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INTRODUCTION This book looks at the key principle areas of print production. It has been designed to enable you to make the most of production techniques, such as stock choice, colour management and numerous print production methods.

Preparing for print is something that needs to be carefully considered before the designing process takes place, there are many different techniques and methods available which can have very different effects on the outcome of the design. Over the course of the book we will be looking at ways in which to make the most of the print process.


Artwork Paper Sizes A - series B - series

6 7

Stock Considerations importance of stock 8-9 examples 10-17 alternatives 18-19

Document Preparation basics trim trapping

20 20 21



Colour Modes



print order offset lithography gravure flexography

Basic Terminology brightness, hue & saturation Special Techniques Creative Colour grey scales pantone & spot colours tints

foiling embossing debossing screen printing laser cutting

Artwork 1

Paper Sizes





A4 Letter

A Series Graphic designers must consider page format when designing. Everything comes down to measurements in the design world. Getting your paper size right is the first step. The A - Series is based on a single sheet of 726mmx508mm in a portrait orientation. Multiples of this are used to produce the system.













52mm 105mm



A0 A1

It’s generally used for posters, newspapers, letters, magazines and so on. If you want to create something a bit more unique and original try setting up a document with your own paper size. It gets a bit boring working in the same format all the time, so mix it up!

In addition to the A - Series there is a less common B - Series. B0 is a meter wide, and other sizes in the B series are a half, a quarter or further fractions of the meter wide. While less common in office use, it is used for a variety of special situations. Many posters use B-series paper or a close

62mm 125mm










1000mm 250mm



approximation, B5 is a relatively common choice for books. The B series is also used for envelopes and Passports. The B-series is widely used in the printing industry to describe both paper sizes and printing press sizes, including digital presses.

Paper Sizes

B Series



B0 B1 7

Stock Considerations

The importance of choosing the right stock When it comes to choosing the right stock there are many different options to choose from. Stocks differ in size, colour, composition, texture, printability and various other factors that should be considered. Inks will have different effects on each stock. The next few pages show some examples of the different stocks available from Fedrigoni. Its important to take into consideration how the texture or surface of the paper will effect the final printed outcome.


Paper Grain


GSM (grams per square meter) is a weight measurement that is part of a specification based on the weight of the square meter of the stock. The higher the GSM value, the more weighty a stock feels. An AO page is equal to one meter square, meaning that grams per square meter equates to the weight of a single AO sheet.

Paper produced on a paper machine has a grain because the fibers from which it is made line up during the stages of manufacturing, in the direction that it passes through the paper making machine. The grain is the direction in which most of the fibers lay. This makes the paper easier to bend, fold or tear along its direction

The direction of the fibres in the paper for laser printers, such as those found in offices, typically has a grain that runs parallel to the long side of the paper to allow it to pass more easily through the printer.

Stock Considerations


Example Stock’s Next


Stock Considerations 18



Primary Uses Secondary Uses


Grey board

Lined or unlined board bad from waste paper. Packaging material

Packaging material


Rough texture, good bulk and grey colour

Newspapers and directories

Magazines, inserts, flyers, coupons and books

Higher brightness and smoothness than newsprint, but uncoated and matt

Mechanical Produced using wood pulp and acidic chemicals, this paper is suitable for short term use as it yellows and fades quickly NCR (No Carbon Required)

A carbonless coating to make Forms and out duplicate copies. purchase Available in two - to six part orders


The application of pressure produces an impression on subsequent parts


Made primarily of mechanically ground wood pulp, this is the cheapest paper that can withstand standard printing processes. It has a short term lifespan and reproduces colour poorly

Newspapers and comics

Low quality printing

Absorbent, comparatively rough surface


A rubberised substrate

Cover stock


Rubbery texture

Uncoated Woodfree

This paper is the most commonly used in non comercial printing. Most stationary and printer, photocopier paper falls into this category, although some offset grades are also used for general commercial printing

Office paper (printer and photocopy paper, stationary)

Forms and envelopes

A white paper with a slightly rough, non glossy surface


Primary Uses

Secondary Uses



A high-quality paper with a clay coating on both sides to give a good printing surface, especially for half tones, where definition and detail are important

To add texture to publications such as annual reports

Stationary and flyer’s

A textured stock with a rough or matt surface


A high-quality paper with a clay coating on both sides to give a good printing surface, especially for half tones, where definition and detail are important

Colour printing and magazines

Flyers, calenders and brochures

A glossy high brightness surface that is smooth to the touch


Uncoated board

Cover stock

Flyer’s and packaging

A stiff stock


A thick white paper. Ink and Stationary and pencil drawings are annual reports particularly well produced

Mail shots

A stiff feel, available in several colours

Cast Coated

Wet-coated paper is Magazines and pressed (cast) against a hot, brochures polished metal drum to obtain a high gloss

Promotional material

A smooth, glossy surface


A waterproof coating is applied to one side of the paper to allow for the embossing and varnishing processes

Labels, wrappings and covers

Applications Clay coated on where only one side; can be one side has to glossy or matt be printed


Paper coated with flock; very fine woolen surface. Used for decorative covers.

