical form, and the many steps such an endeavor entails.
HYPEBEAST Magazine Issue 11: The Restoration Issue will launch at the end of this month for $12 USD at select stockists and newsstands worldwide.
Upon reaching the printing press, it is no longer possible to make any more editorial changes to the content. The master printer will recreate the colors of the pre-approved proof copy as accurately as possible using his years of expertise, in preparation for the magazine team’s visit to the press. On the day of the press check, press sheets — spreads from the final magazine — will be compared against the physical proof by the magazine team for the correct color balance and contrast. After the many minute changes have been made via the printer console and both parties are happy with the result, the magazine team will then approve the magazine for mass production.
For a medium that prides itself on its physicality, it comes as no surprise that the tactile dimension of the magazine is of utmost importance to the product as a whole. To elevate the magazine into something worth collecting, the next issue makes use of heavier, sturdier paper stock — the cover, which serves as a protective sleeve, will use the card-like 324gsm superfine smooth matte paper. Meanwhile, the body will use thinner 120gsm Japanese off-white woodfree uncoated paper, which provides a natural, matte touch and good strength while maintaining high brightness. This issue will also feature the fashion spreads in smaller inserts, which will use 95gsm glossy art paper consistent with high-end fashion magazines.
Utilizing a gargantuan Heidelberg sheet-fed offset printing machine capable of printing up to 10,000 press sheets per hour, the magazine is printed section by section and then stacked on the printing press floor to await the next stages of the process. Yielding finer print quality and accepting heavier paper weights than other printing techniques, the offset method uses several rollers through which the paper is fed, each one printing a single color — first cyan, then magenta, yellow and black — onto each pre-cut sheet. The first several sheets are regarded as wastage, as the printer must run longer for the highest quality prints.
Once all the sections are printed, they are then taken to another floor and fed into a folding machine. Resembling a highly mechanized magazine rack, the folding machine is adjustable to print anything from pamphlets and brochures, to magazines (obviously) and maps. In the mean time, the magazine covers are also laminated once they dry to achieve a slightly rubbery texture to protect against fingerprints.
The cover and different sections are then collated (collected and arranged) on the feeder rack of the binding machine in their final order. Spanning the length of the entire floor, the binding machine is capable of binding up to 28 different sections into a single book, but as it can only bind one publication at a time, the linear binding schedule must be precisely organized around this limitation to decrease the impact of missed print deadlines, and the possibility of creating a domino effect. When in operation, the machine zips the sections through the length of the machine and glues them to the inside of the spine to create a coherent book. Here, the perfect binding technique is favored where each section is stacked above the next.
Trimming the sides of the magazine is the last stage of print production. Although press sheets are optimized for the best alignment to minimize paper wastage, it is inevitable that there will be overhanging paper. As such, the bound issues are fed into a trimming machine, which mechanically trims the excess paper off the sides for perfect edge alignment. The paper waste is then fed down a tube to a compressor, and then transported to a recycling facility for processing. As for the magazine team, the entire cycle begins once again, with the next issue already underway and another visit to the printing press pencilled into the calendar for the not-too-distant future.