Page 1

graphic design handbook

think offer hands-on approach to the processes

involved in turning a design into a printed piece and the use of original and creative print-production techniques.

graphic design handbook

Content Introduction


design basics



1.1 measurements

2.1 basic terminology

1.2 type

2.2 pantones & spot colours

1.3 layout

2.3 colour in print




3.1 standard paper

4.1 printing

5.1 binding

3.2 paper types

4.2 printing process

5.2 laminates and vanishes

3.3 sustainability

4.2 printing inposition

5.3 folding and trimming



glossary 6.1 glossary

INTRODUCTION This manual is written so that he content to the chapter approximates the steps in the graphic production cycle. The manual is written so that you can read through it from beginning to end or skip around to find just the specific information you need. Before you begin to create your printed project before you type a headline, sketch an illustration, or take a photo, before you even turn on your computer you have to know your goal.


chapter one

graphic basics Design, by its very nature is a versatile and creative discipline, but designers will oftern find themselves witjin defined boundaries, such as standard measurement systems, type and layout. These are the basic building blocksfinishing p. that help to give structure to a job, and a firm grasp of such foundmental concepts is crusial to good desigvn. The focis of this chapter then is on basic measurements, standard sizes, and some of the commin vocabulary used when talking about a design. A firm understanding of these will enables accurate communication and facilitate meaningful debate with printers, clients and design prossionals.

basic desing 1.1


Graphic design invloves the use of measurement to specify eveything from type size and page division to format size. Understands how different measurements are used helps to prevent problems in job developments and specification between the different professional involved in the absolute and relative Two type of measurement are used in typographic processes: absolute and relative measurements. As these are fundamental to the development of any design project, it is important to understand the differences between them.



absolute measurements

relative measurements

Absolute neasurements are measuremets of fixed values. For example, a millimetre is a precisely defined increment with a centimetre. Equally, points and picas, the basic typographic measurements, have fixed values, such as the 48pt above. All Absolute mesurements are expressed in finite term that cannot be altered.

In typography, many measurements, such as character spacing, are linked to type size, which means that their relationships are defined by series of relative measurements. Ems and ens for example, are relative measurements that have no prescribed, absolute size. Their size is relative to the size of type that us being set.


basic desing 1.2

type Typeisthetexturalelementswithinadesignthatustypicallyappliedthroughtheuseoftypesetcharacters. letteform Sets of typographic characters contain the letterforms, numbers and punctuation, all in a particular style or font. while most desktop publishing software allows a designer to make fake bold or italic characters from the base character set, fonts are normally available in these common variations and their use prevents possible distortion and spacing problems.



roman This sans serif font is the normal, basic or Roman version. Notice its variable stroke weigth and lack of serif stroke terminat

san serif This sans serif does not have decorative serif stroke terminations. Notice its even stroke weigth.

Stroke serif This is a serif font with subtle termination at the end of its stroke and a variable stroke weigth

aa italic This a true italic, a drawn typeface with an axis amgled between 7-20 degree. True italic are typically found with serif fonts.


basic desing 1.3

Layout is the managemnet of form and space in which the design components of a work are arranged. Layout aims to present the visual and textural elements that are to be communicated in manner that vo receive the message they contain. This chapter discusses some of the general principles of layout that have proven to be effective in design the page The page is the space that a design occupies is the space occupies, including the visual and textural elemets organised through the design. A page has a topography comprising different features that a designercan manipulate. This section introduces some of these features.



chapter two

color Colour has become a permanent fixture in the field of visual communication as magazine and newspaper producers have taken advantage of four-colour printing technology developmets, and companies and homes now have the capability of producting colour documents in house due to the emergence of affordable colour printing technology. Colour provides dynamism to a design, attracting the attention of the viewr, and perhaps eleciting an emotional responce. colour can also be used by a designer to help organize the elements on a page and lead the ye from one item to another, or instill hierachy.

basic desing 2.1

basic terminology

A great deal of terminology is used to describe colour and its various function. This spread examines those that are used to help designers,photographer, artists, printers and other professional communication colour ideas. describing colour As colour is essentially different wavelengths of ligth, design and colour professional use different values of hue,saturation and brigthness to describe it. Importantly for designers, there are two main colour models, that relate to work on screen(RGB), and printed work(CMYK). CMYK( Cyan,Magenta,Yellow and Black) This diagram shows the subtractie primary colours. Each of these has one of the additive primaries missing. where two subtractive primaries overlap, only one additive primary is visible.




