Wednesday, 26 October 2011

WIDFP? - Printers Marks/Bleed

Printer marks are symbols that appear outside the print area of a document. The marks are used to align separation films for producing proofs, trim the page to its final size and correctly calibrate ink density. (link)

About printer’s marks
When you prepare artwork for printing, a number of marks are needed for the printer device to register the artwork elements precisely and verify correct color. You can add the following kinds of printer’s marks to your artwork:

Trim Marks Fine (hairline) horizontal and vertical rules that define where the page should be trimmed. Trim marks can also help register (align) one color separation to another.
Registration Marks Small targets outside the page area for aligning the different separations in a color document.
Color Bars Small squares of color representing the CMYK inks and tints of gray (in 10% increments). Your service provider uses these marks to adjust ink density on the printing press.
Page Information Labels the film with the name of the file, the time and date of printout, the line screen used, the screen angle for the separation, and the color of each particular plate. These labels appear at the tops of the images.

A. Star target (not optional) B. Registration mark C. Page information D. Trim marks E. Color bar F. Tint bar (link)

When printing an image that has more than one color, depending on the method of printing, it is necessary to print the image one separate time for each separate color. Each one is called a "color run," and they can be pulled from the same surface, inked differently, or from a completely different surface. So that the final image is consistent, and so each of the colors lines up correctly, a system of registration is necessary. Different printing devices have different methods of creating separate color runs. (link)

Types of lithography registration
There are many different styles of registration for many different types of printing. These deal with stone lithography, as used in fine arts printmaking.

This method, using small measured registration marks on both the stone and the paper, is very accurate and simple to do. The printer measures the exact size of the paper and the desired margins. Then marks are made at both ends of the sheet of paper, and corresponding marks (usually in the shape of a "T") are made on the stone. Then the printer matches the marks on the paper to those on the stone. This way many runs of different colors can be pulled exactly in line with one another, each of them measured from the same system of marks.
This method involves laying the paper on the un-inked surface, and making a pin-hole through both the bottom and top of the paper, being careful to make a mark in the stone's surface. Then the locations of the holes are transferred to each sheet of paper to be printed. When printing, one should place pins in each hole of a sheet of paper, and lower it onto the inked stone, placing each pin in its respective hole in the stone. This method can ruin paper by creating holes. And if the holes get too large, they lose their function as registration devices.
This method relies solely on hand-eye coordination. The printer places the paper over the stone-image, measuring and judging registration by eye. This is not very consistent, depending on the person. (link)

About bleed
Bleed is the amount of artwork that falls outside ofthe printing bounding box, or outside the crop area and trim marks.You can include bleed in your artwork as a margin of error—to ensure that the ink is still printed to the edge of thepage after the page is trimmed or that an image can be stripped into a keyline in a document. Once you create theartwork that extends into the bleed, youcan use Illustrator to specify the extent of thebleed. Increasing the bleedmakes Illustrator print more of the artwork that is located beyond the trim marks. The trim marks still define the samesize printing bounding box, however.The size of the bleed you use depends on its purpose. A press bleed (that is, an image that bleeds off the edge of theprinted sheet) should be at least 18 points. If the bleed is to ensure that an image fits a keyline, it needs to be no morethan 2 or 3 points. Your print shop can advise you on the size of the bleed necessary for your particular job. (link)

What is bleed?
If any element on your document layout makes contact with the document border you will have to use bleed. The trick is to place the element so that it goes over border where the document will be cropped after printing.

The term bleed is used for all objects overlapping the border off your document. Let's say you're working on a brochure with images against the sides of your pages. You'll supply the printer with a document somewhat larger then the final document will be.

After the brochure is printed it will be cropped to its correct size. The bleed in your document gives the cropping some room for error. The paper itself can expand or contract, the cropping machine could be setup wrong or the person working on the brochure could make a mistake. There are a lot of factors that could go wrong with the cropping, if you weren't using bleed the images wouldn't be neatly aligned with the side of your printed document.

