Bell & Bain: A Firsthand Look Inside Printing

October 5th, 2015 | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Bell & Bain: A Firsthand Look Inside Printing
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Bell & Bain, one of Scotland’s oldest established printing companies, welcomed my fellow University of Stirling Publishing Studies classmates and myself into their offices on Thursday, Oct. 1.

Our outing to Glasgow’s prized printers began with a brief, yet enlightening, presentation detailing both the history and inner workings of the company, with all information being delivered by Bell & Bain Sales Director Designate Derek Kenny and Business Services Coordinator Kenneth Shepherdson.

Bell & Bain, founded in 1831 by James Bell and Andrew Bain, specializes in the printing and binding of business, educational, financial, religious, medical, and scientific books and journals. The company services around 600 clients, with 95 percent of them being publishing companies. Not only does Bell & Bain pride itself on being both environmentally and socially aware, it also aims to be “the printer of choice” for customers by providing quality products and services.

Following the presentation we were split into two groups and given a tour of where the magic happens—the Bell & Bain printing factory. For me, this was the most interesting part of the visit. When one picks up a book at a local retailer, it’s easy not to give a second thought to how it was produced. Having the firsthand experience of watching the book printing process, from aluminum plates to paper to binding, gave me a new appreciation for the publications that I too often pass idly by.

However, this process of print and digital publishing isn’t done in one place. Bell & Bain owns an additional warehouse where its paperbacks, hardbacks, and journals are printed. It would be almost naïve to expect anything less of a company that has been serving the masses for generations. Our tour of the second location wasn’t as lengthy, as the company is in the process of renovation and transfer of office space. Despite all of this, I admire the Bell & Bain staff’s ability to effectively produce products alongside what many would deem bothersome conditions.

All in all, I’d say our trip to Bell & Bain was well worth the time. I’d also like to give a very special thanks to Derek Kenny and Kenneth Shepherdson for setting aside time in their busy schedules to give us a tour, answer our questions, and provide lunch for our group. Bell & Bain is inarguably a class act in the publishing industry.