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WHAT IS DESIGN FOR PRINT? Martyn Woolley OUGD201print-1 BAGD

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This book will show what i have learn’t over the last few months with design for print in mind. I have broke down what i have learn’t into section’s consisting of; Printing methods, Colour modes, Stocks and substrains, Finishes and working with printers./

4 - 5 Printing methods 6 - 7 Printing methods * {further} 8 - 9 Cutting and folding machine 10 - 11 Colour modes 12 - 13 Colour mode examples 14 - 15 Print finishes, Substrate’s & Working with the printers

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Printing methods

----------------------------------------------------------When commercialy printing a design there are many different methods to choose from. Some might be printed by lithogrpah, some might be printed by silk screen, it all depends on the job you are producing and what methods will suit best.

Rotary printing

Pad printing

A rotary printing press is a printing press in which the images to be printed are curved around a cylinder. Printing can be done on large number of substrates, including paper, cardboard, and plastic. Rotary print methods include offest lithogrpahy, flexography and rotor gravure.

Pad printing is a printing process that can transfer a 2-D image onto a 3-D object. Pad printing is used for printing on otherwise impossible products in many industries including medical, automotive, promotional, apparel, electronics, appliances, sports equipment and toys.

Screen printing

Digital printing

Screen printing is a printing technique that uses a woven mesh to support an ink-blocking stencil. The attached stencil forms open areas of mesh that transfer ink as a sharp-edged image onto a substrate.

Digital printing is the reproduction of digital images on a physical surface. It is generally used for short print runs, and for the customization of print media.

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4 Colour Offset Litho Machine with a finishing tower.

Lithograph printing machine

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Rotary Print Methods *further


Offset Lithography Offset lithography is the most commonly used rotary print method for doing medium and short runs {1,000 - 50,000}. It is often used for the printing of flyers, leaflets, magazines and brochuers.The finished product of a litho print is sharp and detialed. Offest litho is extremely flexible and cost effective for most jobs, there is a wide range of presses from small sheet fed machines to large web fed machines, you can also print on a wide range of stocks. The down sides to offset litho are; It cost’s more to set up than digital printing and also needs a high level of attention when printing high qauntity compared to gravure. A plate is created out of either aluminium,copper or polyester which is used for shorter runs {2,000-30,000 rather than copper or aluminium which will do up to 250,000 in some case’s}. The images is then transfered on to the plate, often this is done by exposing the plate or burning in the image. After the plate is complete it is attached to the plate cylinder. The plate cylinder first hits the water rollers then the ink rollers. The image is then rolled on to the offset cylinder which then print’s on to the sheet or web fed stock. Most litho printing machines will run a 4 colour process, but you often see 5 and 6 colour machines today. This is for when you want to add a non process colour or finish such as spot vanish with having to put your feed through the machine for a second time. The printer’s i visted had a 4 colour process machine with a drying rack, a 5 colour machine with a drying rack and a 2 colour machine for doing black and white and working with spot colours.

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Rotor Gravure Rotor gravure printing is similar to offset lithogrpahy printing. The image that is to be printed is engraved on to a copper plate and pressed directly on to the stock. It’s mostly used for high qauntity, high speed runs and is often web fed. Things like newspapers and magazines are usual printed in this way. It gives a continuous tone reproduction and rich blacks it also prints very well on cheap stocks.

Flexography Flexography work’s similar to litho and gravure but insead of using a metal or polyester plate, it use’s a rubber one. It was invented to create printing for packaging where less quality was needed , there for the price of flexo is cheaper than litho but the result’s are not as good for photographic print’s or full colour prints. It is mostly used to print letter forms, magazines and cheap paper back books. It does compete with gravure in this sense but the rubber plates do tend to “plug up” with fibers when using cheaper stock such as news print.

Ink rollers Water rollers

Plate cylinder

Water Offset cylinder


Impression cylinder

Side view of the offset printing process.

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Once your design has been printed will need to be folded, cut or both. This machine dose the job, it can cut, fold and even di cut paper up to the size of A0. The machine has actually been converted from a old letter press to do this job. The ‘old boy’ who showed me this said that the company in Bradford could convert you old letter press to pretty much do whatever, including foil stamping and embossing.

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Colour modes

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When we print images using inks we print using Cyan, Magentta, Yellow and Black. These are subtractive colours. When veiwing images through digital media such as a screen or camera the images are made up of Red, Green and Blue. These are additive colours. We can see more colours than we can print, so you have to make a important desicion choosing a colour scheme in your design for print. There are two main colour modes in commercial printing, Full colour CMYK and spot colour.