Two kinds of bleed
A bleed can be a full bleed or partial bleed. With a full bleed you have objects running of your document on all sides. With a partial bleed you'll have a couple of elements running off the document. (link)

Crop marks
For every job you send to the printer you need to place cropmarks on your document. Every industry-standard program on the market will do this automatically (although there will be a few exeptions when you'll have to make them by hand). How far the crop marks should be from the document border is something you should discuss with your printer. For most jobs 3 to 6 mm is fine.

In normal usage you won't see the cropmarks untill you open the exported file, pdf for example. (link)

At Printing Brain, we’re always looking to demystify print. So today, we look at 3 elements that are often confusing to anyone outside of printing companies but are essential to understand – the colour bar, trim marks and registration marks.

Registration Marks
The little circle with a cross through it is printed using every colour of the four-colour printing process. If they’re being printed accurately, they should overlap precisely so the mark looks entirely black. Therefore if any of the colours are slightly offset (out of register) then they’ll be displayed, showing the job isn’t being printed correctly.

Trim Marks
These are small lines which show exactly where the finished page will be cut during the finishing process. They should display at the edge of each margin.

Colour Bars
Colour bars are printed outside the trim area and are used for quality control purposes by the printer. Squares of colour are printed on the area of the page to be trimmed off, which the printing press operator uses to check colour density and consistency is maintained. This checking process is automated by some printers, with digital scanners tracking the colour bars to ensure quality and consistency is maintained. See also our 5 step guide to Pantone Colours. (link)

Production Tips & Tricks

Crop and bleed marks, those are the straight lines at the corners of your piece. The outer mark indicates bleed, we typically ask for an 1/8th of an inch. The inner mark is the trim mark, this is where the cutter operator will cut your piece. The bleed area is put there to extend any color that is supposed to be all the way to the edge of your piece, so when they cut it out, if the cut is off slightly you won’t have a white border where you don’t want one.

Register marks, a register mark is used for alignment, they are typically centered one on each side of your piece. Since we use multiple colors (cyan, magenta, yellow and black) to make all the colors of the spectrum we have to make sure the four color plates line up (I will explain this in the next paragraph). We use the register marks to register the colors. Each plate on the press has these marks and when they line up all you see is black. If they are out of register the different colors start to peek out from under the black. We then can see which color needs to be re-registered.

Why? If you look at most printed pieces (color copiers work differently and pictures illustrate this the best) with a magnifying glass, you will see that the solid color you perceive is actually made up of dots. There are clusters of four dots called rosettes. By varying the size of the dots in each rosette we can create different colors. A blue rosette would have a 100% Cyan dot, a 50% Magenta dot, maybe a 5% yellow dot and finally a 10% black dot. If you put a bunch of blue rosettes together you get a big blue area in your photo. Now if the plates are out of register, the rosettes might start overlapping which creates what we call a moiré pattern. Which can make the picture hard to look at or the text hard to read or can make colors we weren’t expecting.

Color bars, these are placed on a press sheet so we can make sure the colors are the correct density. By checking the blocks of color in the bar we can make sure the press is placing the proper amount of ink on the paper to accurately reproduce the colors.

Caution, really technical stuff to follow: A color bar usually contains a block at 100%, 50%, and 25 or 35% for each color cyan, magenta, yellow and black. The color blocks repeat across the top of the press sheet. The reason they repeat is so we can check that the color is consistent across the entire sheet (Why? Read the following paragraph on presses). Not all color bars are the same, we use a G7 color bar. The G7 methodology requires us to measure certain percentages and mixes of color for balance and density. So we have a unique color bar to do that. If all of the color blocks read correctly, in theory, the color should then be correct for the printed piece.

