Page 1









contents CHAPTER I Print processes -Lithography -Silk screen printing -Rotagravure -Letterpress -Flexography -Thermography -Lino cut

Pages 9-11 12-25 16-17 18-21 22-25 26-29 30-31

CHAPTER II Colour -Cymk -Rgb -Spot colours -Process colours

36 37 38-39 40-41

5 CHAPTER III Format -ISO paper sizes -Poster sizes -Newspaper format

45-48 49 50-51

CHAPTER IV Finishes -Varnishes -Die cut -Emboss & deboss -Foil blocking

55-58 59-60 61-62 63-65



chapter THE BOOK OF

print processes


print process

Printing is a collective term that refers to the various different techniques used to apply ink to a substrate or stock. These include: lithgraphy screen printing, gravure, letterpress, thermography, digital printing amoungst others. Each method has its own variables such as in addition to cost. Different printing methods will produce different finishes

The printing process is often overlooked when a job is being designed for print. One must always take into account the printing process to ensure that the visual impact is optimised and to effectively manage schedule and budgetary constraints. This introduction to print will cover the full rangeof enquiries when it comes to the printing process.


lithography The lithographic printing process uses a treated metal plate to transfer (offset) a design via rubber blanket to the stock. Offset lithography is a high volume and speedy process that produces consistently clean results. Sheet-fed, offset litho presses are typically four colour. Offset web litho presses use a use a continuous roll of paper, which allows an even higher printing volume. ink

plate cylinder blanket cylinder

impression cylinder

Above is a visual example of how a lithogrpahic letterpress works.

untrimmed sheets


Monotone Here we have an example of a monotone image. A monotone image consists of one colour.

Duotone A duotone image consists of two colurs instead of one. In this example I have applied cyan and magenta together to create this two colour image.


Tritone Here to the right we have an example of a tritone image which consists of three colours. For this example I included a combination of cyan, magenta and yellow.

Quatone A quadtone image consists of four differet colours. It is also possible to alter the levels of light an darkness to achieve the desired affect for example working with black and white images can allow a more brighter, vibrant contrast of darkness.


silk screen printing

Silk screen printing imposes an image on to a substrate by forcing ink through a screen that contains the design.Screen printing is not a high volume printing method because each colour that is applied to the substrate has to dry before another can be applied, but it is a flexible method which can be used to apply a design to virtually any substrate. Screen printing consists of three elements: the screen which is the image carrier; the squeege;

and ink. The screen printing process uses a porous mesh stretched tightly over a frame made of wood or metal. Proper tension is essential to accurate color registration. The mesh is made of porous fabric or stainless steel mesh. A stencil is produced on the screen either manually or photochemically. The stencil defines the image to be printed in other printing technologies this would be referred to as the image plate.

13 The pattern to be produced is fixed on the screen in such a way that ink can pass through the screen’s mesh in those areas that are to be printed. The screen frame is placed over the substrate A squeegee is used to draw the printing ink over the screen, pressing it through the design and on to the substrate.

The screen is carefully removed to reveal the design that has been applied to the substrate.


Above is an example of a screen printed poster. It is a very simple illustration incoporating type and image. The poster appears to consist

maximum of two colours plus stock.


Above is an example of a screen printed image in the form of a typogrpahical poster. The poster may have been printed on

mum of two colours. It is always vital to take consideration the colours and stock in the process of designing the artwork ready for screen printing.


rotagravure Gravure printing is an example of intaglio printing. It uses a depressed or sunken surface for the image. The image areas consist of honey comb shaped cells or wells that are etched or engraved into a copper cylinder. The unetched areas of the cylinder represent the non-image or unprinted areas. The cylinder rotates in a bath of ink called the ink pan. As the cylinder turns, the excess ink is wiped off the cylinder by a flexible steel doctor blade. The ink remaining is the recessed

direct transfer to the substrate (paper or other material) as it passes between the plate cylinder and the impression cylinder. There are various types of products which are printed using gravure Food packaging Wall paper Wrapping paper Fruniture laminates Paneling Greeting cards Magazines

17 Impression roller


Gravure cylinder

Doctor blade (removes excess ink)

Above is a an illustrated diagram of how a rotagravure printer works.

Ink fountain



Letterpress is a method of relief printing whereby an inked, raised surface is pressed against the substrate. Letterpress was the first form of commercial printing, and much print specific terminology derives from it. The raised surface that makes the impression is typically made form pieces of type, but photoengraved plates can also be used. Letterpress printing can often be identified by the indentation made into the substrate.