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Full colour process



A colour model that describes each colour in terms of the quantity of each secondary colour (cyan, magenta, yellow), and “key” (black) it contains. The CMYK system is used for printing. For mixing of pigments, it is better to use the secondary colours, since they mix subtractively instead of additively. The secondary colours of light are cyan, magenta and yellow, which correspond to the primary colours of pigment (blue, red and yellow). In addition, although black could be obtained by mixing these three in equal proportions, in four-colour printing it always has its own ink. This gives the CMYK model.

Spot colour


Spot colours are often used when a specific colour is needed by the client. This could be for a specific identity colour such as BP green or Barclay’s blue. The inks have to be mixed and are often more expensive than full colour. Another reason for using a spot colour is if you feel that your CMYK equivilant is not strong or vibrant enough. You can also get a large range of special inks sucks as mettalics, and neon which CMYK cant produce. Spot colours can be found in the Panatone colour refrencing system which comes in a vairety of system ranging from solid coated to uncoated and mettalics.



Monotone printing is where 1 colour is used, you can use tint’s of this colour to create highlights and shading. This often useful when working to a tight budget, even though full colour process is becoming cheaper than 1 and 2 colour print jobs.

If monotone is 1 colour, duotone means 2 colour. Again you could use 2 spot colours one light one dark, then you could apply these to a photographic image, this could be useful if your brief only lets you work with two specific colours.


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B&W Halftone

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Print finishes

----------------------------------------------------------Using print finishes can produce a professional looking document. These may include spot vanish, foilstamping, di cutting and embossing.

Spot varnish


Spot varnishing is a special effect that puts varnish only on specific areas of a printed piece. Use spot varnish to make a photograph pop off the page, highlight drop caps, or to create texture and subtle images on the page. In page layout programs, you specify spot varnish as a new spot color.

This is achieved by using a metal die (female) usually made of brass and a counter die (male) that fit together and squeeze the fibers of the substrate. This pressure and a combination of heat “irons� while raising the level of the image higher than the substrate to make it smooth. In printing this is accomplished on a letterpress

Die cutting

Foil Stamping

Die cutting can be done on either flatbed or rotary presses. Rotary die cutting is often done inline with printing. The primary difference between rotary die cutting and flatbed die cutting is that the flatbed is not as fast but the tools are cheaper. This process lends itself to smaller production runs where it is not as easy to absorb the added cost of a rotary die.

Foil stamping uses heat and metallic film in a specialty printing process that produces a shiny design on paper, vinyl, textiles, wood, hard plastic, leather, and other materials. Foil stamping, also called hot stamping, dry stamping, foil imprinting, or leaf stamping, can be combined with dimensional embossing to make letters and images on business cards, book covers, gift cards, office folders, and a whole host of professional or personal items.





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Stocks & substrate

----------------------------------------------------------Your stock or ‘substrate’ as it’s commonly known can be a vitial decison in your design. It not only changes the way the ink will sit on it, but can also back up your designed message.



Coated paper tends to be the most commonly used substrate when dealing with high qauntity books, posters, packaging etc. It is also a bit cheaper most of the time because it is used more often.



Uncoated paper is the more expensive stock,often used for smaller runs or when sending a eco, organic message as the paper looks more natural and less treated compared to coated paper.


Plastic’s & other materials


Printing on to plastic’s or transparent paper’s can give a unique selling feature to your design ‘ We are all magpie’s’ so something that looks different to the norm and exciting can make all the difference.

Working with the printers -----------------------------------------------------------

Before you send your work to the printers you should check first that all images used are saved in the cmyk format and that you final document is saved in the same format. Your art work should normally have a 3mm bleed but check with the printer to see what they prefer. The best way of send your work to the printer is on cd or via the net. Formats are mostly high quality PDF or Tiff, but again you should check with the printer before hand.

When sending your work to be printed, before the final print off you should recive a ‘proof’. You can check if any amendments are needed and check the colour’s are correct. Another good thing to know is that your design will be printed out on SRA unit paper rather that A size. This is so a full bleed can be achieved. Alot of the time you can grab good deals on printing when you share a print plate with other jobs. Working with a printer can be a funny experience as they do tend to be a bit mad, but just talk to them alot about what you can and can’t do. A good relationship with a printer will help you make you job easier which should benifit your work.

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Example of di cut

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Example of a spot varnish

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Booklet infomation


This booklet was created to show my understanding of print process’s and how they work.

Print method Offest lithogrpahy

Colour mode Full colour process + 1 spot colour PANATONE 808 U

Stock Cover Zen Pure White uncoated 350gsm Uncaoted Phoenixmotion Natural 135gsm

WHAT IS DESIGN FOR PRINT? Research collected from the ‘ON PRESS’ section of Design For Print Production, various web resources , trips to printer’s and tutors. Martyn Woolley OUGD201print-1 BAGD

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16 page booklet showing my understanding of the commercial print process