Büro Offset Druck Musterband

Jan Blessing – Büro Offset Druck Musterband, 2016
Format: 16 × 23 cm
Pagecount: 96
Edition: 25
Print: Office Offset and digital and screen print
Artists & Designer: Anna Gille, Alex Kern, Benedikt Bock, Christoph Ruckhäberle, Colin Waeghe, Constanze Hein, Felix Walser, Johannes Oestringer, Markus Heller, Lars Rasmussen

This book was the starting point of the Office Offset endeavour. It marks the beginning of the transformation of Office Offset into an artistic medium. It is both a book of print samples showing today’s experimental use of this technology and an associative narration of the Office Offset history. The composition of images and text shows the absurdity between the fictitious world of advertising and the complex handling of the machine.

The flying paper pattern was executed through an analogue process, which required us to tweak the traditional approach of exposing and developing the offset plate. First, we exposed the whole aluminium printing plate. (The blue layer of the plate is light sensitive and hardens under UV light.) Then we simply cut out cardboard shapes to cover up some areas of the plate. With different brushes we applied undiluted plate developer to create the pattern.

This method can be described as design by change. You never know how much is dissolved by the plate developer.

Then we washed the dissolved layer with water. This revealed the final pattern design. All the blue spots became future areas for printing, and the bare aluminium spots demarcated non-printing zones.


Because the Office Offset machine operates using just one oscillating ink roll – compared to several rollers in bigger offset presses – it is easier to print split fountain, or rainbow prints. The oscillating ink roller is designed to disperse the ink evenly in the inking unit – it not only rotates, but also moves from left to right. Simply spoken, more rollers mean a better dispersion of the ink, and this is needed for good printing results. But for split fountain printing, one oscillating ink roller is an advantage – you can print hundreds of sheets and the ink will only mix slightly. 

The beauty of Office Offset: no fixed ink cartridges, so you are free to pour or mix any ink you want into the ink tray.

For her sample Anna Gille combined litho crayons with an Office Offset version of the classic processes of deep etching: drypoint. The soft aluminium plates can be scratched with a steel compass, thin screwdrivers or anything with a sharp enough tip.

A complementary presentation consisted of a lecture and exhibition on the process of making the book, as well as the history of Office Offset.