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Contents Page 4:

Paper Size (intro)

Page 5:

Paper Size (ISO System)

Page 6:

Paper Size (A Format)

Page 7:

Paper Size (B Format)

Page 8:

File Type (Intro)

Page 9:

File Type (PDF, Tiff, psd, Ai, indd)

Page 10:

Imposition (Intro)

Page 11:

Imposition (Imposition dummy)

Page 12:

Colour (intro)

Page 13:

Colour (colour)

Page 14:

Colour (cmyk / rgb)

Page 15:

Colour (Rich Black)

Page 16:

Colour (Multitone - mono,duo,trio)

Page 17:

Colour (Spot Colour)

Page 18:

Print Processes (Intro)

Page 19:

Print Processes (Digital Printing)

Page 20:

Print Processes (Offset Litho)

Page 21:

Print Processes (Screen Printing)

Page 22:

Print Processes (Rotogravure)

Page 23:

Print Processes (Pad Printing)

Page 24:

Stock Considerations (Intro)

Page 25:

Stock Considerations (Paper Weight)

Page 26:

Stock Considerations (Coated stock / Uncoated stock)

Page 27:

Stock Considerations (Examples)

Page 28:

Proofing (Intro)

Page 29:

Preflight Info / Proofing Issues

Page 30:

Book Binding (Intro)

Page 31:

Book Binding (Types of Binding)

Page 32:

Finishing (Intro)

Page 33:

Finishing (Foiling)

Page 34:

Finishing (Embossing)

Page 35:

Finishing (Die Cut)

Page 36:

Finishing (Fore Edge Printing)

Page 37:

Finishing (Varnishing)

Page 38:

Costing (Intro)

Page 39:

Costing (Print Finish)

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Paper Size Before you begin designing it is very important to consider the size and format you will be printing in.

ISO System

In the ISO paper size system, the height-to-width ratio of all pages is the square root of two (1.4142 : 1). In other words, the width and the height of a page relate to each other like the side and the diagonal of a square. This aspect ratio is especially convenient for a paper size. If you put two such pages next to each other, or equivalently cut one parallel to its shorter side into two equal pieces, then the resulting page will have again the same width/height ratio.

The ISO paper sizes are based on the metric system. The square-root-of-two ratio does not permit both the height and width of the pages to be nicely rounded metric lengths. Therefore, the area of the pages has been defined to have round metric values. As paper is usually specified in g/m, this simplifies calculation of the mass of a document if the format and number of pages are known. The current ISO 216 standard was introduced in 1975 and is a direct follow up to the german DIN 476 standard from 1922. The Netherlands have used the DIN/ISO standard since 1925, Belgium since 1924, England (UK) since 1959 and France since 1967. ISO 216 is also called EN 20216 in Europe.

ISO Series

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A Format

Successive paper sizes in the series A1, A2, A3, and so forth, are defined by halving the preceding paper size along the larger dimension. The most frequently used paper size is A4 210 by 297 millimetres (8.3 in Ă— 11.7 in).

A Format

The significant advantage of this system is its scaling: if a sheet with an aspect ratio of is divided into two equal halves parallel to its shortest sides, then the halves will again have an aspect ratio of . The main disadvantage of the system is type does not scale the same way; therefore, when a page is resized, the type set on it loses legibility as the proportion between the type’s x-height, page margins, and leading are distorted. When trim is involved, as in the manufacture of books, ISO 216 sizes are generally too tall and narrow for book production.

B Format In addition to the A series, there is a less common B series. The area of B series sheets is the geometric mean of successive A series sheets. So, B1 is between A0 and A1 in size, with an area of 0.707 m2 ( m2). As a result, B0 is 1 metre wide, and other sizes in the B series are a half, a quarter or further fractions of a metre wide.

B Format

Many posters use B-series paper or a close approximation, such as 50 cm Ă— 70 cm; 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.

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File Type Often printers will require specific file types. It is important that your designs meet these requirements or your product may not be printed correctly.

File Type

Most file formats are made to handle a specific kind of artwork, typically either vector (Illustrator) or raster art (Photoshop). Due to the extensive range of print applications, you should use ‘standard’ formats that can contain any kind of artwork for saving and opening across applications. A client for example may not have the Adobe programmes installed on their computer. The Save As option allows us a save a document in one of the standard formats.