RGB(Red,Green and Blue) This diagram shows the additive primaries. Where red and green overlap, yellow is created. Magenta is formed where red and blue overlap, cyan is created where blue and green overlap. These secondary are the subtractive primaries. Each additive primary represents a componet of white ligth, so where all colours overlap, white produced





color 2.2

pantone and spot colour Graphic designers use spot colours to ensure that a particular in a design will print. This may be nessessary 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 colour have greater intensity and vibrancy as tgey print as a solid rather than ine that is composed of half-tne dots, as the panerls below show. spot colour and CMYK


C 0

M 50

Y 0

K 0

The far left-hand corner square is printed as a fluorescent PM 806C spot colour and its nearest CMYK version is printed on the left. The process colour square is much duller that the spot colour version as it is made with half-tone dots of colour, whereas the special special is applied as a flat colour. The approximation of a CMYK colour to a process colour varies.In this example, the colour conversion colour, uses a 5o percent magenta and no colour , which does not give give the same intensity - it essentially prints as a tint.

color 2.2 pantone systems The Pantone Colour system has developed to include a wide range of different colour, include special solid, hexachrome, metallic and pastel colour. The Pantone system allocates a unique reference number to each hue and shade to faciliate communication between designers and printers, such as Pantone 802C, the fluorescent spot colour used on this page mixing a spot colour Spot colour are made from various base elements, mixed accoriding to a specific recipe. Spot colour inks can be bougth pre-mixed and ready to used or they can be created by mixing the constituents parts.

Pantone guide explained Pantone solid

A range of solid metallaic, pastel and process colour that can be used on different paper stock and sustrates.

Pantone pastel

A range of flat, solid, but bery pale colour. These are different to tints as they print as a solid colour without visible dots.

Pantone hexachrone

A range of six process colour used for hexochronme printing. In addition to the CMYK process colour, system adds green and orange process colour allowing it to reproduce 90 percent of the PMS.

Pantone metallics

A range of over 300 special colour that give a metallic effect including silver, gold and copper colour.


color 2.2

colour in print Before sending a desing to print a designer can use a range methods to ensure that colour used will appear as intended. getting the basics rigth When work is send to print, its is unlikely that there will further opportunities to rectify mistakes. For this reason, it is vital that checks are corried out on some of the most basic elemets. preparing colour for print On completion, the designer must carry out numner of pre-press checks to ensure clear communication between designer, client and printer. A designer must also review certain elemets that may pose printing problems. The check list on the rigth shows some common colour pitfalls when sending files to print.

before sending a file to print 1. Deleted all unused colours 2. Ensure all that you want to print is actually in black 3. Ensure all that should be in registration is in registration 4. Ensure all spot colours are accounted for. 5. Ensure all images are conversted to CMYK and not RGB 6. Ensure all you are clear that your colour-fall matches 7. Ensure your imported swatches are of the rigth value

color 2.2 tints and mixing colour Process and spcial colour can be combined using tints and overprinting to produce many different colour effects. tints Threetrichromatic process colour(CMY) can be printed in increments of ten per cent to produce 1,330 tints. However tints below ten per cent and above 90 per cent may not print accurately due to dot gain.

overprinitng Overprinting is where one ink over prints another so that thay mix to create different colours. As colour theory dictates, overprinting pairs of the three trichromatic subtractive primary process colours.


multi-ink Tints of two or more process colour can be combined to create new colour combinations using the multi-ink funtion. A designer can select different colour and tint levels, although the combined colour get duller as more co-

C 50% Y 50%

C 20% M 20% Y20% K20%



chapter three

paper The type of paper you choose to print your project on has a number of key terms: brightness, weight, and coating. Each of them describes different aspects of the paper and will help you decide what kind of paper you should use for your specific project.

