FOR THE OF ALL
SET UP FOR PRINT –6–
Printing is a collective term that refers to the various different techniques used to apply ink to a substrate or stock. These include: offset lithography, screen printing, gravure, letterpress, hot-metal, lino-cut, thermography, ink-jet and laser printing among others. Each method has its own variables such as printing speed, the available range of colours or printing capacity, in addition to cost. Different printing methods will produce different finishes on the stock. 2
OFF-SET LITHO :
Commercial Offset Printing is the standard commercial printing method used around the world since the 20th century. Also called offset lithography, this form of printing produces the bulk of mass printing production used by businesses and organizations of all types. Offset lithography operates on a simple principle: ink and water don’t mix. Image information (art and text) is put on thin metal plates which are dampened by water and ink by rollers on the press. The oil-based ink adheres to the image area, the water to the non-image area. The inked area is then transferred to a rubber cylinder or “blanket” and then onto the paper as it passes around the blanket. The process is called “offset” since the image doesn’t go directly from the plates to the paper, but is offset or transferred to another surface as the intermediary.
Frequently used for printing on plastic, foil, acetate film, brown paper, and other materials used in packaging, flexography or flexographic printing uses flexible printing plates made of rubber or plastic. The inked plates with a slightly raised image are rotated on a cylinder which transfers the image to the substrate. Flexography uses fast-drying inks, is a high-speed print process, can print on many types of absorbent and non-absorbent materials, and can print continuous patterns (such as for giftwrap and wallpaper). Some typical applications for flexography are paper and plastic bags, milk cartons, disposable cups, and candy bar wrappers. Flexography printing may also be used for envelopes, labels, and newspapers.
Gravure is another old printing process used to print packaging, magazines, wallpaper, gift wrap, etc. The major advantage of Gravure is that it can print very long runs due to its configuration. Sear advertising, for example, can count into the millions of printed pieces. Unlike offset, Gravure uses a metal printing cylinder can handle these types of long jobs without wearing out the printing cylinder. Money and postage stamps are also printed using a form of Gravure. High cylinder cost generally limits gravure to run lengths of over 1 million impressions, thus, gravure is a long run process. Gravure presses are also much wider than other printing type presses. Unlike Letterpress or Offset, the ink used is very fluid and is usually solvent based which in today’s environment is undesirable.
Pad printing is an indirect photogravure process. An image is etched into a flat printing plate and ink is flooded and doctored across the surface leaving ink only in the etch. A silicone rubber pad then presses down onto the etched plate and picks up the ink, which due to solvent evaporation has become tacky. The image is now on the surface of the silicone pad. Silicone rubber does not allow ink to penetrate its surface and therefore when the pad presses down onto the product to be printed it releases the ink as a clean film. The range of inks and solvents used enable the inks to adhere to the surface after releasing the ink the pad is then clean and free to repeat the process. Because such a wide range of inks are available almost any material can be printed.
Digital printing is quickly catching up with the traditional printing techniques, quality wise, but it can not do as long runs (yet) and match a guaranteed same colour for each print. Digital Printing takes a different approach assembling each image from a complex set numbers and mathematical formulas. These images are captured from a matrix of dots, generally called pixels, this process is called digitizing. The digitized image is then used to digitally controlled deposition of ink, toner or exposure to electromagnetic energy, such as light, to reproduce images. The mathematical formulas also allow for algorithms to compress the data. It also give a method of Calibration or Colour Management Systems which helps to keep images looking the same colour despite where they are view or printed.
LARGE FORMAT :
Wide-format printers (contrast to vector-rendering “plotters”) are generally accepted to be any printer with a print width between 17” and 100”. Printers over the 100” mark may be called Super-Wide or Grand format. Wide format printers are used to print banners, posters and general signage and in some cases may be more economical than short-run methods such as screen printing. Wide format printers generally use a roll of print material rather than individual sheets and may incorporate hot-air dryers to prevent prints from sticking to themselves as they are produced.
SCREEN PRINT :
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. Silk-screen printing allows more viscous inks to be used, which can provide additional tactile qualities to a piece of work.
Risograph duplicators were originally created for office & commercial use to produce large volume one or two colour documents at high speed. But the rich spot colours are also ideal for creative graphic arts applications and the prints have a wonderful look and feel which is quite unique. The machine works by transferring artwork from a digital file onto a thin plastic master sheet. This is then wrapped around a single colour drum which rotates whilst pushing ink through the master onto the paper below. Multi- colour images are achieved by switching the colour drums and running the paper through again to print multiple layers as you would when screen printing.