Decorative colours


Stock Considerations


A textured decorative service 19

Document Considerations

Resolution Resolution When setting up a document you need to take into account the resolution of the file. When designing for print you should be working at 300dpi. The resolution of a digital image is determined buy the amount of information it has. Images with more information.

Safe Area Safe Area

Resolution is determined on pixel depth : the number of bits available to generate a colour for each pixel. Greater bit depth means that more colours are available and more accurate colour reproduction is possible in the digital image. Bleed - The image will be printed up to here Trim - This area will be trimmed down to the right size Safe Area -for text and image

The difference between bleed, trim and registration Bleed - The printing of a design over and beyond its trim marks Trim - The process of cutting away the waste stock around a design to form the final outcome. Registration - The exact alignment of two or more printed images with each other on the same stock. 20

When printing a job, the intention is always to obtain good colour registration. However, this is not always possible; gaps can always appear when two inks that are to be printed as solid colours are placed next to each other. This is a problem that can be foreseen, however, and is resolvable through the use of ink trapping.

Different inks that print as solid colours can relate to each other in different ways and ink-trapping describes a process whereby one printed ink is surrounded by another that effectively traps it.

In this example, the yellow shape is misaligned with the cyan square, leaving a white space. The ink trapping techniques of choke and spread are used to prevent this.

This is an example of spread. The diameter of the yellow shape is slightly larger than the cyan aperture in which it sits.





This is an example of choke. The cyan aperture is slightly smaller than the diameter of the yellow shape that it sits within it.

This example has centered trapping whereby the shape is enlarged and the aperture reduced by the same amount.

Document Considerations



colour 2

Colour Modes

Colour is a huge part of design, it is important the colours you use are relevant to the subject matter and content. Colour provides dynamism to design, attracticting the attention of the viewer and perhaps eliciting an emotional response. It can also be used in order to organise elements on a page and to help lead the eye from one item to another

Green Yellow




Blue White


As colour is essentially different wave lengths of light, design and colour professionals use different values of hue, saturation and brightness to describe it. Importantly for designers, there are two main colour models, as illustrated.

This diagram shows the additive primaries. Where red and green overlap, yellow is created. Magenta is formed when red and blue overlap, and cyan is produced where blue and green overlap. These secondary colours are the subtractive primaries. Each additive primary represents a component of white light. So where all the colours overlap, white is produced 23

Colour Modes

Magenta Blue



Yellow Black


CMYK This diagram shows the subtractive primary colours. Each of these has one of the additive primary colours missing. Where two subtractive colours overlap, only one additive primary is visible. Blue is formed where cyan and magenta


overlap. Cyan and yellow overlap to produce green. Magenta and yellow combine to form red. Where all three of the subtractive colours overlap, black is produced because no light escapes

These terms help a designer to specify and communicate colour information and help overcome the potential vagaries of computer screens and printing presses where a colour is not always what it seems. Acurate colour description in terms of hue, saturation and brightness helps a designer and print meet the expectations of the client.

Hue, or colour refers to the unique characteristic of a colour that helps us visually distinguish one colour from another. Hues or colours are formed by different wavelengths of light

Basic Terminology

Brightness, Hue & Saturation

Saturation or chroma refers to the purity of a colour and the saturation levels describe a colours tendancy to move towards or away from grey.

Brightness or value refers to how light or dark colour is. Changes in the brightness value can be achieved by mixing a colour with black or white. 25

Creative Colour

The image on the left can be converted to greyscale. The image contains three RGB channels that are shown underneath. RGB channels represent sensitivity towards different coloured light. Each channel has a bias towards the type of light prevalent at different types of day. During the early morning, blue light is dominant while red dominates in the evening and green at midday. Externally shot images are generally affected by the sun and so splitting the channels result in the three greyscale images with each one being a record of the red, green or blue light.


Greyscale Designers can make graphic interventions to images in order to make them appear to have been shot in greyscale.


