Set Sail with Jostens Award-Winning Naval Academy Yearbook

by Brittany Willes, contributing editor, PostPress

Anchors aweigh on a voyage of memories and high-quality production! When the U.S. Naval Academy needed a designer for its “Voyages – Lucky Bag 2017” yearbook, it looked no further than the yearbook experts: Jostens, Inc. Having worked with the Naval Academy on past yearbooks, Jostens was well-suited to the task of creating a distinct product that goes far beyond any typical high school yearbook.

“The United States Naval Academy book is one that everyone takes a lot of pride in producing,” stated Tim Beymer, Jostens’ manufacturing manager. “As with any yearbook, it is the final reward for a whole year of work.” Unlike most yearbooks, “Voyages” is printed in an extremely high quantity of copies and incorporates UV pages, special design end sheets and a vellum foil tip in that registers to the first page.

“Voyages” is no ordinary yearbook.

Working together with U.S. Naval Academy staff and a representative from the Lucky Bag yearbook staff, Jostens artists came up with a design and theme befitting naval heritage as expressed in the opening pages, which proudly proclaim, “Since the early days of the naval services men have roamed the globe on great voyages in search of gold, glory and adventure. In today’s service we travel further, faster, and with more power than ever before. Naval officers have stood on the moon, been to the poles of the earth and dived into depths unknown. Our life is a voyage magnified by our time in the Navy and Marine Corps.”

In creating the yearbook’s cover – silhouettes of the continents spread across the front and back with strategically placed stars of gold foil, all set against a medium-grey background – material was chosen from Jostens’ Natural Line, which is specially made to receive the burnish application responsible for the black silhouette designs. The “Voyages” name stands out on the front cover in brilliant white, while the academy’s military seal decorates the right corner of the back cover.

Once selected, the material was cut to size and final art stages, including silkscreen files and die files, were created. White silkscreen ink was applied for the “Voyages” text and accompanying arrows. The cover itself was casemade, burnished, foil stamped and finally embossed. The inside pages were printed on 100lb matte stock on the company’s KBA offset printing press. Selective UV gloss was applied to the opening pages and all dividers throughout the book. “In terms of size,” said Beymer, “this book ranks as one of the largest that we do.””

Despite the book’s massive size, it went through the same production process as any other yearbook handled by Jostens, meaning that production time was not slowed by any special precautions that might otherwise have been needed.

“The burnishing for the cover was done using a Teflon coated die from Owosso,” explained Beymer. “It’s basically a foil stamping process using a foil die, except the die is Teflon-coated due to the increased heat and pressure not present in traditional foil stamping. Also, we obviously didn’t use foil for the burnishing. It is strictly the die hitting the material to give it a branded-type look.”

The cover was run through the equipment in two passes – the front lid and spine were done in one pass, and the back lid is the second pass. The foil stamping for the decorative stars was done similarly, with the front and back lid going through two passes on Jostens’ Kolbus PE-312. The embossing on the front lid and spine, however, was achieved in a single pass using a Sheriden Stamping Press. The endsheets were printed in blue, with white text corresponding with the white of the cover text.

Along with gold foil stamped stars on the cover, the book also was gilded along the edges in a matching gold color. “Every book we do for the United States Naval Academy includes gilding along the edges,” remarked Beymer. “The color of the gilding changes from year to year, based on the color of foil used for the cover design. In past years the gilding has been copper or silver to match the cover.””

To create the signature gilded edges, the books are overcut off of a three-knife trimmer before undergoing a process of grinding and sanding. Finally, a heated foil is applied to the three edges of the book, which gives it the look of gold gilding. The gilding was completed after the book block was created but prior to binding. Further gold foil was applied to the vellum tip-in registered to page one, showcasing the academy name and location.

Jostens’ years of experience and dedication have proven invaluable when faced with such sizable jobs as the “Voyages” yearbook. It’s little wonder the company, and the book itself, have received notable recognition for its efforts.

“Voyages” recently won an Award of Recognition from the Printing Industries of America (PIA) for its quality of photography, design expertise, printing and binding quality, cover design and overall expertise. “The PIA award constitutes very high praise,” stated Beymer. Further praise was given when the book received a gold award in the 2018 FSEA Gold Leaf Awards.