FINE PRINT :
Here are some images from a printers based in Ripon Fine Print. They offer digital services as well as offset lithography. The owner, Kevin Fulcher, explained how fast digital printing is developing, Digital printers never used to come close to the quality of tradional printing techniques, but now they are getting there. There is no longer as much of a demand for high runs of prints, things are more specific and companies are cost aware and also environmentally aware, so short runs on the digital printer seem to be where the demand is. Fine print can offer runs as small as a one off (done on digital printer) to thousands and thousands (done on litho printer).
A beneficial way of understanding the different print processes is watching the printers in action. Across the page are links to you tube clips of each printer in use. This will put the information you have just learnt in context.
Colour is very important to know about and understand what designing for print. If you get the colours wrong you could ruin a whole job, so it is worth while learning about how to use colour and how it work when designing for print.
The CMYK colour model (process colour, four colour) is a subtractive colour model, used in colour printing, and is also used to describe the Printing process itself. CMYK refers to the four inks used in some colour printing: cyan, magenta, yellow, and key (black). 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.
CM YK –2–
A series of screens containing halftone dots are used to replicate the continuous photographic tones in the print process, offset litho. Once printed, these dots give the illusion of a full-colour image. If the screen angles of each colour were the same, as shown in the illustration above, interference is created and this results in muddled colours. For this reason each colour’s screen is offset, or angled, differently. Each colour that will print is screened to produce its own series of halftone dots that will be used to make the printing plate for that colour.
CYAN : 105 º
MAGENTA : 75 º
YELLOW : 90 º
BLACK : 45 º
Each of the four process colours has standard screen angles. Black : 45 degrees Magenta : 75 degrees Yellow : 90 degrees Cyan : 105 degrees
The use of different angles prevents screen interference and the development of moiré patterns, and results in clear colours and the ability to reproduce a four-colour image. Once laid over the top of one at the correct angle they give the following effect.
TWO COLOURS :
FOUR COLOURS :
A moiré pattern occurs when the dots of two screens interfere, creating what is referred to as a basket-weave pattern. The group of images above represent screens that have been set at the wrong angles, which allows moiré patterns to develop.
RG B The RGB colour model is an additive couloir 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 colour model is for the sensing, representation, and display of images in electronic systems, such as televisions and computers. RGB uses light to create colours to get white you add all the colours and to get black you turn all the colours off. There are a lot more colours available in RGB then there are in CMYK, this is why it is very important when designing, to pay attention to what colours you are using.
R: 0 G: 0 B: 225 C: 88 M: 76 Y: 0 K: 0
This book has been printed and made digital. So there is a CMYK version (print) and an RGB version (digital). If you get both copies you will be able to see on this page how much of a difference there is between how the colour is meant to look and how it has printed. This is why you have to be careful when selecting colours for print, otherwise you will have an end result that you weren’t expecting and it may ruin your work.
R: 0 G: 255 B: 225 C: 50 M: 0 Y: 12 K: 0
A tint is a shade of a colour that has been diluted, through the addition of white, in order to create a paler variation of it. Colour reproduction is usually achieved by screening the three trichromatic process colours; cyan, magenta and yellow, in increments of 10%. This produces 1,330 available tints for the designer to use, and this increases to almost 15,000 when black is included as well. When printing it is usually cheaper to use less colours (less colours, less plates), so if using a limited colour palette, the use of nonwhite stocks can produce colour variation and give the illusion that several colours have been incorporated.
A tonal image is akin to a black-andwhite photograph in which the white tones have been replaced by one of, or a combination of, the other CMY process colours. Most printed images are produced using a combination of the, C, M, Y and K plates of the four colour printing process. Understanding the principle of how the four colour process builds an image allows the designer to treat each colour pass separately, and in doing so obtain better colour adjustment and or graphic interventions.
The most commonly used spot colour reference system we use in Europe is Pantone. Spot colours are colours that are readily available set colours, that you choose from a swatch book. As the colours are set this means that the colour you choose will be constant no matter what printers you go to. Pantones are usually used for things like branding colours, where it is very important that the colour is exactly the same each time. Like with CMYK when printing each pantone you use has its on plate.
There are many different formats when printing. The most common format size used in Europe is the A series. But there are many international formats available for you to use as long as you check with your printers what format sizes they can cater to.