PDF: This is useful for precise layout and significant amount of formatted text. They are usually quite small in size in comparison to other file types and so are often preferred by print companies, this is because of the image (JPEG) compression. TIFF: This is an industry standard file type designed purely for the handling of bitmap and raster images. EPS: This is a format that wraps all artwork in PostScript coding - This includes both vector and bitmapped artwork. This usually includes a low resolution preview of the artwork for display purposes.

File Type

Saving this way also allows us to rename a file, flatten artwork, reduce file size, simplify, and remove extra paths etc.

Ai, PSD, INDD etc: These can only be opened and edited in their own formats and on their own programmes.

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Imposition This allows you to arrange the pages on the printers sheet in the most efficient way, resulting in faster printing and simplified binding.

Imposition Imposition is one of the fundamental steps in the prepress printing process. It assists in the arrangement of the printed product’s on the printer’s sheet, in order to obtain faster printing, simplified binding and reduced paper waste. Correct imposition minimizes printing time by maximising the number of pages per impression, reducing cost of press time and materials. To achieve this, the printed sheet must be filled as fully as possible. Often, in design and layout for print media, folding dummies are created in miniature to plan for a publication’s structure, content, and visual continuity, these are also often referred to as imposition dummies. These impositions dummies work as a testing process to check for any mistakes etc that may occur later and to prepare for any alterations that may also be needed. Imposition has been a requirement since the earliest days of printing. When pages were set using movable type, pages were assembled in a metal frame called a chase, and locked into place using wedges called quoins. The first digital imposition software, Impostrip, was released in 1989. The advent of digital imposition has not only helped a lot in making sure layout and sheet arrangement are correct with higher register precision, but it significantly reduces the usual imposition errors (e.g., slight movements of register due to parallax).


Digital imposition can be approached in many different ways: imposition in the design application, post-design imposition, print driver imposition and finally output device imposition.

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Colour There are different colour modes for different ways of working in design. You need to make sure that your colour mode is set to CMYK before sending a document to print.

Colour Colours have an effect on our emotions within 90 seconds of viewing. Colour impression accounts for up 60% of the acceptance or rejection of a product or service.

Colour printing is the reproduction of an image or text in colour (as opposed to simpler black and white or monochrome printing).



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CMYK is a colour model in which all colours are described as a mixture of these four process colours. CMYK is the standard colour model used in offset printing for full-colour documents. Because printing in this way uses inks of these four basic colours, it is often called four-colour printing. When CMY “primaries” are combined at full strength, the resulting “secondary” mixtures are red, green, and blue. Mixing all three theoretically results in black, but imperfect ink formulations do not give true black, which is why the additional K component is needed. The “K” in CMYK stands for key since in four-color printing cyan, magenta, and yellow printing plates are carefully keyed or aligned with the key of the black key plate.


The CMYK model works by partially or entirely masking colours on a lighter, usually white, background. The ink reduces the light that would otherwise be reflected. Such a model is called subtractive because inks “subtract” brightness from white.

RGB The RGB color model is an additive color model in which red, green, and blue light are added together in various ways to reproduce a broad array of colours. The name of the model comes from the initials of the three additive primary colours, red, green, and blue. The main purpose of the RGB color model is for the sensing, representation, and display of images in electronic systems. RGB is a device-dependent color model: different devices detect or reproduce a given RGB value differently. CMYK Subtractive

RGB Additive

Rich Black Rich black, in printing, is an ink mixture of solid black over one or more of the other CMYK colours, resulting in a darker tone than black ink alone generates in a printing process. A typical rich black mixture might be 100% black, 50% of each of the other three inks. Printing standards such as FOGRA39 (for coated paper) or FOGRA29 (for uncoated paper) also provide rich black guidelines (91%C 79%M 62%Y 97%K and 96%C 70%M 46%Y 86%K respectively).

Rich Black

Rich black is often regarded as a color that is “blacker than black�. While this seems like nonsense, the difference can often be seen in the printed piece.

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Multitone Duotone

A duotone is the generic name for multitone printing, which can be done with two, three or four inks. This process requires that the press be set up with special inks, usually Pantone-designated colours, instead of the standard CMYK inks used for process color printing. Usually the images are printed with a dark base colour and a lighter second colour, overprinted to fill in, tint and tone the photo or graphic.


Duotone is a halftone reproduction of an image using the superimposition of one contrasting colour halftone (traditionally black) over another color halftone. Halftone is the reprographic technique that simulates continuous tone imagery through the use of dots, varying either in size, in shape or in spacing. This is most often used to bring out middle tones and highlights of an image. The most common colours used are blue, yellow, browns and reds.