How presses produce color: We repeat the color bars across the leading edge of the paper because of how a press operates. A press puts ink on paper using a set of cylinders. In the press the first cylinder picks up the ink, it then transfers that ink to another roller. This smoothes out the color and makes it more consistent across the cylinder. It then transfers that ink to a cylinder that has a press plate wrapped around it. The press plate has ridges on it that pick up the ink off the other roller. Then as the press plate rolls across the paper, it transfers the ink it picked up onto the paper. A press operator can control the ink across the width of the cylinder by adjusting what we call keys. His aim is to get enough ink on the cylinder and to make the ink consistent across that cylinder, which will make the densities right, this must be done for each color, when it is achieved it makes the colors come out correctly in your printed piece. (link)

WIDFP? - Glossary

I found this awesome site with a huge lists of print related terms in a glossary! I have put on here the ones I feel most useful for what I need to know. (link)

Additive Color
Color produced by light falling onto a surface, as compared to subtractive color. The additive primary colors are red, green and blue.

A4 Paper
ISO paper size 210 x 297mm used for Letterhead.

Against the Grain
At right angles to the grain direction of the paper being used, as compared to with the grain. Also called across the grain and cross grain. See also Grain Direction.

Any change made by the customer after copy or artwork has been given to the service bureau, separator or printer. The change could be in copy, specifications or both. Also called AA, author alteration and customer alteration.

All original copy, including type, photos and illustrations, intended for printing. Also called art.

Author's Alterations (AA's)
At the proofing stage, changes that the client requests to be made concerning original art provided. AA's are considered an additional cost to the client usually.

Back Up
(1) To print on the second side of a sheet already printed on one side. (2) To adjust an image on one side of a sheet so that it aligns back-to-back with an image on the other side.

Usually in the book arena, but not exclusively, the joining of leafs or signatures together with either wire, glue or other means.

Usually a department within a printing company responsible for collating, folding and trimming various printing projects.

Rubber-coated pad, mounted on a cylinder of an offset press, that receives the inked image from the plate and transfers it to the surface to be printed.

Printing that extends to the edge of a sheet or page after trimming.

Blind Image
Image debossed, embossed or stamped, but not printed with ink or foil.

Sticking together of printed sheets causing damage when the surfaces are separated.

An enlargement, usually used with raphic images or photographs.

The main text of work not including the headlines.

Boiler Plate
Blocks of repetitive type used and copied over and over again.

Bond paper
Category of paper commonly used for writing, printing and photocopying. Also called business paper, communication paper, correspondence paper and writing paper.

Book Block
Folded signatures gathered, sewn and trimmed, but not yet covered.

Book Paper
Category of paper suitable for books, magazines, catalogs, advertising and general printing needs. Book paper is divided into uncoated paper (also called offset paper), coated paper (also called art paper, enamel paper, gloss paper and slick paper) and text paper.

The decorative design or rule surrounding matter on a page.

(1) a repeating registration problem in the printing stage of production. (2) Customer unhappy with the results of a printing project and refuses to accept the project.

The effect produced by dusting wet ink after printing and using a metallic powder.

Build a Color
To overlap two or more screen tints to create a new color. Such an overlap is called a build, color build, stacked screen build or tint build.

Thickness of paper relative to its basic weight.

Burst Perfect Bind
To bind by forcing glue into notches along the spines of gathered signatures before affixing a paper cover. Also called burst bind, notch bind and slotted bind.

Butt Register
Register where ink colors meet precisely without overlapping or allowing space between, as compared to lap register. Also called butt fit and kiss register.

Covers and spine that, as a unit, enclose the pages of a casebound book.

Case Bind
To bind using glue to hold signatures to a case made of binder board covered with fabric, plastic or leather. Also called cloth bind, edition bind, hard bind and hard cover.

Check Copy
(1) Production copy of a publication verified by the customer as printed, finished and bound correctly. (2) One set of gathered book signatures approved by the customer as ready for binding.

Technique of slightly reducing the size of an image to create a hairline trap or to outline. Also called shrink and skinny.

Abbreviation for cyan, magenta, yellow and key (black), the four process colors.

