APP1: Printing the final Land Speed Record posters

For this blog post I will be discussing the process behind the printing of my two Land Speed Record posters. Previously, I had discussed about which paper to get, choosing the Epson Professional A2 lustre photo paper as I felt it would work best with the Epson 3880 printers available at college for me to print on.

To ensure the chance of making mistakes was greatly minimised, I asked my tutor for some help with choosing the correct settings along the way, as printing is not something I specialise in. Below is an image of the settings that are suitable for printing with. While I printed Golden Arrow first, this does show Thrust SSC, which I’ll discuss later on.


After the first test print, while I was very pleased with the quality of the printing, I found on closer inspection the colours were too washed out, which was annoying as it took away some of the appeal of the poster, as it lacked that brightness and contrast that would catch the eye of the audience first. The reasoning for this lies in the nature I had never used this paper before, and could not do a test print beforehand due to the size of the paper and even if I print it at a smaller size on cartridge paper, with the other printer being a laser, it would oversaturate the colours.


After a discussion with a tutor and a peer, we all agreed that a touch more contrast and vibrancy needed to be added to the final piece. I decided this could be achieved in a few small steps.

The first step was to change the gradient, making the blues slightly darker, with less cyan in the CMYK mix. This would prevent it from being too pale. To achieve the contrast, I added a vignette to the top of the sky, as is visible in a photo where a graduated filter is used.

We also had all agreed that the type, while perfectly visible, did not make a strong enough impression on the page. Therefore I increased the opacity of the layer from 60% to 70%.

Screen Shot 2013-12-07 at 14.34.16
60% opacity.
Screen Shot 2013-12-07 at 14.34.55
70% opacity.

Another change that I felt could be made was to add a Curves adjustment layer. While the effect would only be minor, as I did not want to overcompensate, it would help to create additional contrast, especially for the blacks and blues.

Screen Shot 2013-12-07 at 14.35.18

The final change I wanted to make was with regards to the shadow of the vehicle, which I originally wanted to be very pale so it was not noticeable, but looking at the test print, it was not noticeable enough, being practically invisible. It was also too thin. So this needed fixing, so I edited the Blending Mode of the shadow layer from Overlay to Multiply, before reducing the opacity to 10%. I also used the Free Transform Tool to stretch the shadow further down to make it a bit wider. I then moved the dust layers slightly so the image worked better.

So below is an image of how it now looked on-screen in a back to back comparison with the first design.

Golden Arrow old
Old version.
Golden Arrow final piece
New version.

The effects looked meaningful and successful on-screen, so it was time to do a second test print for the Golden Arrow design. When it was printing, it looked no better than the first attempt to be honest, but I had to remain patient as my tutor had diligently noted that the ink was darkening slightly as it dried. Once it had printed, and the ink was drying, which does not take long, I was pleased with the result, it was certainly an impressive improvement.


When placed side by side with the first attempt, it is clear to see the differences and the improvements that they have made compared against the first attempt with regards to the colour and typography.


I then copied the changes I had made to the Golden Arrow design to the Thrust SSC design before I printed, which had similar effects as can be seen in the back to back comparison below.

Thrust SSC old version
Old version.
Thrust SSC final piece
New version.

Upon printing the Thrust SSC design, I was very pleased with the outcome, and pleasantly surprised at how much detail could be seen, an example being the many rivets I had placed onto the vehicle to accurately represent the real thing.


What is noticeable from this process (despite my poor photography not helped by the lack of light thanks to a gloomy winter’s day here…) is that they do not match what it looked like on-screen, hence why I had to make some compensation for this. I must say these posters look much better in bright daylight, than they do in dull environments.

By printing the final pieces, this concludes the main section of this project. If there is a time, I will investigate into producing a sticker that could be used to identify the posters when they are rolled up in a cardboard tube as such for sale as the brief dictated. Other than that, I will just be reflecting on the project, seeing what I did well and what I could have improved on, and thinking how these improvements can be realised in future projects.