Spot Colour Refers to a method of specifying and printing colors in which each color is printed with its own ink. In contrast, process colour printing uses four inks (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) to produce all other colors. Spot color printing is effective when the printed matter contains only one to three different colors, but it becomes prohibitively expensive for more colours.

Its not un-common to see a ‘full colour’ print job having an additional spot colour or ‘special’ as its known added to it either during the actual printing process or added after in a sepearte process. Some large printing machines have an additional facility for this, taking form a 4 colour machine to a 5th or 6th colour machine, so they are able to print the whole document using full colour and two spot colours in one pass.

Most desktop publishing and graphics applications allow you to specify spot colors for text and other elements. There are a number of color specification systems for specifying spot colors, Spot colour is common when metallic colours are required, but Pantone is the most widely whereby they will not be used. achievable using the CMYK process. Spot Colour is used by actually mixing ink to the desired colour Printing using Spot Colours can be rather than using the CMYK cost effective but not only this, it’s process to achieve it. The printer will mix varying amounts of colour greatest benefit is that it can create an exact colour. to reach the correct consistency and then this is printed directly This is often useful in branding or onto the document. on logo designs where the exact match must be met.

Spot Colour

Spot Colour

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Print Processes There are a large range of printing processes. Many are beneficial to certain designs whilst others have their drawbacks. It is important to think about your chosen printing process for a piece of design, as this can either make or break your finished product.

Digital Printing Digital printing refers to methods of printing from a digital based image directly to a variety of media. It usually refers to professional printing where small job runs from desktop publishing and other digital sources are printed using large format and/or high volume laser or inkjet printers.

Digital Printing

Digital printing has a higher cost per page than more traditional offset printing methods but this price is usually offset by the cost saving in avoiding all the technical steps in between needed to make printing plates. It also allows for on demand printing, short turn around, and even a modification of the image (variable data) with each impression.

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Offset Lithography Offset lithography is a process used for printing on a flat surface, using printing plates. An image is transferred to a printing plate, which can be made of a variety of materials such as metal or paper. The plate is then chemically treated so that only image areas (such as type, colors, shapes and other elements) will accept ink. Water and ink is applied to the plate. Because of the chemical treatment, ink only “sticks” to the image areas, which reject the water. Areas without images reject the ink. The plate is then rolled onto a rubber cylinder applying the inked area, and in turn the rubber cylinder (or “blanket”) applies the image to the paper. The system is “offset” because the plate does not come in direct contact with the paper, which preserves the quality of the plate.

Offset Lithography

Offset Lithography Machine

Screen Printing

Screen Printing Screen printing is arguably the most versatile of all printing processes. It can be used to print on a wide variety of substrates, including paper, paperboard, plastics, glass, metals, fabrics, and many other materials. including paper, plastics, glass, metals, nylon and cotton. Some common products from the screen printing industry include posters, labels, decals, signage, and all types of textiles and electronic circuit boards. The advantage of screenprinting over other print processes is that the press can print on substrates of any shape, thickness and size.

Screen Printing

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Rotogravure Rotogravure is an intaglio printing process. in which letters and pictures are transferred from an etched copper cylinder to a web of paper, plastic, or similar material in a rotary press.


Newspapers offered an efficient way to use rotogravure printing because of the industry’s economies of scale. Etching a metal cylinder to produce a page of rotogravure was expensive, and high volume printing was essential in order to reduce the cost per page. Publishers who invested in the new technology, however, were rewarded. Rotogravure printing is so consistent that colour variations are rare, ink does not smear, and pages can be handled (and bundled for shipping) immediately.

Pad Printing Pad printing is a printing process that can transfer a 2-D image onto a 3-D object. This is accomplished using an indirect offset (gravure) printing process that involves an image being transferred from the clichĂŠ via a silicone pad onto a substrate. Pad printing is used for printing on otherwise impossible products in many industries including medical, automotive, promotional, apparel, and electronic objects, as well as appliances, sports equipment and toys. It can also be used to deposit functional materials such as conductive inks, adhesives, dyes and lubricants. Physical changes within the ink film both on the clichĂŠ and on the pad allow it to leave the etched image area in favor of adhering to the pad, and to subsequently release from the pad in favor of adhering to the substrate. The unique properties of the silicone pad enable it to pick the image up from a flat plane and transfer it to a variety of surfaces, such as flat, cylindrical, spherical, compound angles, textures, concave, or convex surfaces.