Coated Paper
Paper with a coating of clay and other substances that improves reflectivity and ink holdout. Mills produce coated paper in the four major categories cast, gloss, dull and matte.

To organize printed matter in a specific order as requested.

Collating Marks
Mostly in the book arena, specific marks on the back of signatures indicating exact position in the collating stage.

Color Balance
Refers to amounts of process colors that simulate the colors of the original scene or photograph.

Color Control Bar
Strip of small blocks of color on a proof or press sheet to help evaluate features such as density and dot gain. Also called color bar, color guide and standard offset color bar.

Color Correct
To adjust the relationship among the process colors to achieve desirable colors.

Color Gamut
The entire range of hues possible to reproduce using a specific device, such as a computer screen, or system, such as four-color process printing.

Color Key
Brand name for an overlay color proof. Sometimes used as a generic term for any overlay color proof.

Color Model
Way of categorizing and describing the infinite array of colors found in nature.

Color Separation
(1) Technique of using a camera, scanner or computer to divide continuous-tone color images into four halftone negatives. (2) The product resulting from color separating and subsequent four-color process printing. Also called separation.

Color Sequence
Order in which inks are printed. Also called laydown sequence and rotation.

Color Shift
Change in image color resulting from changes in register, ink densities or dot gain during four-color process printing.

Color Transparency
Film (transparent) used as art to perform color separations.

Commercial Printer
Printer producing a wide range of products such as announcements, brochures, posters, booklets, stationery, business forms, books and magazines. Also called job printer because each job is different.

Composite Proof
Proof of color separations in position with graphics and type. Also called final proof, imposition proof and stripping proof.

(1) In typography, the assembly of typographic elements, such as words and paragraphs, into pages ready for printing. (2) In graphic design, the arrangement of type, graphics and other elements on the page.

The degree of tones in an image ranging from highlight to shadow.

Thick paper that protects a publication and advertises its title. Parts of covers are often described as follows: Cover 1=outside front; Cover 2=inside front; Cover 3=inside back, Cover 4=outside back.

Extent to which ink covers the surface of a substrate. Ink coverage is usually expressed as light, medium or heavy.

Cover Paper
Category of thick paper used for products such as posters, menus, folders and covers of paperback books.

Coarse cloth embedded in the glue along the spine of a book to increase strength of binding. Also called gauze, mull and scrim.

Phenomenon of middle pages of a folded signature extending slightly beyond outside pages. Also called feathering, outpush, push out and thrust. See also Shingling.

Crop Marks
Lines near the edges of an image indicating portions to be reproduced. Also called cut marks and tic marks.

Type or art that continues from one page of a book or magazine across the gutter to the opposite page. Also called bridge, gutter bleed and gutter jump.

To dry inks, varnishes or other coatings after printing to ensure good adhesion and prevent setoff.

Cutting Machine
A machine that cuts stacks of paper to desired sizes. The machine can also be used in scoring or creasing.

Cutting Die
Usually a custom ordered item to trim specific and unusual sized printing projects.

One of the four process colors. Also known as process blue.

To press an image into paper so it lies below the surface. Also called tool.

Deckle Edge
Edge of paper left ragged as it comes from the papermaking machine instead of being cleanly cut. Also called feather edge.

Device for cutting, scoring, stamping, embossing and debossing.

Die Cut
To cut irregular shapes in paper or paperboard using a die.

Digital Proofing
Page proofs produced through electronic memory transferred onto paper via laser or ink-jet.

Dot Gain
Phenomenon of halftone dots printing larger on paper than they are on films or plates, reducing detail and lowering contrast. Also called dot growth, dot spread and press gain.

Dot Size
Relative size of halftone dots as compared to dots of the screen ruling being used. There is no unit of measurement to express dot size. Dots are too large, too small or correct only in comparison to what the viewer finds attractive.

Measure of resolution of input devices such as scanners, display devices such as monitors, and output devices such as laser printers, imagesetters and monitors. Abbreviated DPI. Also called dot pitch.