A0 A1 A2 A3 A4 A5 A6 A7 A8 A9 A10
MM 841 x 1189 594 x 841 420 x 594 297 x 420 210 x 297 148 x 210 105 x 148 74 x 105 52 x 74 37 x 52 26 x 37
Inches 33.1 x 46.8 23.4 x 33.1 16.5 x 23.4 11.7 x 16.5 8.3 x 11.7 5.8 x 8.3 4.1 x 5.8 2.9 x 4.1 2.0 x 2.9 1.5 x 2.0 1.0 x 1.5
B1 C1 B SERIES
A (letter) B (ledger tabloid) C D E
B0 B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B6 B7 B8 B9 B10
MM 1414 x 1000 1000 x 707 707 x 500 500 x 353 353 x 250 250 x 176 176 x 125 125 x 88 88 x 62 62 x 44 44 x 31
Inches 55.7 x 39.4 39.4 x 27.8 27.8 x 19.7 19.7 x 13.9 13.9 x 9.8 9.8 x 6.9 6.9 x 4.9 4.9 x 3.5 3.5 x 2.4 2.4 x 1.7 1.7 x 1.2
C0 C1 C2 C3 C4 C5 C6 C7 C8 C9 C10
MM 1297 x 917 917 x 648 648 x 458 458 x 324 324 x 229 229 x 162 162 x 114 114 x 81 81 x 57 57 x 40 40 x 28
Inches 51.5 x 36.1 36.1 x 25.5 25.5 x 18.0 18.0 x 12.8 12.8 x 9.0 9.0 x 6.4 6.4 x 4.5 4.5 x 3.2 3.2 x 2.2 2.2 x 1.6 1.6 x 1.1
MM 216 × 279 279 × 432 432 × 559 559 × 864 864 x 1118
MM Business card (UK) 55 x 85 Business card (US) 51 x 89 Business card (Japan) 55 x 91
Inches 8 × 11 11 × 17 17 × 22 22 × 34 34 x 44 Inches 2.2 x 3.3 2.0 x 3.5 2.2 x 3.6
Arch A Arch B Arch C Arch D Arch E Arch E1 Arch E2 Arch E3
MM 229 x 305 305 x 457 457 x 610 610 x 914 914 x 1219 762 x 1067 660 x 965 686 x 991
Inches 9 x 12 12 x 18 18 x 24 24 x 36 36 x 48 30 x 42 26 x 38 27 x 39
RA0 RA1 RA2 RA3 RA4 SRA0 SRA1 SRA2 SRA3 SRA4
MM 860 x 1220 610 x 860 430 x 610 305 x 430 215 x 305 900 x 1280 640 x 900 450 x 640 320 x 450 225 x 320
Inches 33 x 4.75 24 x 33.9 16.9 x 24 12 x 16.9 8.5 x 12 35.4 x 50.4 25.2 x 35.4 17.7 x 25.2 12.6 x 17.7 8.9 x 12.6 57
A substrate is any stock or material that receives a printed image, ranging from a standard sheet of paper to more elaborate and tactile papers and boards, and even extends to promotional items such as coffee mugs, T-shirts and, as we’ll see, the human body. The substrate selected for a particular print job will be determined by its ability to ‘take’ a printed design and the overall aims and intention of the piece of work.
PAPER TYPES :
Choosing the correct stock is very important, the substrate choice says a lot about the outcome., for example, if a high end fashion magazine was printed on cheap newsprint it would give the wrong message. As there is such a variety of paper types choosing stock is something you can be creative with, think about what message you can put across through the stock, eco friendly, cheap, high end etc.
Paper made primarily of Newspapers, comics. mechanically ground wood pulp, shorter life span than other papers, cheap to produce, least expensive paper that can withstand normal printing processes.
Roughest finish offered on offset paper
To add texture to publications
Largest printing and writing paper category by capacity that includes almost all office and offset grades used for general commercial printing.
Office paper (printing and photocopy paper, stationary).
Produced using wood pulp, contains acidic lignins. Suitable for short-term uses as it will ‘yellow’ and colours will fade.
A high quality paper with a clay filler to give a good printing surface, especially for halftones where definition and detail are important. Has high brightness and gloss.
Colour printing, magazines.
Coated paper with a high-gloss finish obtained while the wet coated paper is pressed or cast against a polished, hot, metal drum.
High-quality colour printing.
A waterproof coating on a single side intended for good embossing and varnishing performance.
Labels, wrappings, and covers.
A thick white paper particularly used for pencil and ink drawings.
To add texture to publications such as annual reports.
Lined or unlined board made from waste paper.
GSM stands for Grams per Square Metre, It’s a measurement of paper quality which allows for printers to be more precise than woolly 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. So the thicker the stock the more it would weigh therefore equaling a higher gsm.