A defect of letterpress printing is that the impression from the raised surface varies every time it is pressed against a substrate, giving the characters a uniqueness where each is subtly different, which is appealing to designers. this defect has become a popular style, to the extent that an original design is printing letterpress, and the result is scanned and reproduced in offset lithography to produce multiple copies of it.





Metal type Bed

Above is a an illustrated diagram of generally how a letterpress machine works.



Here we can see the printing process of applying the stock through the roller to create impressions from the letterheads from the letterpress.

21 Right: A good example of a business card made from using the letterpress technique.

Left: A series of posters using the letterpress technique.


flexography Flexography is the major process used to print packaging materials. Flexography is used to print corrugated containers, folding cartons, multiwall sacks, paper sacks, plastic bags, milk and beverage cartons, disposable cups and containers, labels, adhesive tapes, envelopes, newspapers, and wrappers (candy and food). In the typical flexo printing sequence, the substrate is fed into the press from a roll. The image is printed as substrate is pulled through a series of

Each print unit is printing a single color. As with Gravure and Lithographic printing, the various tones and shading are achieved by overlaying the 4 basic shades of ink. These are magenta, cyan, yellow and black. Magenta being the red tones and cyan being the blue. The major unit operations in a flexo printing operation are: Image preparation Plate making Printing Finishing

23 Paper

Doctor blade

Impression cylinder

Plate cylinder Anilox roller

Fountain roller

Above is a an illustrated diagram of how a flexographic printer works.

Ink fountain


Above is an example of the impression cylinder applied with the impression plate of a flexgraphic printer. The printer is closely examining the impressions of the plate to check for any imperfections the resulting print may come out with when printed.


Here we can see some examples of an extensive product range as a result of flexographic printing. Flexo printing is great for mass production for a number of items particularly product packaging.


thermography Thermography is an in line print finishing process that is used to produce raised lettering on paper substrates. Thermographic powder is deposited on to a sheet of a printed paper (from an offset press) while the ink is still wet. The powder sticks to the wet ink, and fuses to it when the substrate is passed through an oven, which leaves a raised surface with a motted texture, as seen in the example detailed provided on the next page. The process can also be used with letterpress printing. Thermography is also the name of a post

achieved today using traditional printing methods coupled with thermography machines. Thermography machines consist of three sections connected by a through conveyor. The first section applies thermographic embossing powder, made from plastic resins, to the paper. The areas selected for raised printing are printed with slow drying pigment inks that do not contain dryers or hardeners so that they remain wet during the application of powder. This ink is dried and hardened later during the heating process.


Ink fountain Ink roller Heater

Plate cylinder

Paper Impression cylinder

Above is a illustrated diagram of the process through thermographic printing.


Plate cylinder


Here we can see the finishing technique that thermographic printing produces. The products to the left were printed on on a black stock with a silver subtrate applied on top to give it a glossy varished feel.


lino cut Lino cut is a low-volume, relief printing method in which an image is cut into a thin piece of linoleum that is inked and mounted on to a piece of wood. The wood is then pressed against a substrate, and must be re-inked for every impression. The method was used by artists such as Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso. This method does not allow much margin for error. The edition length must be decided upon after the first printing because after the first cut for the second color has been made, there’s no

turning back either is there the option to experiment with color combinations between the layers for the same reason. If an artist decides that they got the first color wrong when they try to lay down the fourth, it would be too late to change it. It would become more a case of adjusting the later colors to work with the earlier ones.


Above is an image of the process of creating a handmade lino cut. The different scratches and lines are wht create the impression which will then be printed on ink. The lino cut patterns determine the tones and shades you what the have which will be then exposed onto paper or any chosen type of stock.



chapter THE BOOK OF



colour As designers one must always make considerations when it comes to applying colour to a piece of work, especially when commisioned by a client. Colour has become a permanent fixture in the field of visual communication as magazine and newspaper producers have taken advantage of the four colour printing technology developments, and companies and homes now have the capability

nce of affordable colour printing technology. Colour is a very intergral part through the design process, it has the ability to organise elements on a page and lead the eye from one item to another, instilling a heircarchy and consistency throughout your work. In terms of costings the use of colour can be very expensive therefore as designers it is mandatory to consider the cost of colour when designing for print.

