This blog post offers a “behind the scenes” sneak peak at the blueprinting for The Spirit of Kanji.
Blueprinting is a printing process that was commonly used in the past to produce copies of drawings, plans, and other technical documents. The process involves creating a contact print on light-sensitive sheets, which are then developed and fixed to produce a blue-colored copy of the original document.
Here is a general outline of the blueprinting process:
- The original document is placed on a transparent sheet of film, such as Mylar.
- The film is placed on top of a light-sensitive paper, which is coated with a light-sensitive emulsion.
- The film and paper are then exposed to light, either through a negative or a positive transparency. If a negative transparency is used, the light will pass through the clear areas of the film, exposing the light-sensitive paper where the lines or text of the original document are located. If a positive transparency is used, the light will pass through the opaque areas of the film, exposing the light-sensitive paper where the lines or text of the original document are not located.
- After exposure, the light-sensitive paper is placed in a developer solution, which causes the exposed areas of the paper to turn blue. The paper is then rinsed in water to remove any excess developer solution and fixer is applied to help preserve the blue image.
- The finished blueprint is a blue-colored copy of the original document, with the lines or text of the original document appearing as white or light-colored areas on the blue background.
Blueprinting is no longer a widely used process, as it has been largely replaced by digital printing and copying methods. However, it is still occasionally used in some industries, such as architecture and engineering, where the ability to produce accurate and detailed copies of technical documents is important.