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Luke O’Brien Graphic Design BA (Hons.) OUGD201


Contents Introduction to Print Design for Print Colour Systems Formats Artwork Stock Print Process Finishing Proof Cost

Introduction to Print


is the technique of making an impression on paper (or on other substances such as vellum) from inked type (or as the techniques developed, from plates, blocks, or cylinders). From this type, the most important aspect of printing is that it permits a large number of copies to be made from each setting of type. During the period from the invention of printing in Europe until 1700, most books were printed on wooden printing presses, using metal type. Offset printing is a widely used printing technique where the inked image is

Images :Team Print

transferred (or “offset�) from a plate to a rubber blanket, then to the printing surface. When used in combination with the lithographic process, which is based on the repulsion of oil and water. The offset technique employs a flat (planographic) image carrier on which the image to be printed obtains ink from ink rollers, while the non-printing area attracts a film of water, keeping the non-printing areas ink-free. Types of printing include: Lithography Flexography Rotogravure Pad Printing Screen Printing Digital Ink-jet

Design For Print

When designing for print

you always need to know what the end printed product is going to be and also what you want to achieve. All the way from start to finish you have to specify what you want to your client and the printer. Find out the client deadline and work backwards. Find out delivery time, print time, work out how long it will take you to design and also allow time for mistakes and proofing. Keep a good professional working relationship with your printer, get to know them and ask questions they are the experts on print and you are the expert on design keep it that way. Knowing what you want the final deliverable to be is key to printing.

Colour Systems

Colour works differently for print

than it does for screen. This is to do with the amount of colours ink printing processes can produce compared to that of the colours that a screen which uses light can produce. Colours for print are generally created through CMYK but other colours and various other finishes such as spot varnish can be applied. A notable colour system for print is PANTONE. The Pantone Matching System or PMS is a colour system that uses separately mixed inks to achieve colours that are outside that of CMYK, these are called spot colours. Colours such as fluorescent or metallic can be achieved in print through Pantones.


The ISO paper size concept In the ISO paper size system, the heightto-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. Untrimmed paper formats, all A and B series formats described so far are trimmed paper end sizes, i.e. these are the dimensions of the paper delivered to the user or reader. Other ISO standards define the format series RA and SRA for untrimmed

raw paper, where SRA stands for “supplementary raw format A” (“secondaries Reformat A”). These formats are only slightly larger than the corresponding A series formats. Sheets in these formats will be cut to the end format after binding. The ISO RA0 format has an area of 1.05 m² and the ISO SRA0 format has an area of 1.15 m². These formats also follow the sqrt(2)ratio and half-area rule, but the dimensions of the start format have been rounded to the full centimeter. Note that other regions have different paper sizes and bear this in mind during a job if it has to work internationally. Also note that if you are designing for a specific purpose such as a mail shot then look into specific sizes for post to make life easier.



most important thing about designing for print is preparing your artwork so that you know exactly what you are going to get when it comes out the other end of the litho printer! Check the following and make sure you know everything about your design: Final Printed Size Colours Stocks -weights (gsm) -colours - fisnish -gloss -matte -coated -uncoated

-silk - laid or woven - boards & cartons - plastics and acetates CMYK colour profile (write down colour values for reference) Specify spot colours Fonts (make sure usage is legal) Spell check Printers Marks Preflight check (make sure everything is checked right before printing) Mock ups need to be made to show client and also for your own reference Proof Sign off work with client.


Stock refers to the material that is to be

printed on. This is not as much a tip but a consideration that has to be taken into account before you begin the print process.

If your clever about stock you can use it to your advantage by using coloured stock you can then maybe limit your printing plates to one or two spot colours to achieve a certain result.

Factors for consideration can include how heavy it is measured by the grams per square metre or gsm, how eco friendly it may be, if its coated or un coated paper, and how much it is. Generation press found this so important to their re brand that they had their own unique coloured stock created by a colour paper technician called Barry.

Print Process

It is important to know the right print

process to choose for your job, a good dialogue with your printer will help with this but knowing this shows that you take pride in knowing how things work and what is appropriate for your job both in the results and cost.

Rotary Printing In this process the image printing plates are wrapped around a cylinder. This is an automated print process and the material to be printed can be sheet fed or on a roll. Offset Lithography (planographic) Etched aluminium plates wrapped around a cylinder transfer ink to an ‘offset’ rubber blanket roller and then to print surface. Sheet fed or Web fed. This process is one of the most common forms of commercial printing. Rotogravure (intaglio) Copper plates (with mirror image) transfer ink directly to print surface, usually on rolls. Advantage, plates are more durable and so are good for long print runs. This is used for things that need a deep colour and publications that need to last longer. Flexography (relief ) A positive, mirror image rubber polymer plate, on a cylinder, transfers ‘sticky’ ink

directly to print surface. Usually roll feed. This is mainly used for printing on packaging and is of a low quality. Digital Printing The reproduction of images by translating the digital code direct from a computer to a material without an intermediate physical process.

Ideally suited to short run or specials on a range of print media from paper to metal. Screen Print A print making technique that uses a woven mesh to support an ink blocking stencil. Used for prints such as direct on to CD’s. Pad Printing A printing process that can transfer a 2D image to a 3D surface. The advantage of this is that your printing surface does not have to be flat it can be curved. There are also types of speciality prints and print finishes you can

consider for your print job. These include things like spot varnish, foil blocking, embossing / debossing and laminating.


Print finishing can be the key stage to finalising your printed resolution.

It can range from anything that helps to finish off the work, the final stages of bringing together all the printed material to bind, cut, fold, crease, stitch or package your work. This is an important consideration because the way you finish a print job can have a big effect on its cost and ultimately the quality of the finished job. Always look at different kinds of outcomes and resolutions exploring different types of printing and print finishes. This is very important for good practice as a designer.

Proofing & Costing

Proofing is very self explanatory but it

is a very important part of designing for print, you need to make sure everything is spelt correctly, you need to get hold of a printers proof to check for errors and also to see how the final result will come out. It is important that you show this to a client and get it signed off by them, a problem with the print discovered after printing is going to cost you money and the printers time. If the work is signed off and there is an error it is on the fault of the client but and you should help to rectify it.

Costing is also a very important part of being a professional designer for print. Get a quote early on. Have an identical specification for three printers and have them give you estimates so you have something to work to. Learn roughly what things cost so you can take this into account when pitching ideas and working to a budget. Understand viable minimum quantities from your printers so you can get an idea of the smallest and most viable quantity this can then be built upon. Find out if there are any hidden extra fees such as authors corrections. Delivery cost.

Design For Print Handbook OUGD201  
Design For Print Handbook OUGD201  

Design For Print Handbook OUGD201