paper 3.1

standard sizes

Standard paper size provide a convenent and efficient meams for designers and printers to communicate product specifications and control costs, as weill be explored over the next few paper and envelope sizes Standard size provide a ready means for selecting product formats that work together, such as A4 paper and B4 for books, which enjoy a synergy between their specifications. A6


B6 A4



B5 A2 A3

B2 B3





A size - used for prinitng

B size - used for books


A0 A2 A3 A4 A5 A6

33.1 23.3 16.5 8.26 5.82 2.91

x x x x x x

46.8 31.1 23.3 11.6 8.26 4.13

B0 B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B6

39.3 27.8 19.6 13.8 9.84 6.92 4.92

x x x x x x x

55.6 39.3 27.8 19.6 13.8 9.84 6.92


paper 3.2 paper types Many different types of paper stock are available to the designer. In additional to adding different colour and textures to a print job, these also have different printability characteristics and cost. Paper characteristics that affect printability include its smoothness , absorbency, opacity smoothness


The smooth surface of these stocks is obtained through the use of filler elements that may be polished with calendering rollers. They are typically as well.

Opacity is used to describe the extent to which whatever is printed on one side of a sheet shows thriough and is visible on the other. High-opacity papers have no show-through.


ink holdout

Stock have different absorbency levels, which is the degree to which the ink penetrates it. Printing inks tend to dry quiker on absorbents stocks, but absorbency may cause problems such as dot gain.

This is the degree to which a stock resists ink penetration due to its relative lack of absorbency. Coated stock may be particular prone to ink holdout as the ink sits on the surface, which in turn increase drying time.

paper 3.3


Enviromental sustainability is becoming a key concern for both clients and final consumers in order to reduce the impact of production and our lifestyle on the Earth’s resources. Companies are now actively engaging in efforts to reducing waste and changing purche products that are less sustainable


For several years now, sustainable printing has been a growing concept in the printing industry and many printers specialise in offering environmentally friendly services to cater for this growing niche of consumers that want to make a difference.

The forest Stewardship Counsil. Is non-profit organisation looks for solutions to the prooblems created by bad forestry practices. Paper produced from forest managed in accordance to the principles of the FCS can be endorsed with this logo to indicate that it has been produced resposibly, thus allowing paper buyers to make more informed choice when selecting stocks.

This effort goes beyond the use of recycled paper to include developments such as chlorinefree paper, ‘waterless’ technology, and environmentally-friendly inks made from linseed and soya vegetable oils. Vegetable inks are less toxic and easier to remove than tradational pigment transfer vehicles, which eases the deinking process paper recycling, according to The Natinal Non-Food Crops Centre.




chapter four

production In order to turn the design into a finished piece of work, a number of processes must be carried out, such as selecting the print method to used , preparing the artwork for print and selecting the stock that is to be printing on (although this will usually already have been decided on). By the a job reaches the production stage most potential problems should have been ironed out. However, thee printing process can generated problems of its own due to press conditions, ink-film thicknessm registration and so on. Fortunately various checking methods exist to ensure that the final result appears as the designer intended and the client expects it to be.

production 4.1


Printing is the process by which 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 the priting requirements for a job through a print order, which includes the printing the printing process to be used. understanding print order

standard print order

Print order is the senquence in which the different colour used in a job are liad during the printing process. For the four colour printing process, order is CYMK. The K of CMYK stands for key, as black is the coliur that all other colours ‘key’ to when registering.