Red Channel

Green Channel

This may give the designer the option, particularly with exterior images, to create an impression of the time of day at which a photograph was shot.

Blue Channel

C=0 M=70 Y=0 K=0

The top square is printed as a solid coated Pantone 253C spot colour and its nearest CMYK version is printed below. The process colour square is much duller than the spot colour version as it is made with half-tone dots of colour, whereas the special colour is applied as a flat colour.

Creative Colour

Pantone 253C

Pantone & Spot Colours Graphic Designers use spot colours to ensure that a particular colour in a design will print. This may be necessary if the colour is outside the range or gamut of possibilities of the four colour CMYK printing process, or because there is a pressing need for a specific colour, such as for a corporate logo. Special colours have greater intensity and vibrancy as they print as a solid colour rather than one that is made up of half tone dots. 27

Creative Colour

Tints The three trichromatic process colours (cyan, magenta andyellow) can be printed in increments of ten percent to produce 1,330 tints. However, tints below ten percent and above ninety percent may not print accurately due to the effect of dot grain. To see how this will appear on the final job, a tint bar can be printed

on the trim edge of the wet proof. Depending on how they print, adjustments can be made prior to the final printing. This is the only way if or how low the tints will register because wet proofs use the actual press (pressure, paper, ink) and printing conditions of the final job.





40% 50%

60% 70%

80% 90% 100%

40% 50%

60% 70%

80% 90% 100%


10% 28






Printing Tints Printing is a process by which the ink in the form of a design is applied under pressure to a substrate to leave an impression.

Printing and Print Order A designer communicates in printing requirements for a job through a print order. This includes the printing process to be used, the stock, the print run and any special requirements. Print order is the sequence in which different colours used in a job are laid down during the printing process. For four colour print process, the order is cyan, magenta, yellow then black. It is often thought that black is labelled as K so as not to be confused with the blue. The K actually stands for key, as this is the colour that all other colours ‘key’ to when registering.


Rotogravure printing is the most direct form of rotary printing. This process makes use of copper cylinders that are partially immersed in ink wells. The actual cylinder itself is engraved through etching, forming a multitude of small impressions in the cylinder. These impressions are filled with ink as the cylinder rotates in the inkwell and then the ink is transferred onto the substrate as it passes between the etched cylinder and the impression cylinder. This process can be used to create color images by using several etched cylinders immersed in different ink colours, though the ink must be dried between color applications.



Paper Printed Side Impression Roll

Gravure Cylinder Ink Fountain Doctor Blade

Because cells of different depths can hold varying amounts of ink, the rotogravure process can print a rich, full range of tonal values, making it ideal for reproducing photographs and other continuous-tone copy in large quantities. Rotogravure is thus widely used to print newspaper supplements (e.g.,colour magazine sections), catalogues, illustrated magazines and books, advertising, calendars, and so on. It is also employed for printing labels and wrappers on cellophane and similar materials. A high-speed printing process, rotogravure is best used for printing long runs of material bearing black-and-white or colour illustrations.



Flexography Flexography, also referred to as flexo, typically uses flexographic plates to accomplish the image transfer onto the substrate. The plates are created using a number of methods, but the end result is the same: a plastic or rubber plate, with the desired image in a mirrored, raised relief. The flexography process employs a three-roller system rather than a two-roller system. One roller is partially immersed in the inkwell. This transfers ink to the raised surfaces of the plate, which is wrapped around its own cylinder. The plate is scraped by the doctor blade. The substrate is then passed between the plate cylinder and the impression cylinder, effecting the ink transfer from the plate to the substrate. Publication flexography is used mainly in the production of newspaper, comics, directories, newspaper inserts, and catalogs. Packaging flexography is used for the production of folding


Impression Cylinder

Doctor Blade

Plate Cylinder

Anilox Roller Ink Fountain

cartons, labels, and packaging materials. Large quantities of inks are used during normal runs on flexographic presses; however, some printers are able to recycle a majority of their spent inks and wash waters. Major chemicals used in flexography include plate-making solution, water and solvent based inks, and blanket/roller cleaning solvents.

Offset Lithography utilizes the principle that water and grease do not mix. The image area of the palte is treated with a greasy medium. Then the plate is dampened with by rollers then inked. The ink adheres to the greasy image but not the dampened areas. The paper is moved into position over the plate and then the plate and paper are run through the press. Lithographic has a planographic (flat). The whole surface has both ink and water with the addition of alcohol to aid dispersion. to get a printing surface and this method is still used today for limited editions of fine art prints. The next development in printing came with metal plates which could be curved around metal cylinders to allow the use of rotary press. Finally the “offset� principle was developed.

