The Conway School’s annual magazine, con’text, is a big deal. It’s not just a school newsletter, or an alum magazine, or a portfolio of last years’ student work, or a journal for publishing the latest in ecological design thinking. It’s all of those things and a place to feature select photographs and graphics from student projects, printed in high quality on recycled paper. Hundreds of hours are spent by a team of faculty, staff, and alums writing, selecting, and refining the material to be published, by our editor Nick Lasoff ’05 in reviewing the text and format, and by our designer Kristen Winstead at Sund Studios in creating an attractive and legible layout. After such an investment, we are lucky to work with a local printing press that produces a final product worthy of all those hours. Hadley Printing, located in a former paper mill in Holyoke, Massachusetts, printed our 2017 issue of con’text last week. Here are some photos and videos that show the many steps they take to make our annual magazine shine.

Sets of pages are separated by color and burned onto thin sheets of aluminum. Because the body of context is printed in two colors, two sheets are needed for each page. The sheets can only be used once; after the issue is printed, they are recycled.


The covers are printed in 4-color on heavier stock. They are drying, while the pages are printed in the large printer to the right. Finally, they will be fed back through the machine and to have the 2-color inside back and front cover pages printed on the reverse. The machine prints each color separately, and there are at least two staff constantly monitoring the process to make sure the inks are loaded and printing evenly (see the video below). The printer is about 75 feet long, and the operators climb up three tall steps to stand about 4 feet above the ground in the machine to check the controls.


In this video, printing technician Don Schlichting reviews the first proof of a set of pages for consistent ink density. Scanners help him periodically review sheets as they come out of the printer to a degree of consistency that is barely noticeable to the naked eye.

After the pages are printed, the spreads still need to be cut, bound, trimmed, and then a portion separated out to be mailed. We are really excited about this issue – and, thanks to Sund Studio and Hadley Printing’s careful attention to the details – we can be even prouder of the high-quality work that Conway students and alums put into the content of the magazine because it is so well represented on the page.