Pad Printing

Pad Printing

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Stock Considerations Choice of stock needs to be addressed before you even begin to create your design as this can determine your content or printing process.

Paper Weight GSM stands for ‘Grams per Square Metre’, It’s a measurement of paper quality which allows for printers to be far more precise than they could be with wooly terms like ‘thick’, ‘thin’ and ‘kinda in the middle’. As the name suggests, it tells you how much a square metre of the paper or card you’re using would weigh (in grams, believe it or not). Although everyone tends to think in terms of thickness, with premium print being on thicker paper, it’s a good means of standardising the business and making sure that customers know what they’re getting.

Paper Weight

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Coated / Uncoated Stock Coated stocks are not always glossy, and are available in a variety of finishes such as dull, matt or silk finish. Unfortunately the loss of glossiness on the inks is also the result when these stocks are used. Often designers will specify a varnish on the pictures to gloss them back up when printed on to such dull finished stocks.

These uncoated papers soak much larger quantities of ink, based on the porousness and the surface area of the uneven finish of the uncoated stock.

Uncoated papers, due to the fibers of the wood and other fillers are very rough compared to the coated stocks. Uncoated stocks are classified as bonds, offsets, card, newsprint etc.

Uncoated stocks have a tendency to dry faster to the touch, as the ink vehicles (oils in the ink) are absorbed into the porous paper.

Coated / Uncoated Stock

The inks printed on an uncoated stock are also heavier in volume per square area and are sometimes never dry to a rub resistance.

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Stock Quality It is always important to know your stocks. Included in your sample pack in a 52 Pack of Stock Cards Set. This si a reference source for various different stock, their quality, gsm, colour, texture etc. Printing a beautiful design onto the wrogn stock can give a completely different impression to what was intended. Make sure you take time to consider the stock you will print on to.

Stock Quality

Some stocks are coated, where as other are uncoated, some are t extures, some are hand made etc. These are all things to consider when choosing which stock best suites your design.

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Proofing Proofing is essential to make sure that a design matches the exact requirements of both the client and the printers.

Preflight Pre-flighting is a term used in the printing industry to describe the process of confirming that the digital files required for the printing process are all present, valid, correctly formatted, and of the desired type.


A preflight check, checks all used images and fonts in the document. It checks whether the images can be found at their specific location, that all links are correctly put in place, and if they are in the correct colour mode. It also checks that all fonts used have been loaded and installed correctly.

Proofs are also a very necessary aspect before taking a document to print. The preflight does not recognise all errors within the file therefore you need to make sure you do various general proofs:

If there are any missing files, you are able to replace them from the preflight check dialogue screen. A small warning icon with indicate a problem and this will appear in the dialogue box.

- Check spelling and grammar, not once but at least twice!

- Is the size of the document correct? This must be the correct size that you have given to the printer, and the correct size that the client requested. It’s a simple mistake but it does happen.

- Check the resolution of any images, it must be 300dpi for printing to avoid blurs or pixilations. - Are your colour separations correct? Make sure there are no unnecessary Pantone colours mixing with your CMYK colours.

Proofing / Preflight

- Is the bleed correct? The bleed ensures there are no white area’s around the edges of a printed document by running the ink over the edge of the document ver so slightly before the finished piece is trimmed.

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Binding When binding a document it’s always important to consider the most appropriate format; double loop, perfect bind, saddle stitch, thermal tape, etc.

Book Binding Bookbinding is the process of physically assembling a book from a number of folded or unfolded sheets of paper or other material. It usually involves attaching a book cover to the resulting text-block.

Book Binding

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Finishing Finishing is often one of the most important aspects of a piece of design. The right finish can make you work stand out from the rest.

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Foiling The foil stamping process begins by etching the image to be stamped onto metal plates — generally made from copper, steel or magnesium, using century’s old techniques. This raised image is transferred by heat and pressure onto a suitable surface using a film commonly known as the “foil.” This foil is placed between the the etched plate and the surface of the sheet to be stamped. This process allows the image to be permanently transferred.


The foil plates are etched in reverse (negative image) and are often heated to over 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

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Embossing Embossing

Embossing refers to the creation of an impression of some kind of design, decoration, lettering or pattern on another surface like paper, cloth, metal and even leather, to make a relief. In regular printing or an engraving, plates are pressed against the surface to leave an imprint. In embossing however, the pressing raises the surfaces adding a new dimension to the object.


