How Ink Is Made

There are a ton of short docs about manufacturing out there: booze, bikes, blades, beds. It’s one of the great forms to emerge from the late dawn of internet videos. All of them owe their inheritance to the films of Ray and Charles Eams, basically. There are so many truly great examples, that we don’t really have the time or space to wade into them here. But this film, “How Ink Is Made,” is special.

On the surface, this is a promotional film for a Canadian printing ink manufacturer. It was clearly made on a modest budget (by no means a slight here) and I’m sure was intended in its inception as a kind of utilitarian video brochure for The Printing Ink Company. Maybe they wanted to share it with potential customers, or reengage some old clients, or gain a few new converts to the interesting art of ink making. What I don’t think they intended, or imagined, was that their video would be viewed almost a million times, or that it would be passed around the design-leaning internet and cherished by hundreds of thousands of people on wind after second wind of attention.

But that is what happened. Because this film is beautifully made, and the Chief Ink Maker is passionate and unselfconsciously driven to perfect his art, an amazing character, and ink is captivating to look at, and “How Ink Is Made” wins. Tate Young is and should rightly be proud.

And yeah, it’s about color.