Considered as "dots per square inch," a measure of output resolution in relationship to printers, imagesetters and monitors.

Dull Finish
Flat (not glossy) finish on coated paper; slightly smoother than matte. Also called suede finish, velour finish and velvet finish.

Simulation of the final product. Also called mockup.

Black-and-white photograph reproduced using two halftone negatives, each shot to emphasize different tonal values in the original.

Duplex Paper
Thick paper made by pasting highlights together two thinner sheets, usually of different colors. Also called double-faced paper and two-tone paper.

Offset press made for quick printing.

To press an image into paper so it lies above the surface. Also called cameo and tool.

Casting of light-sensitive chemicals on papers, films, printing plates and stencils.

To use chemicals to carve an image into metal, glass or film.

(1) Surface characteristics of paper. (2) General term for trimming, folding, binding and all other post press operations.

Finished Size
Size of product after production is completed, as compared to flat size. Also called trimmed size.

Flat Color
(1) Any color created by printing only one ink, as compared to a color created by printing four-color process. Also called block color and spot color. (2) color that seems weak or lifeless.

Flat Size
Size of product after printing and trimming, but before folding, as compared to finished size.

Method of printing on a web press using rubber or plastic plates with raised images. Also called aniline printing because flexographic inks originally used aniline dyes. Abbreviated flexo.

To print a sheet completely with an ink or varnish. flooding with ink is also called painting the sheet.

Flush Cover
Cover trimmed to the same size as inside pages, as compared to overhang cover. Also called cut flush

Foil Emboss
To foil stamp and emboss an image. Also called heat stamp.

Foil Stamp
Method of printing that releases foil from its backing when stamped with the heated die. Also called block print, hot foil stamp and stamp.

Fold Marks
With printed matter, markings indicating where a fold is to occur, usually located at the top edges.

Size, style, shape, layout or organization of a layout or printed product.

Four-color Process Printing
Technique of printing that uses black, magenta, cyan and yellow to simulate full-color images. Also called color process printing, full color printing and process printing.

Consider the light reflecting on various objects in the printing industry (e.g., paper, ink, laminates, UV coating, varnish).

Gloss Ink
Ink used and printed on coated stock (mostly litho and letterpress) such as the ink will dry without penetration.

Basis weight of paper in grams per square meter (gsm).

Graphic Arts
The crafts, industries and professions related to designing and printing on paper and other substrates.

Graphic Design
Arrangement of type and visual elements along with specifications for paper, ink colors and printing processes that, when combined, convey a visual message.

Visual elements that supplement type to make printed messages more clear or interesting.

Method of printing using metal cylinders etched with millions of tiny wells that hold ink.

In the book arena, the inside margins toward the back or the binding edges.

(1) To photograph or scan a continuous tone image to convert the image into halftone dots. (2) A photograph or continuous-tone illustration that has been halftoned and appears on film, paper, printing plate or the final printed product.

At the top of a page, the margin.

Spot or imperfection in printing, most visible in areas of heavy ink coverage, caused by dirt on the plate or blanket. Also called bulls eye and fish eye.

A specific color such as yellow or green.

Arrangement of pages on mechanicals or flats so they will appear in proper sequence after press sheets are folded and bound.

(1) Referring to an ink color, one impression equals one press sheet passing once through a printing unit. (2) Referring to speed of a press, one impression equals one press sheet passing once through the press.

Impression Cylinder
Cylinder, on a press, that pushes paper against the plate or blanket, thus forming the image. Also called impression roller.

Ink Balance
Relationship of the densities and dot gains of process inks to each other and to a standard density of neutral gray

Job Number
A number assigned to a specific printing project in a printing company for use in tracking and historical record keeping.

Abbreviation for black in four-color process printing. Hence the 'K' in CMYK.

(1) The screw that controls ink flow from the ink fountain of a printing press. (2) To relate loose pieces of copy to their positions on a layout or mechanical using a system of numbers or letters. (3) Alternate term for the color black, as in 'key plate.'

