Manager of Printing Services Eric Gero is principal of the press at Pepperdine
Pepperdine University Printing Services executes approximately 170 projects per month ranging from a letterhead order to printing and binding 19,000 commencement ceremony programs.
“All components—paper size and type, writing, and design—have to be considered equally to create a memorable printed piece. A great novel poorly typeset on chintzy paper will discourage someone from reading it.”
Gero’s team revitalized wide-format printing at Pepperdine, which has enhanced speed and efficiency, allowed for printing on more sophisticated surfaces, and enabled creativity that is typical of projects produced by commercial print shops.
“Choosing paper is an art form. People say paper is like an artist’s canvas, but I think it’s so much more than that. It’s a narrative tool. It can be used to add meaning. It can add gravitas or keep things playful.”
Demand for printed materials increased after declining paper sales due to the pandemic created massive production delays of materials like the coated paper stock used to produce Pepperdine Magazine. Standard-grade paper is currently hard to find, requiring Gero and his team to think strategically about future print projects at the University.
“I don't think print will ever go away. My childhood books still work. My cell phone from 10 years ago doesn't. Websites change. People will always desire a sense of craft, of permanent things, of things that will last for 1,000 years.”
For eight years Gero taught digital photography at the California Institute of the Arts and two courses on the use of narrative in photography at his alma mater, the Otis College of Art and Design.
In 2012 Gero launched Eric Gero Editions (EGE) and produces limited-edition artwork with internationally known artists such as Lawrence Weiner and Barbara Kruger. EGE has led to collaborations with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions as well as recent projects featuring traditional woodblock printing.
Before Pepperdine, Gero’s work included reproductions of illuminated manuscripts and alphabets for the Vatican Library, props for films such as Iron Man 2 and Angels and Demons, and the production of gift products and limited editions with Frank Gehry related to the Walt Disney Concert Hall opening.