Ink Rollers


Water Rollers

Offset Lithography

Plate Cylinder Water


Oset Cylinder

Impression Cylinder

Where Lithography is used, it is nearly always as Offset. Meaning the inked image on the metal plate is offset (printed) onto a rubber blanket wrapped around a rotating metal cylinder. The image is then transferred from that blanket onto the paper. The reason for the rubber plate is because it is less abrasive to the plate then paper. Lithography is good for cheap and fast printing, and the rubber blanket enables the use of a wide range of papers. However its not suitable for small runs and dampening can cause the paper to stretch or warp after binding.


Special Techniques 34

Foil Blocking

known machines, also Foil stamping to t ea s, use h , typically a t foil stamper g o in h p as am lid st il so Fo is lic foil to a rint process, e transfer metal commercial p items that ar r o t en Examples of e. n of pigm io ac rf at su lic p , ap ls e ci th silver , include pen often gold or foil stamped raphs s metallic foil, rn te at ooks, photog p b ch us o at ri m va s, e n b napki but can also stamp is a foil wn as pastel ooks. The foil o b kn d hines is an at h w r o ss. These mac lor or ce co ro p ue t aq en p o an at perm which is a fl ding pular with wed film-backed o l p ia e ec ar sp e it h w raphy studios aper where a esses, photog p in to us l, b ia er at m the s that need to ther businesse stamped onto o is d ie an d d te ea h ucts. adhere to the or mark prod it d n g ra in b ak m il, e fo of th g the design surface leavin ping am st er. Foil die on the pap h ined wit can be comb create a more to embossing on the The example age. striking 3D im n foiled right has bee by hand.

Special Techniques

Embossing An emboss uses an magnesium, copper or brass die holding an image to stam p the stock, designs are usua lly slightly oversized, with heavier lines and extra space inse rted between the letters in a w ord. Copper and brass are m ore durable die materials than m agnesium and so should be used for high print run jobs, those us ing thick or abrasive stocks and those where the design is mor e detailed.

36 6

Thinner stocks ca n hold more deta il rather than thic ker stocks, but in tricate designs do not reproduce w ell as the image ha s to press throug h more fibers. Soft papers are easie r to emboss and co ated stocks hold detail well, but th e coating may crack, meaning that uncoated st ock is better for deep embossing. An emboss may be made with foil to give colouration to the design, bu t they are frequent ly made blind w ith out the use of fo il to add a tactile element to a de sign.

Special Techniques

Debossing a metal dye A Deboss uses is design, which containing a the to n above o stamped from n. o ti ta an inden stock to leave ter et b es so produc Debossing al se a au ec b ker stock ic th n o s lt su re ved. tation is achie deeper inden dean emboss or The ability of ion ss re p a good im boss to leave f o s es en f the fin is a function o per. lli ca ck o d the st an n ig es d e th er s can hold fin Thinner stock of er g an e is a d lines, but ther


r stocks e stock. Thicke puncturing th detail n fi but lose e t, us b ro re o are m h more presses throug as the design paper fibers.

Special Techniques

Screen Printing Screen printing is a printing technique that us es a woven mesh to suppor t an ink-blocking stencil. The at tached stencil forms open area s of mesh that transfer ink or ot her printable materials which can be pressed through the mes h as a sharp-edged im age onto a substrate. A fill bl ade or squeegee is mov ed across the screen stencil, fo rcing or pumping ink into the mesh openings for tran sfer by capillary action durin g the squeegee stroke. Basically , it is the proces s of using a stenci l to apply ink onto another m aterial.


Screen printing is also a stencil method of print making in which a design is impo sed on a screen of polyester or othe r fine mesh, with blank areas coat ed with an impermeable su bstance. Ink is forced into the m esh openings by the fill blade or sq ueegee and onto the printing surf ace during the squeegee stroke . It is also known as silkscreen, serig raphy, and serig ra ph printing. A num ber of screens ca n be used to prod uce a multicolou red image.

Special Techniques

Laser Cutting ha can cut throug Laser cutting ials, er at m ifferent d f o e g n ra e wid , ge from acrylic these can ran . re o m and many wood, paper s ay w t y differen There are man n ca It er works. the laser cutt and erize images engrave, rast es av le ugh. This cut right thro ners, ig es d ties for many possibili ork in w to y portunit giving the op s. ia ed erent m a range of diff


Design for Print  

design for print

Design for Print  

design for print