The illustration under show what is considered the normal order in which colour plates print,together with the final result. And the illustration on the far rigth shows whta happen if the plates are out of sequense . In this example the M and Y plates.


production 4.2

printing imposition Imposition i sthe arrangement of pages ina sequence and the position in which they will be printed before cut, folded and trimmed. description The imposition plan where the different pages of a design will be printed, and will depend on how it will be printed and folded. In the previous chapter we looked at how the inposition plan is used to work out the colour fall for a publication.The imposition plan also relates to how a printer imposes the job for printing as deifferent methods may be used. This spread aims to familiarise you with terminology common in the printing industry. 7




8 6











sheet work Printing one side of a paper, turning it over and printing the other side with a separate plate.

production 4.2 7
















work and turn Printing one side of a sheet, turning it from front to back and printing the second side. 7
















work and tumble work and tumble uses one plate to print both sides of a sheet. This method requires one plate per printed sheet.


production 4.3

printing process Printing is a process that applies ink or varnish from a printing plate to a substrate through the application of pressure. Modern printing whereby the ink is sprayedon the substrate. printing methods There are four main process used by the commercial printing industry- offset lithography , gravure, letterpress and slik- allof which in cost, production quality and production rate or volume. lithography Lithography printing is a processs through which the inked image form a printing plate is tranferred or offset on to a rubber blanket roller, which is then pressed against the substrate. Lithography uses a smooth priniting plate and functions on the basil that oil and water repel each other, when the plate passes under the ink roller, non-image areas that have a water film repel the oily inks that stick to the image areas. Lithography produces good photographic reproduction and fine linework ona variety of stocks. The printing plates are easy to prepare and high speeds are achievable, which helps

make it low-cost printing method. web printing Web printing uses stock that is supplied on massive rolls rather than individual sheets. This allow for higher volume printing speeds and lower production cost per unit for high-volume print jobs. Webs can be used with lithograhy, but more commonly with relief printing methods such as rotogravure and flexography as the plates are more duable. Due to the scale and cost of this production method, it is not suitable for low-volume print runs.

production 4.3 lithographic press

paper on web press

problems with web & litho printing The main drawbacks to offset lithography concern prints runs, the cost benifits of the methd achieved with medium to long prints runs. The high and very high prints runs can start to suffer due to wear on the plate, so rotogravures is generally used instead.

Colour control can be an issue as well. Problems with the ink/water balance on the plate the presence of water can cause more absorbent substrates to distort. A dense ink film is also difficult to achieve.


production 4.3 moveable type

block type

block type

letter press A method of relief printing whereby an inked, raised surface is pressed aganist a substrate. letterpress was the first commercial printing method and the source of many printing methods. The raised surface that inked for printing may be made from single type blocks, cast line or engraved plates. Relief printing methods can be identified by the sharp and precise edges to letter and their heavier ink borders.


Rotogravure is a more common comeercial relief print process in which an image is engraved inot a copper printing plate is pressed directly agaist the substrate. Using a laser or diamond tool, small cells are engraved into the pplate to hold the ink will tranfer to the stock, with a separate printing unit for each colour. Rotogravure is a high speed printing process that can give the highest production volume and has the widest printing presses.


chapter five

finishing Finishing includes a wide ramge of process to provide the finishing touches to a design once the substrate has printed. These processes include die cutting, binding, laminates and varnishes, all of which can transform an ordinary-looking piece into something much more interesting and dynamic. Although the application of print-finishing technique signals the end of the production process, these techniques should not be considered as afterthoughts, but as an integral part of a design at the planninig stage.

finishing 5.1

binding Binding is a process through which the various pages that compries a job are gathered and sucured help together so that they function as a publication. types of binding Many different types of blinding are the available and they all have have different durability, aesthtics, cost and functional characteristcs, as shown on the opposite page.

book binding bookbinding involves a variety if processes to produces a finished book. The various sections that form the book block are either stitchen or glues to hold them together. The book block may then be shaped or curved.

End papers of stronger stock are added to provide to provide marterial foir the cover to adhere to provide protection to the top and bottom of the binding, as well as for decorative effect, the cover is applied.

finishing 5.1 spiral binding

perfect binding

A spiral of metal wire that winds through punched holes allowing the publications to open flat.

The backs of sections are removed and help together with a flexiable adhesive, which also attaches a paper cover to the spine,and the fore eldge trimmed flat. Commonly used for paperback books.

singer stitch

saddle stitch

A binding method whereby thr pages are sewn together with one continual thread

Signature are nested and bound with wire stitch, applied through the spine along the centrefold


finishing 5.2

laminates and varnishes Laminates and varnishes are print finishes applies to the printed job to add a finishing touch to the surface types of varnish gloss



Colour appear richer and more vivid when printed with a gloss varnish, so photographs appear and more saturated. For this reason, a gloss finish is often used for brochures or other photographic publications.