A thin transparent plastic sheet (coating) applied to usually a thick stock (covers, post cards, etc.) providing protection against liquid and heavy use, and usually accents existing color, providing a glossy (or lens) effect.

Artist style in which width is greater than height. (Portrait is opposite.)

A sample of the original providing (showing) position of printed work (direction, instructions) needed and desired.

Amount of space between lines of type.

One sheet of paper in a publication. Each side of a leaf is one page.

Method of printing from raised surfaces, either metal type or plates whose surfaces have been etched away from image areas. Also called block printing.

Method of printing using plates whose image areas attract ink and whose nonimage areas repel ink. Nonimage areas may be coated with water to repel the oily ink or may have a surface, such as silicon, that repels ink.

One of the four process colors.

Imprinted space around the edge of the printed material.

Instructions written usually on a "dummy."

Matte Finish
Flat (not glossy) finish on photographic paper or coated printing paper.

Metallic Ink
Ink containing powdered metal or pigments that simulate metal.

Metallic Paper
Paper coated with a thin film of plastic or pigment whose color and gloss simulate metal.

In a photograph or illustration, tones created by dots between 30 percent and 70 percent of coverage, as compared to highlights and shadows.

Mock Up
A reproduction of the original printed matter and possibly containing instructions or direction.

Multicolor Printing
Printing in more than one ink color (but not four-color process). Also called polychrome printing.

Neutral Gray
Gray with no hue or cast.

Offset Printing
Printing technique that transfers ink from a plate to a blanket to paper instead of directly from plate to paper.

(1) Characteristic of paper or other substrate that prevents printing on one side from showing through the other side. (2) Characteristic of ink that prevents the substrate from showing through.

Layer of material taped to a mechanical, photo or proof. Acetate overlays are used to separate colors by having some type or art on them instead of on the mounting board. Tissue overlays are used to carry instructions about the underlying copy and to protect the base art.

Overlay Proof
Color proof consisting of polyester sheets laid on top of each other with their image in register, as compared to integral proof. Each sheet represents the image to be printed in one color. Also called celluloid proof and layered proof.

To print one image over a previously printed image, such as printing type over a screen tint. Also called surprint.

Over Run
Additional printed matter beyond order. Overage policy varies in the printing industry. Advance questions avoid blind knowledge.

One side of a leaf in a publication.

Page Count
Total number of pages that a publication has. Also called extent.

Page Proof
Proof of type and graphics as they will look on the finished page complete with elements such as headings, rules and folios.

Perfect Bind
To bind sheets that have been ground at the spine and are held to the cover by glue. Also called adhesive bind, cut-back bind, glue bind, paper bind, patent bind, perfecting bind, soft bind and soft cover. See also Burst Perfect Bind.

Perfecting Press
Press capable of printing both sides of the paper during a single pass. Also called duplex press and perfector.

Short for picture element, a dot made by a computer, scanner or other digital device. Also called pel.

Obsolete reference to Pantone Matching System. The correct trade name of the colors in the Pantone Matching System is Pantone colors, not PMS Colors.

(1) Regarding paper, a unit of thickness equating 1/1000 inch. (2) Regarding type, a unit of measure equaling 1/12 pica and .013875 inch (.351mm).

An art design in which the height is greater than the width. (Opposite of Landscape.)

Press Check
Event at which makeready sheets from the press are examined before authorizing full production to begin.

Any process that transfers to paper or another substrate an image from an original such as a film negative or positive, electronic memory, stencil, die or plate.

Printing Plate
Surface carrying an image to be printed. Quick printing uses paper or plastic plates; letterpress, engraving and commercial lithography use metal plates; flexography uses rubber or soft plastic plates. Gravure printing uses a cylinder. The screen printing is also called a plate.

Printing Unit
Assembly of fountain, rollers and cylinders that will print one ink color. Also called color station, deck, ink station, printer, station and tower.

Process Color (Inks)
The colors used for four-color process printing: yellow, magenta, cyan and black.

