Page 1

the in’s and out’s of


Content. 1. Colour

RGB, CMYK, Multitone, Pantone and spot colour

5. File Format



2. Print processes

offset Litho, Flexography, digital, screen print, gravature and pad printing

marks and sign off


3. Stock

coated, uncoated, wove and bond.

4. Paper sizes

ISO A series, B series and gsm

Embossing, Foil blocking, debossing, spot varnished and die-cutting

8. costs

colour. Understanding colour systems is essential knowledge for control over design for print.


RGB. Digital cameras, scanners and computer monitors create images using combinations of three colours; Red, Green and Blue (RGB). These are the primary colours of visible light, it is how your computer screen displays images. RGB colours appear brighter and more vivid.

RGB is only used for digital formats and the colours will not look the same when printed.

RGB addictive

CMYK. The CMYK colour model (otherwise known as the process colour or four colour system) is a subtractive colour model, used in commercial printing.

Everything you see in print is usually comprised of these four colours.

CMYK is an abbreviation of the four inks used in this process; cyan, magenta, yellow, and key (black). CMYK subtractive

Spot colour. Spot colours is the use of one colour ink. Graphic designers use spot colours to ensure that a particular colour in a design will print. This may be necessary if the colour is outside the range (gamut) of the CMYK printing process, or because there is a need as for a company or corporate logo. Spot colours have greater

intensity and vibrancy as they print as a solid colour rather than composed of half-tone dots.

158 U

229 U

Spot colour single ink

227 U

138 U

Pantone. The Pantone colour system has been developed to include a wide range of different colours, including special solid, hexachrome, metallic and pastel colours. The Pantone system has a unique reference number to each hue and shade to allow communication between designers and printers.

U- Uncoated C- Coated EC- Euro Coated M- Matte

363 U Pantone premixed

Multitone. Multitone is a process of composing an image with ether one, two or three inks. This process requires that the printing press is set up with special inks, usually Pantone colours, instead of the standard CMYK inks. Using one, two or three colour inks that are not CMYK may reduce the cost of printing. There are 3 techniques within the Multitone techniques.

Monotone- Single ink Duotone- Two inks Tritone- Three inks

Multitone 1, 2 or 3 inks

Black variations. There are many variations of black which differs when printed, however looks the same on screen. This is because there is only one way to represent 100% blackabsent of light. Standard- C0,M0,Y0,K 100 Rich- C68,M52,Y51,K100 Cool- C60,M0,Y0,K100 Warm- C0,M60,Y30,K100 RegistrationC100,M100,Y100,K100

The Standard black creates a more duller black (dark grey). To create a rich black you will have to set CMYK settings as shown. Registration Black

Standard Black

Black black variations

process. The key ways industry apply ink onto printable substrates.


Offset Litho. Offset lithography is a process used for printing 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 etc.) will accept ink.

1. Versatile 2. Flexible 3. Range of inks and stocks Ink


Water Feed



Offset Litho printing plates

Rotogravure. Rotogravure involves engraving the image onto an image carrier. In gravure printing, the image is engraved onto a cylinder because it uses a rotary printing press. The rotogravure process is used for commercial printing of magazines, postcards, and corrugated (cardboard) product packaging.

1. High volume and durable 2. Mass printing 3. Detail prints Printing cylinder


form cylinder

ink tray

Rotogravure cylinder plate

Flexography. Flexography is a form of printing process which plate. This can be used for printing on almost any type of substrate, including plastic, metallic paper. It is widely used for printing on substrates required for various types of food packaging.

1. Prints large areas of solid colour. 2. Good quality prints 3. Any type of stock

Plate Cylinder

Ink Plate



Screen print. 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 transfers ink, which is pressed through the mesh to create an image onto a substrate. A squeegee is moved across the screen, pressing ink into the mesh.

1. Not as expensive 2. shorter runs 3. achieves high quality prints

Squeezy Screen


Screen Printing woven mesh

Digital. Digital printing refers to methods of printing from a digital based image directly to a variety of media. Digital printing is for small run jobs from desktop publishing. Digital printing has a higher cost per page than more traditional offset printing methods, however avoiding all the technical steps needed for printing plates.

1. Short runs 2. Specialise Printing 3. No offset or plate needed


Digital standard Print

Pad Printing. Pad printing is a printing process that can transfer a 2D image onto a 3D object. This is accomplished using an indirect offset (gravure) printing process that involves an image being transferred from a silicone pad onto a substrate. Pad printing is used for printing on otherwise impossible products.

1.Transfers onto 2D and 3D objects 2. Any surface printing 3. Easy application

Pad component

Pad Printing 3D objects

stock. Designers can chose from a wide range of stocks to add quality to their work.


Coated. Coated stock is fairly smooth to feel and appears better quality. coated paper does not absorb the inks printed as much as uncoated stock will. The inks will stay on the top of the coating surface. Inks appear glossy to the eye. Examples of Coated stock are Photographs and high quality brochures.

Coated coated surface

Uncoated. Uncoated stocks are offsets, card and newsprint. Uncoated papers soak much more larger quantities of ink, based on the surface area of the uncoated stock. Uncoated stocks are ideal for quick and less precise printing.

Uncoated none coated surface

Wove. Wove paper is made on a closely woven wire roller and has a faint mesh pattern. Wove paper is a writing paper that has a uniform surface. It is also used for stationary and book publishing, this is a premium quality paper.

Wove hand made

Bond. Bond paper is an economic, uncoated paper. Bond paper is a high quality durable writing paper. It is commonly used for letterheads and stationery. Widely used for graphic work involving pencil, pen and felt tip marker. This is a stronger tougher paper then wove paper.

Bond economic paper

size. Understand paper sizes and how to use size.