35 As a young designer it is important to understand the terminologies within colour as well comprehending the different colour models. The two main colour models consist of CYMK and RGB. When designing for print one must always work using CYMK. To begin with, this colour model consists of four main colours which include “Cyan”, “Magenta”, “Yellow” and the “Key” colour which is Black. Cmyk is known as a subtractive colour model which means it works in the absense of colour using transparent colours to create full ones. The cyan ink absorbs red light but transmits green and blue, the magenta ink absorbs green light but transmits red and blue, and the yellow ink absorbs blue light but transmits

cts the transmitted light back to the viewer. Because in practice the CMY inks suitable for printing also reflect a little bit of color, making a deep and neutral black impossible, the K (black ink) component, usually printed last, is needed to compensate for their deficiencies. In contrast to this the RGB colour model is an addictive colour model in which red, green and blue light are comprised together in many ways to reproduce a vast array of colours. Rgb should be considered when designing for screen, enhancing the colours on devices such as television, and computers.


cmyk Magenta


Red Black


Yellow Green

CYMK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black) This diagram shows the subtractive primary colours.


rgb Red Magenta




Green Cyan

RGB (Red, Green and Blue) This diagram shows the additive primaries.


spot colours A spot color is a specially mixed ink using in printing. Spot color inks come in a rainbow of colors, including some specialty inks such as metallic and fluorescent. Unlike CMYK or process color which creates colors by laying down layers of just 4 specific inks, spot colors are pre-mixed and you use one ink for each color in the publication. You can also use tints of a spot color to get the appearance that you’re using more colors without the expense of additional-

inks.There are different brands of spot color inks. In the United States, the dominant spot color printing system is PANTONE. The Pantone Matching System or PMS consists of over 1,000 colors of ink. Other spot color systems include TOYO, DIC, and ANPA.


Above is an image which conveys how easily you can make a person/odject stand out in an image with the use of spot colours. Applying this technique on photoshop is relatively easy to apply and creates an eye catching resolution.


process colours Process colours is a method of achieving colour in printing which is also referred to as CMYK. CYMK consists of four main colours which makes this a four colour process. In order to reproduce a a colour image a file is seperated into four different colours which consist of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black, when printed the original image is then recreated. During seperation, screen tints comprised of small dots are applied at different angles to each of the four colours. Seperations are then transferred to four

different printed plates, one for each colour and run on a printing press with one colour overprinting the next. The compounded image fools the naked eye with the illusion of a continuous tone. Process colours are represented as percentages of cyan magenta, yellow and black, different percentages allow for numerous possibilities of colour choices. When four colour process printing is used to reprouce photographs etc decorative elements can be produced from these colours.


A color image is separated into CMYK. When printed on paper, the original image is



chapter THE BOOK OF



format The inception of standard paper sizes provide a convenient and systematic approach for designers and printers to exchange information about product specifications as well as controlling the costs of production. Paper sizes are categorised in ISO, DL, RA and SRA sizes based on the systems used within a specific part of the world and the processes they use for print production.


iso size Generally speaking, A sizes are used for printing everything from posters and technical drawings to magazines, office paper, notepads and postcards; B sizes are used for printing books; while C sizes are The ISO standard used for envelopes that provides for a range of will hold the A sizes. complementary paper sizes in order to cater for most common printing needs,as shown in the tables above. The ISO system is based on a height- to-width ratio of the square root of 2 (1:1.4142) which means that each size differs from the next or previous by a factor of 2 or 0.5.


standard paper size Format HxW 4A0 2A0 A0 A1 A2 A3 A4 A5 A6 A7 A8 A9 A10

a series

MM 1682 x 2378 1189 x 1682 841 x 1189 841 x 594 297 x 594 297 x 420 210 x 297 148.5 x 210 105 x 148.5 74 x105 52 x74 37 x 52 26 x 37


Format HxW B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B6 B7 B8 B9 B10

b series


707 500 353 250 176 125 88 62 44 31

x x x x x x x x x x

1000 707 500 353 250 176 125 88 62 44


c series

Format HxW


C0 C1 C2 C3 C4 C5 C6 C7 C8 C9 C10

917 648 458 324 229 162 114 81 57 40 28

x 1297 x 917 x 648 x 458 x 324 x 229 x 162 x 114 x 81 x 57 x 40


poster sizes Posters also have standard sizes that make their production much simpler. The A series system is based around a single sheet of 762mm x 508mm in portrait orientation. Multiples of this are used to produce the other sizes in the system for example: Six sheet Twelve sheet Forty eight sheet European Golden Square

1524 1524 3048 3962 6096

x x x x x

1016 3048 6096 3048 6096


newspaper format

Newspaper formats of three different type including berliner, tabloid and broadsheet. The formats vary considerably within different countries as some formats are more popular that others. The name of the newspaper format refers to the actual size of the page of the newspaper, the printed area within that can vary considerably depending on the newspaper. In some countries, particular formats have associations with particular types of newspaper, for example in the United Kingdom there is a distinction between “tabloid” and

