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When a robot takes over

 We  were  very  amused  by  the  appropriation  of  Posca  in  robot  mode  (...).   

Reciprocity is a design-themed event and the 2018 edition was held from 5 October to 25 November in Liège, Belgium. This event comprises exhibitions, conferences and workshops for all those interested and professionals alike.

For this event, the NNstudio graphic designers produced a book presenting the exhibition through images, interviews and essays. After seeing a video about how the book was produced, we were eager to find out more about their desire to use a Posca, manipulated by a robot to finalise the book cover.


Pierre Geurts, one of the founders of the studio, answered our questions:
Why was the final touch to the book cover made using a robot (a CNC* in technical language) and a Posca?

Our studio is extremely active in publishing and more specifically in illustrated coffee-table books and artist’s books. Depending on the size of the projects we’ll use printers and book binders but sometimes we also produce small print runs internally.

In a sector that is becoming increasingly industrialised, we are always looking for added value in production to differentiate our projects and make them stand out. What interested us here was the tension between an industrial production mode (the printer that produced the books is a large printing works that has invested heavily in the automation of the production line) and a book that was almost Do it yourself since the drawing with Posca was done in the Liège Fablab.

In a way you could say we hacked into the normal production mode of a book… More specifically, it’s the minor defects (machine hesitations, wear of the Posca) that interested us with a view to make each one of the catalogues totally unique.

[*CNC: computer numerical control; a computer controlled machine tool used to draw, sculpt and engrave different materials.]

*Why wasn’t this done by hand?

A thousand copies! Impossible to do this with a very short production time; it should be noted that the catalogue was produced, all graphics, printing, drawings with Posca and binding included, in just under two weeks. This was quite a technical and logistical challenge.

What’s more, the appropriation in robot mode of Posca, which is a tool typically associated with the world of drawing and graphics, was something that we found very amusing.