ISO series. ISO International Standards ensure that products and services are safe, reliable and of good quality. They are strategic tools that reduce costs by minimising waste and errors and increasing productivity. International standard (ISO) paper sizes are used in most countries in the world today.

"A" and "B" series of paper sizes.

ISO international sizes

A series. The A series of paper is the most commonly used worldwide, with A4 the most frequently used paper size in this series.

A0 A1 A2 A3 A4 A5 A6 A7 A8 A9 A10

1189 x 841mm 841 x 594 mm 594 x 420 mm 420 x 297 mm 297 x 210 mm 210 x 148 mm 148 x 105 mm 105 x 74 mm 74 x 52 mm 52 x 37 mm 37 x 26 mm

A series common sizes

B series. B series paper is less common than the A series, and is most often used for posters, books, envelopes and passports.

B0 B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B6 B7 B8 B9 B10

1414 x1000mm 1000 x 707mm 707 x 500 mm 500 x 353 mm 353 x 250 mm 250 x 176 mm 176 x 125 mm 125 x 88 mm 88 x 62 mm 62 x 44 mm 44 x 31 mm

B series less common

gsm. GSM is the weight of paper, mass per unit area. Paper board is expressed in terms of grams per square meter

is "gsm" instead of the standard is widely encountered in English speaking countries. gsm paper weight

file types. Helps transfer your design from the computer to the printer.


File types. Most File types are made

graphic content, these

of artwork, typically ether vector (Illustrator) or raster art (Photoshop).

used very often within the industry of graphic design.

A designer will typically JPEG for when working with images that are to be used on screen and TIFF for work to be printed. There are also be used with saving


File types

TIFF. format, designed for the handling of raster or bitmap images. TIFF- (Tagged image File


format commonly used for lossless compression of images for print.

TIFF printing format

JPEG. JPEG-(Joint Photographic Experts Group) A commonly compression images that are to be used for web images.


JPEG screen based

PDF. PDF-(Portable Document format) a portable format used for designer to the client used for checking and the printer for printing.


A PDF embeds all the necessary fonts and design. PDF

proofing. Helps to ensure accurate reproduction of your design.


Proofing. way of noticing problem areas within the document. This checks that all used images and fonts can be found in its location area. It also checks if the colours are in the correct mode for printing. This can be accessed by going to

1.Is the size of your document correct? 2.Spelling mistakes 3.Is the bleed correct? 4.Is the resolution of the image set at 300dpi?

dialogue window, a small warning icon will indicate a problem.

double check

indicate all the problems, so it is important to carry out general proof checks.

Bleed. Bleed is used for all objects overlapping the border off the document. Such as when you are working on a magazine with images against the sides of your pages. You will have to supply the printer with a document document. There are alot of things that could go wrong if you weren't using bleed when cropping,the images

wouldn't be neatly aligned with the side of the document. Standard measurements for bleed is 3mm.


Bleed unprinted edges

Crop marks. Crossed lines placed in the corners of an image or a document to indicate where to trim the page known as crop marks. Crop Marks can be placed on manually or automatically using InDesign, Illustrator or Photoshop. Crop marks are typically used when printing to a larger sheet of paper than

document, especially when doing bleeds. They indicate where to cut the paper.

Crop Marks trimming guides

Sign off. Getting sign off, in writing, is a vital part of best practice when sending designs, copy or code to clients.

after printing1000s of copies the responsibility for the cost of re-printing is the clients not yours.

If changes need to be made later then, with sign-off completed, it is the client’s responsibility not yours. If, for example, there is a typo in a design date is wrong!) and the client spots the mistake

Sign off approved

finishes. your design and make it stand out on the page.


Embossing. Embossing makes something stand out from the page. It impresses an image or text onto the stock using an engraved metal die. This creates a raised impression. 1.The image has to be 3 times thicker then the stock. 2.Use thicker stock as it will hold the emboss much better.

Embossing raised surface

Foil Blocking. Foil blocking is a process where foil is pressed onto a stock through a heated die which causes the foil to separate from its back. Foil blocking is also referred to as foil stamp, heat stamp, hot stamp, block print or foil emboss.

Foiling metallic surface

Spot Varnish. Spot varnish is a special effect that puts an overprint varnish only on printed piece, spot varnish is often used to make a photograph pop off the page, highlight type.

Spot varnished ultraviolet coating

Debossing. Debossing is the opposite to Embossing. Debossing applies pressure to the front side of the paper, forcing the material away or down from the paper surface. Debossing is not as commonly used as embossing.

Debossing depressions

Die cutting. A die cut is a process that uses a steel die cut away a section of a page. It is mainly used for decorative purposes to enhance the visual performance of a design rather then serving a physical function. Die cuts have uses from creating pieces with unusual shapes to creating aperture's that allow the user to see

inside a publication. Die cuts produce a range of effects from the striking to the subtle.

Die cutting cut out sections

costings. Making sure you get your moneys worth in printing.


Costings. It is important to know exactly what it is your going to produce ahead of time. This will allow you to contact printers and see if it is possible with the budget you may have. Discuss you requirements with the printers to ensure they will be no mistakes (mistakes can be very costly!). Get 2 or 3 quotes from different printers in order to make

decision. It is important to plan well in advance to get the most out of your print. Also consider the print process carefully as this could have a big difference on price, including the number of inks used.


finishing costs.







This can be represented in the price, due to the labour and costing requirements. Make sure you know the budget before planning a job.



expensive, sometimes more then the print itself. Foil blocked, die-cut, embossed and spot varnished prints can improve the quality of the design.

Finishing costs


This swatch book has been designed to help you understand the print process and how to produce your prints effectively for commercial use.


Printing Swatchbook