O L I V I A   S T R E T T L E

Testing Stock
Thursday 7th April 2022

As part of my research, I have been looking at a lot of photobooks over the past few months to get a feel for the stock types and how it influences the experience of viewing. Depending on the project theme and the images that are included on the page, the texture and weight of the paper corresponds with the meaning of the images- it subtly hints at the meaning in a physical way. ‘The Whole House is Shaking’ by Thomas Duffield is a project that explores family relationships and childhood connections. The images are quiet and considered, supported by the light weight stock - almost seethrough, and the sheet of delicate tracing paper bound into the book.

Over the past few months, I have gained a lot of experience seeing what the university print bureau has to offer in terms of paper. They have a really good selection and a large variety of weights, each complimenting every photo book I have produced previously. However, for my final project I wanted to reach out to external companies and broaden my ideas. Although the bureau has around 20 different stock types it was quite limiting as I tend to use the same 2 or 3 for each project. I ordered many samples from G.F Smith ranging in colours from a perfect bright white to a textured recycled brown. It took me many months to decide on my final stock and I’m really happy with what I chose. ‘Gmund Bier’ in the colour ‘Weizen’ is what I decided on for my cover and ‘Cranes Lettra’ in ‘Pearl White’ for the inside pages. However, after printing dummy books in this stock I realised that cranes Lettra, although a beautiful, luxurious stock, was way too soft for the dark images I was printing. It was fading the black and the cotton like texture of the paper show through a lot, distorting the image. After many tests I decided to go back to my favourite for the inside pages which is Zen by G.F smith. It has a subtle texture And slight sheen to the page however isn’t overwhelming and still has that old and worn feel. It also helps with the quality of the images as with Zen they now appeared high quality, smooth and made the colours vivid.

Overall, if I hadn’t been testing out stock types for the past few months I probably wouldn’t have expanded my knowledge on what other companies have to offer as well as stepping out of my comfort zone and trying paper that I typically wouldn’t have initially chosen but realised it really benefits the imagery.


Find out more from G.F Smith here -https://gfsmith.com

               Images of stock tests