11 Jun

Messages from the Past, Hucul Printing’s Rich History

Back in the Day . . .

Before Johannes Gutenberg invented movable type back in the 1400s, the handwritten manuscript was the method of recording and communicating information of the day.

Gutenberg came up with a process for mass-producing movable type which included a type metal alloy and a hand mould for casting type.

He also was the first to use oil-based ink and he invented a wooden screw-type printing press.

Photo: Metal movable type by Willi Heidelbach

Metal movable type by Willi Heidelbach

Gutenberg’s inventions were regarded as the introduction to the era of mass communication. This altered the course of history, which markedly improved literacy in the middle class.

From manually operated presses, to steam-driven and beyond, the printing industry flew ahead in leaps and bounds.

The Salmon Arm Observer saw its first Newspaper Issue roll off the Press in 1907.

At this time, newspaper articles and job printing layouts were handset into lines, paragraphs and pages, by painstakingly handpicking individual letters of foundry type from the type cases.

In the late 1920’s or early 1930’s, type was set by means of the Linotype, the invention which revolutionized the printing industry, making it possible to increase productivity many times over.

Photo: Cp1015 by Trimalchio

Cp1015 by Trimalchio

This machine, a Rube Goldberg wonder, transferred letters of type from special brass matrices to molds (lines of type) created from molten lead.

From that time until 1973, the Observer newspaper and commercial printing department were printed by the letterpress method. The newspaper was printed on a Goss Coxotype and the commercial printing was done on Heidelberg Platen, Holmes Vertical, Chandler and Price Platen presses.

Hucul Printing Ltd.’s founders, myself, Bernie Hucul, and brother, Gary Hucul, toiled as printers devils in an era of printing where lead melting pots, inky press forms and volatile press chemicals ruled the day.

At this time, the production method was switched over to Offset Printing.

Printers Devil sign by Richard Croft

Typeset was via a phototypesetting method, where keyboard operators typed on simple computerized machines which transferred type onto photosensitive paper.

The prints, now on strips of paper, were then pasted up onto master grid sheets which duplicated the newspaper page.

Photographs were processed into halftone prints and were added to the paste-up sheets, along with the advertizing setups.

Graphic art cameras then copied the newspaper pages onto negative film to facilitate a platemaking process, where the negative image was transfered to light sensitive aluminum press plates.

And of course, newspaper and print production, then saw desktop publishing come to the forefront with the introduction of personal computers.

In 1989, Hucul Printing Ltd. was formed when the brothers, Bernie and Gary Hucul purchased the commercial printing department of the Salmon Arm Observer from Cariboo Press.

The business then carried on using a combination of letterpress and offset printing methods.

Some of the old letterpress printing presses are still in use, but they are now taking a backseat to the Heidleberg and Hamada offset presses.

More recently, the company has added digital printing equipment, using toner-based inks, along with a large format inkjet printer, which are capable of printing in glorious full colour.


19 Feb

Do Business Cards need a QR Code?

Have you ever seen one of these?


QR Code: HuculPrinting.com

This gaudy looking, ‘ink blot block’ of black & white is called a QR Code. They are actually quite an interesting invention, with the potential to be very handy under some circumstances.

These codes behave in a similar way to bar codes, except that you scan them with your smart phone.

You can go online to a webpage like this, and program a QR code to do many different things including, sending you to a website, putting information into your contacts program or just playing videos. It’s pretty cool, but should you go to the trouble of adding them to you business cards?

The short answer is no. I’ll tell you why.

People rarely scan QR codes

When was the last time you scanned a QR code?

For me, being someone who is rather tech-oriented, I haven’t scanned one in over a year. I actively look for cool techy-type things to get into and I have learned that a quick google search is much easier than scanning a QR code.

They look awful

Photo by Wesley Fryer

Photo by Wesley Fryer

QR codes are not attractive. Graphic designers think they look like computer puke and they are really difficult to incorporate into a classy design.

For business cards it’s worse, because in order to get the QR Codes to work they have to be printed large enough for a smart phone to scan. This means a large portion of the card is taken up by QR, and this is distracting. Yuck!

QRs don’t always work

Sometimes people set up QR codes that won’t work, or that don’t scan properly.

If it doesn’t work the first time, usually we won’t try again.

Who knows where the QR code will take you?

Finally, QR Codes have no way of indicating to you where they are ACTUALLY going to send you.

If you have a QR code on your business card, your target doesn’t know whether the code will take him to your company website, your LinkedIn profile, or whether it will load your contact information into their phone.

If people are unsure, then they’ll avoid it and they won’t scan it anyway.

Keep it Super Simple


Instead of QR Codes, consider asking your designer to put the standard information on your card. Include your name, email address, phone number, website URL and address. Sometimes, indicating  you are on social media is a good idea if those services are important to your business.

Are you looking for professionals to work on your business cards for you? We can set you up with a professional, clear and functional business card layout.

Contact us and let us help you!