The opposite of gloss varnish a matt coating will soften the apperance of a printind image. It will also make text easier to read as it diffuses ligth, thus reducing glare.

The application of basic, almost invisble, coating that seals the printing ink without affecting the appearance of the job. It is often used to accelerate the drying of fast turnaround print jobs.




A highly reflective laminate that is used tto enhance the appearance of graphic elements and photographs on covers as it increase colour saturation.

A matt laminates helps diffuse ligth and reduce gales to increase the readability of textheavy design.

types of laminate

A laminate that gives a subtle leather texture to a design.

finishing 5.2 artwork

positive varnish layer

negative varnish layer




Pictured above is a schematic of the artwork that is to receive a varnish.

This images shows the file for a posiitive varnish application in which the images will receive the varnish

This images shows the negative varnishfile in which the non-image areas will receive the varnish and the pictures will remain untouched

supply artwork for a laminates or vanish Any part of a printed surface can have a spot vasnish or laminate applied. To achieve this, a designer must send a separate file to show a exactly where it will be place. The file contains the artwork with the spot varnish or laminate design presented in black as it will run as a solid colour without any screening, while all other areas are

white. Varnishes and laminates can be applied in different ways to produce a variety of effects. For example, a positive varnish could be applie to the page to cover rge text and images. Conversely, a negative varnish could be applied where there are inprinted areas.


finishing 5.3

folding and trimming

Folding encompasses a range of different methods for turning a printed sheey into a more compact

types of fold

The majority of folding techniques make use of the basic valley and mountain folds to create a series of peak and troughs. front / back accordion With three parallel folds, the two-panels outer wings fold into and out of the centre. The double-panel centre serves as the cover harmonica self-cover folder An accordian fold where the first two panels form a cover the other panels fold into. The first two panels need to be larger than the others to allow for creep. mock book fold Essentially an accordian fold where the penultimate two panels form a cover that the other panels fold into to create a book

w trimming and guillothing Once a job has been printing, it proceeds to the finishing stage to undergo processes such as trimming, whereby excess stock is cut away from the design to produce the final format. While trimming may fall outside a designer’s brief. discussing the the trimming requiremnts with the printer or finishing firm may provide useful information that can be included wthin the design to avoid industrial guilltine

trimmed printed work

The stock pile bows upwards in the middle as it is secured.

The cutter blade tends to slide forward as it cuts through a pile of stock

cutter draw A trimming machine has a cutter under which the trim marks a designer has places on a print job to mark its edges are aligned. The printing pages are help secure and the blades descends under high pressure through the substrate to make the cut.


glossary Print production features a wealth of specialist to describe different processes, attributes and characteristics. This glossary is intended to define some of the most common ued terms, including those that are often confused or inappropriately. Understanding this terns will facilitate a better understanding and articulations of the print production.

Absolute measurements A finite, fixed value such as a millimetre.

Imposition Sequence and position that pages will print,fold,cut and trim.

Resolution the number pf pixels contain a image, expressed.

Binding A process through which the various pages that comprisea printed work.

Lamanited A layer of plastic coating, that produce a smooth finish.

RGB The addiactive primary colour of white ligth.

CMYK The subtractive colours used as four colour printing.

Layout Management of form and apce in a design.

Stock The substrate that a job is printed upon.

Die cutting Dexottively cut way stock

Overprinting Mix inks to create a different colour.

Tint A colour printed at ten percent.

Em Unit of typography measurement liked to type.

Printing A process that apply ink from plate to paper with pressure.

Vanish A colour coating applied to a printed piece to enhance appearance.

Folding Different methods for turning a printed sheet into a compact.

Proofing An accurate sample of the final reproduction.



Th-ink offer hands-on approach to the processes involved in turning a design into a printed piece and the use of original and creative pri...