Test prints: An amazing OOPS

Image by Aesthetic Apparatus - Test Print #239

Due to my recent apartment hunting and window shopping for new decor I have revisited aestheticapparatus.com. Aesthetic Apparatus’s amazing screen printing skills continue to be a wonderful source of inspiration to me.

I love their work in general, but I absolutely LOVE their test prints. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term “test prints,” they do just that–test a range of things like print alignment and color so that any mistakes can be found and corrected before a final piece is printed. When people do test prints they tend to layer many prints or designs on a single sheet, and the resulting tests sometimes produce very unique and beautiful mistakes.

It is these mistakes that captivate me. Colors and shapes intertwine to create new designs and new meanings. I find myself mesmerized by some of these pieces, imagining and making up my own stories. One of the reasons these pieces are so interesting is that they hold an accidental story or a mix of accidental stories, and no matter how many times you revisit a mistake you walk away with something new.

Test Print #222

Image by Aesthetic Apparatus - Test Print #222

Once you have altered your perception on what has been beautifully and thoughtfully designed and what has been beautifully and thoughtlessly redesigned (in a good way), like a test print, you can see and appreciate these mistakes. Test prints serve no after-the-fact purpose; they are not made to be hung on the wall, dreamed about, thought about or appreciated. Test prints are meant to be thrown away after they have outlived their usefulness. That is what makes them so special, because those mistakes that have absolutely no thought put into them other than to serve a practical function become a beautiful redesign…a wonderful mistake.

You can try as you like to duplicate these printed mistakes, but no matter how many times I come across pieces that have that test print feel, there is just something missing. Call it character or personality–whatever it is, it’s unique…a fantastic OOPS!

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