Printing presses can determine an entire publication’s fate. They can lift the publication’s visual ideas and material preferences from the ground, or overwhelm and heavily damage them. Printing presses are also responsible for first impressions set in print as well. And for businesses in the advertising or communication sectors, for example, that can be of great importance. Think of the impression left by a business card, a catalogue, a brochure, or even a poster. Al Nahda Printing Press Company has perfected that understanding and maintained its outstanding reputation for more than 45 years now.
Al Nahda Printing Press was founded in 1968, from humble and determined roots. Today, its headquarters – positioned in the heart of Amman, Jordan – boasts sleek and modern facilities, as well as a reliable workforce that has lured everyone, from big advertising agencies to the Royal Hashemite Court of Jordan itself.
We recently visited the printing press’s headquarters to find out more about the company. The first thing that caught our eye was the sheer beauty of the building’s industrial architecture. To the right of the corridor that leads to the ground floor, one sees a historical printing press machine, and in the reception area, one immediately notices the minimalist arrangements and the DIY ethos that informed the interiors. In the reception area, the tables were made from wooden paper plates and the lamps were made from discarded ink buckets, and the place was decorated with shiny cylindrical containers. On the glass separators, painting plates were hung, depicting everything from advertisements to impressionist depictions of flowers.
Our guide, Hamzeh Zaza, a member of the management team of Al Nahda Printing Press, welcomed us to the main office on the top floor. The ceiling in the main office was made from corrugated metal that extended to the outer roof, and the floor was painted in an unwaveringly minimal and industrial fashion. “A lot of people wondered,” Zaza reminisced, “why we were investing so much in rejuvenating the printing press’s headquarters, and I always answered them, it’s for the pleasure of the clients.” Later, he told us about the history of the company and his work there. “I used to work in the print house since I was an 18-year-old school student,” he said. “Working in the printing press has always been my lifelong passion.”
Zaza showed us around and explained the various printing services Al Nahda offers, from express digital printing, to security printing and digital variable data printing and mailing services. Each of the building’s floors was dedicated to a service.
Our first destination was the digital variable data. On this floor, workers could be seen dealing expertly with the technology at hand. “We protect our client’s information from all types of loss, misuse or alteration.” Zaza informed us. “We also don’t let any paper go to waste. We dump the excess or the waste in there,” he motioned to a grey square incision in the wall, “where the shredded paper is pressed and recycled.”
Al Nahda Printing Press prides itself with its usage of the latest modern printing technologies. The prepress printing floor – out next destination – was equipped with high-end computer-to-plate (CTP) machines with online processors that produce outstanding image quality; whereas the press printing floor was equipped with the latest Heidelberg offset presses in a variety of different sizes; and the post press floor included a range of automated equipment for publication production, as well as archaic – but fully functioning – equipment for more delicate and niche purposes that Al Nahda gladly provides.
Speaking of the architectural vision for Al Nahda Printing Press, Zaza told us, “We wanted to emphasize the fact that everything here – apart from the machines – is local, from all interior elements to members of the workforce themselves.” The angular lines and the simple arrangements also serve to divert the attention to the production cycle. Al Nahda Printing Press is, both in interior and exterior, a paean to practicality and functionality.
Another thing Al Nahda Printing Press seems to boast is its workforce, which consists of highly qualified and skillful staff members, who grow with the company and evolve as the times do, too. “Some of the staff are the second generation of their parents,” Zaza said. “Today, we have around 60 highly qualified employees with different specialization, and the number is growing rapidly.” He thought for a second then said, “They’re truly the life of this company.”