35 gsm (or less)
Rice paper, tracing paper
35 - 55 gsm
90 - 100 gsm
Used for stationery, text for magazines and booklets, flyers and brochures.
120 -170 gsm
Used for text for booklets, flyers and brochures. The heavier the weight, the more “upmarket” the feel.
200 - 250 gsm
Used for magazine and booklet covers. Robust enough to give some body and stiffness when used in a publication, but not quite heavy enough to be used on its own for cards etc.
280 - 300 gsm
Used for cards of all sorts and book and booklet covers.
Print finishing encompasses a wide 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 and screen printing to name but a few, and can transform an ordinary looking piece into something much more arresting. For examples of finishes, refer to throw out in the front.
DUPLEXING / TRIPLEX: DUPLEX
TRIPLEX Duplexing refers to the bonding of two substrates to form a single one. This allows a stock to have different colours, textures and finishes on each side. Duplexing also increases the weight of a stock. Two duplexed 270gsm boards would produce a 540gsm substrate, for example. Triplexing is similar bur with three layers, one sandwiched between the two that could potentially be a colour and add a stripe of colour along the side of the substrate.
For examples refer to the throw out in the front, all the examples are triplexed.
DIE CUT : WILL BE CUT OUT
Die cutting is a process that uses a steel die to cut away a specified section of a design. It is 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.
For die cut example refer to the throw out in the front.
A varnish is a colourless coating that is often applied to a printed piece to protect the substrate from scuffing, wear or smudging. Varnish can also be used to enhance the visual appearance of a design, or elements within it.Varnish can produce three finishes – gloss, dull and satin – and, while not strictly a varnish, UV coating can also be used to add decorative touches to designs. Applying a varnish increases colour absorption and speeds up the drying process. By ‘locking in’ the printing ink under a protective coat, the varnish helps to prevent the ink rubbing off when the substrate is handled.
For varnish example refer to the throw out in the front.
THROW OUT :
THROW UP :
ROLL FOLD :
EMBOSS / DEBOSS :
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. Embossing A raised impression made in conjunction with ink or foil on the embossed image. Blind embossing A raised impression made without using ink or foil on the embossed image. Debossing A recessed impression made in conjunction with ink or foil on the debossed image. Blind debossing A recessed impression made without using ink or foil on the debossed image.
Perforation (or perf cutting) is a process that creates a cut-out area in a substrate, which weakens it for detaching. Perforations are mad using perforating blades that can be shaped into a given pattern, so that the cut area of the blade slices through the stock, while the uncut segment (or tie) of the blade does not.
For perforation example refer to the stock samples.
DESIGN FOR PRINT :
When designing for print it is very important that you set up and prepare things in the correct way, other wise you will slow down your print production having to correct mistakes, or what you get back from the printers will be different to what you were expecting.
VECTORS / PIXELS :
When working in illustrator you are using vectors, which means that you will be able to blow that image up to whatever size you fancy without the quality being compromised (see top circle to the right). If however you were working in Photoshop and tried to blow up an image it would end up looking like the bottom circle to the right, which is not a good quality image. This happens because Photoshop works in pixels, most images are made up of pixels. This is why when working in InDesign it is very important to re size your image to the correct size you want it to be in Photoshop, before you place it in InDesign, if this is done your image will retain it’s quality.
Before starting a job for print you must find out as much information as possible such as what method of print the client wants you to use? Are there colour restraints? What is the budget? Once you know the answers to your questions you can then go about contacting printers and getting quotes. It is recommended that you get around five different quotes to compare pricing. In general quotes are only obtained for individual projects, through contacting the printers, it is rare that printers put up their pricing as it varies so much from job to job. By contacting the printers before the job you can also find out information such as what finishes they offer, what print methods they offer, what stocks they have / you can use or provide.
SET UP :
When setting up documents to work on it is easy to miss / forget vital bits you need for designing for print, such as slugs, bleed, printer marks, page size etc. So over the next page is a checklist so that you can be sure that what you are sending to the printers, will be what comes back from the printers.
CHECK LIST :
Use this page to compose a checklist relevant to your print job. There are many things to think about before you send a job off to be printed, such as making sure all images are correct size, correct colour mode and correct location. Make sure there is no overset text, no spelling mistakes or missalignment. Talk to your printer, ask them if they have any specifications they want you to check write them down, and use the checklist.
It is imposbile to say how much a print job is going to cost, as it depends on so many factors such as finishes, print process, copies etc. Each print job is different from the next so pricing will differ. To make sure you get the best deal get atleast five quotes by contacting differnt printers, this way you will be able to get the best price for your job.