Sheet metal embossing is a process for producing raised or sunken designs or relief in sheet metal. This process can be made by means of matched male and female roller dies, or by passing sheet or a strip of metal between rolls of the desired pattern. Embossing can also be the process of creating a three-dimensional image or design in paper and other materials. Embossing is typically accomplished by applying heat and pressure with male and female dies, usually made of copper or brass, that fit together and squeeze the fibers of the substrate. The combination of pressure and heat raises the level of the image higher than the substrate, while “ironing� it to make it smooth. In printing this is accomplished on a letterpress.

Die Cut

Die Cut Die cutting is a manufacturing process used to generate large numbers of the same shape from a material such as wood, plastic, metal, or fabric. The die cut shapes are sometimes called “blanks,� because they are usually finished and decorated before being sold.

Depending on what is being made, a single die might cut one piece of material, or it might be designed to slice through multiple layers, generating a stack of blanks.

Die Cut

The process is widely used on an assortment of materials all over the world, and many manufactured products contain several die cut components, often assembled together in a series of steps to create a finished product.

Sharp specially shaped blades are used in die cutting. The blade is bent into the desired shape and mounted to a strong backing. The result is known as a die. The material being cut is placed on a flat surface with a supportive backing, and the die is pressed onto the material to cut it.

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Fore Edge Printing Edge printing also known as painting, at its surface sounds pretty simple – it’s a process by which color is applied to the edges of cards, invitations, even books or journals. Edge painting can be done in any color, including metallics and foils (!), and is usually mixed by hand to be matched to a specific Pantone color. The edge painting process takes place after all graphics and text have been printed and all paper materials cut down to size. Edge painting involves a padding press (pictured above), ink, and a brayer.

Fore Edge Printing

The cards should be stacked on the padding press, making sure that the cards are pressed against one wall of the padding press as evenly as possible. Crank down the vice(s) on the press, applying pressure to the cards, making them nice and snug.

Fore Edge

Remove the outer wall off the padding press, leaving one side exposed. This the side that will receive the ink. Then using just a little bit of ink, ink up your brayer. Roll the brayer around and around on a piece of glass if possible in attempt to make the ink spread even across the brayer roller. Then I apply the ink to the exposed side of the card, applying as little pressure as possible with the brayer to get good ink coverage on the cards. Once the ink has been applied, I like to gently wipe down the inked side of the cards with a cotton cloth to remove any excess ink. Let them dry for a while – maybe an hour, depending on conditions – until they are dry to the touch. Put the outer wall back on the padding press, spin the cards around to the next side and repeat until all sides are complete.

Varnishing A varnish is a liquid coating applied to a printed surface to add a clear glossy, matte, satin, or neutral finish. A varnish increases colour absorption and speeds up the drying process. By ‘locking in’ in the ink under a protective coat, the varnish helps to prevent the ink rubbing off when the paper is subjected to handling. Varnishes are used most frequently, and successfully on coated papers.

Requiring the use of special Ultraviolet drying machinery, a UV coating is like a deluxe version of the non-UV varnishes, with the varnish appearing noticeably richer and more luxurious. A UV varnish can be applied as either an all-over coating, or as a spot varnish: A Spot Varnish is applied to chosen spots (areas), of a printed piece. This has the affect of highlighting and drawing attention to that part of the design, but it also provides the additional visual stimulus of having varied textures on a single printed surface. This adds a lot of interest, and can identify the printing as a premium piece of literature in the perception of the reader. One very effective technique is to apply a UV gloss spot varnish on top of matt laminated printing. This achieves maximum contrast between the highly reflective shiny UV coating and the light-absorbing matt laminate, and can, for instance, create a striking first impression on presentation folders or a brochure cover.


Ultra Violet (UV) Varnishing is a process for achieving an even more striking type of coating on your printed material.


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Costings It is vital to have a basic understanding of costing so you can give estimates to clients for print jobs before you begin your designs.

Costings It is really important that you ensure you include the cost of printing when giving a quote to a client for a specific job. Prices can vary from different printers and not only this, and finishing costs for varnishes / foiling etc will all need to be taken into account.


It is a good idea to get at least three quotes from different printers. This will give you a better idea that you are gaining the correct pricing for the document you want to print.

Print Manual 2012

Print Manual (Development)  

I have spent the past day or so developing my Print Manual and refining my solutions page by page. It is not qutie complete yet, however thi...

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