“broadsheet” as references to the newspaper content quality as oppose to the page size of the newspaper. The misconception originates from more popular newspapers using the tabloid format hence the relation of typical trashy content being refered to as a “tabloid”.


berliner The berliner format is predominantly used by European newspaper printers and is usually sized between the tabloid and broadsheet format. In a newspaper context, the term Berliner is generally used only to describe size, not to refer to the other qualities of the publication.

broadsheet The berliner format is predominantly used by European newspaper printers and is usually sized between the tabloid and broadsheet format. In a newspaper context, the term Berliner is generally used only to describe size, not to refer to the other qualities of the publication.

tabloid Tabloid is a common format used for the printing of newspapers, the format of the page size is significantly smaller than Broadsheet although there is no standard for the precise dimensions of the tabloid newspaper format.



chapter iv THE BOOK OF



finishes Print finishing consists of a broad range of processes that can provide the final touches to a design once the substrate has been printed. These processes include die cutting, embossing, debossing. foil blocking , varnishing to name a few and can transform a simple looking piece into are more aesthetically pleasing, eye catching piece. Finishing processes can add decorative elements to a printed piece, such as the shimmer of a foil block, or a more engraved text-

urized aesthetics created by emboss or deboss. Finishing techniques can also provide added functionality to a design, and even be a constituent part of a publications format. For example, a die cut alters the physical product, perhaps altering its shape or providing an aperture through which other parts of the publication can be viewed.


varnishes A varnish is a colourless coating which is often applied to a printed piece or publication to protect it from scrapes or scuffing and normal wear and tear. A varnish is very effective in enhancing the visual appearance of a deisgnas well as intricate parts to the design. Varnish can produce three finishes which consist of gloss, dull & satin and uv coating can also be used to add decorative touches to the designs. Applying varnish increases coour absorption and speeds up

the drying process. By ‘lockin’ the printing ink under a protective coat, the varnish helps to prevent the ink rubbing off when the sustrate is handled. Varnish can be applied in line or ‘wet’ which basically means it is treated as an additional colour during the printing process. A wet layer of varnish is applied on to a wet layer of ink, and both are absorbed into the stock as they dry, which reduces the visual impact of the varnish.


Above is an example of a set of business cards applied with varnish intricately designed into a logo which is copied repetedly.


Above is an example of a spot varnish applied onto a business card. It has been applied onto a matt balck stock with the intricate part of the logo deisgn applied ont top of the type. This finish definitely stands out and creates a a clear, water like illusion making the product more aesthetically pleasing.



A gloss varnish relfects is a common finish used to bring out colours to make them more vibrant and creates are more vivid appearance on products such as photogrpahs, brcchures etc which also adds to the sharpness and saturation of images.

A matt varnish is used within text heavy pages to diffuse light, reduce glare and so increase readability. It produces are more refined, less vivid gloss but adds a smoothness to the printed page.


UV Varnish

Satin varnish is a middle option between the matt and gloss varnishes. It does appear to make image more vivid and highlights them but it is not as flat as a matt finish.

UV varnish is a clear liquid that is applied like ink and cured instantly without uv light. It can provide either a gloss or matt coating. Increasingly, uv varnish is used as a spot covering to highlight a particular image because it provides more shine than varnish.

Pearlescent This varnish produces a more luxurious effect adding subtle effects to reflect myriad colours.


die cut Die cutting is a process that uses a steel die to cut away a specified section of a design. Its mainly used for decorative purposes and to enhance the visual performance of a piece. In addition to altering the shape of a design for visual enhancement, a die cut can serve a functional purpose such as creating an aperture that allows a user to see inside or through a publication.


Above is an example of a note pad which has undergone the die cutting process. As we can see the american football in the midle of the cover has been the deisgn spcifically cut away thus also adding more depth to the product.


embossing and debossing An emboss or deboss is a design that is stamped into a substrate with ink or foil, which results in a three dimensional, raised , decorative or textured surface to provide emphasis to certain elements of a design. It is also useful to consider the type of you make intend to apply this finishing techniuque as generally thicker paper stocks are better than thinner stocks.

62 Right: Emboss finishing technique

Right: Deboss finishing technique


foil blocking

Foil blocking is a process whereby colourful foil is pressed o to a substrate using a heated die, which then causes the foil to seperate from its backing. The foil itself is made from a thin polyester film containing a dry pigment. Several terms are used to describe this process including foil stamp, heat stamp, hot stamp, block print and foil emboss.


Above: gold foiled typography on a purple stock.


Above: gold foiled typography on a purple stock.





Print Is Religion  
Print Is Religion  

An introduction to printing and its processes