Test sheet made to reveal errors or flaws, predict results on press and record how a printing job is intended to appear when finished.

Proofreader Marks
Standard symbols and abbreviations used to mark up manuscripts and proofs. Also called correction marks.

Subjective term relating to expectations by the customer, printer and other professionals associated with a printing job and whether the job meets those expectations.

To place printing properly with regard to the edges of paper and other printing on the same sheet. Such printing is said to be in register.

Register Marks
Cross-hair lines on mechanicals and film that help keep flats, plates, and printing in register. Also called crossmarks and position marks.

Relief Printing
Printing method whose image carriers are surfaces with two levels having inked areas higher than noninked areas. Relief printing includes block printing, flexography and letter press.

General term for xerography, diazo and other methods of copying used by designers, engineers, architects or for general office use.

Sharpness of an image on film, paper, computer screen, disc, tape or other medium.

Type, graphic or illustration reproduced by printing ink around its outline, thus allowing the underlying color or paper to show through and form the image. The image 'reverses out' of the ink color. Also called knockout and liftout.

Abbreviation for red, green, blue, the additive color primaries.

Rotary Press
Printing press which passes the substrate between two rotating cylinders when making an impression.

Saddle Stitch
To bind by stapling sheets together where they fold at the spine, as compared to side stitch. Also called pamphlet stitch, saddle wire and stitch bind.

Satin Finish
Alternate term for dull finish on coated paper.

To identify the percent by which photographs or art should be enlarged or reduced to achieve, the correct size for printing.

To compress paper along a straight line so it folds more easily and accurately. Also called crease

Screen Printing
Method of printing by using a squeegee to force ink through an assembly of mesh fabric and a stencil.

Usually in the four-color process arena, separate film holding qimages of one specific color per piece of film. Black, Cyan, Magenta and Yellow. Can also separate specific PMS colors through film.

Hue made darker by the addition of black, as compared to tint.

Back or binding edge of a publication

Spot Color or Varnish
One ink or varnish applied to portions of a sheet, as compared to flood or painted sheet.

(1) Two pages that face each other and are designed as one visual or production unit. (2) Technique of slightly enlarging the size of an image to accomplish a hairline trap with another image. Also called fatty.

Subtractive Color
Color produced by light reflected from a surface, as compared to additive color. Subtractive color includes hues in color photos and colors created by inks on paper.

Subtractive Primary Color
Yellow, magenta and cyan. In the graphic arts, these are known as process colors because, along with black, they are the inks colors used in color-process printing.

Screening or adding white to a solid color for results of lightening that specific color.

Uncoated Paper
Paper that has not been coated with clay. Also called offset paper.

UV Coating
Liquid applied to a printed sheet, then bonded and cured with ultraviolet light.

The shade (darkness) or tint (lightness) of a color. Also called brightness, lightness, shade and tone.

Liquid applied as a coating for protection and appearance.

Unusable paper or paper damage during normal makeready, printing or binding operations, as compared to spoilage.

With the Grain
Parallel to the grain direction of the paper being used, as compared to against the grain. See also Grain Direction.

WIDFP? - Print Finishes

Finishing is the general term used to define anything done to a print after it is printed. It is considered a value-added process and includes laminating, mounting, image transfer, trimming and coating. There are a number of reasons to finish a print--some commercial, some personal.

In the commercial sector, finishing converts an image into a functional and durable application, like a point-of-sale display, a floor graphic or a backlit display, among others. (link)

UV Coating
UV coating is a highly protective, ultra-shiny gloss coating that we apply over aqueous coating and then cure on a special machine using ultraviolet light. The solvent-free UV coating provides an extremely hard finish that's chemical and abrasion resistant. It makes details really pop! On deep colors, it results in a stunning, almost wet appearance. Perfect when you want an environmentally-friendly and durable piece with a richer, high-end look and feel.
NOTE: UV Coating cannot be used on the addressed side of mailed pieces. (link)

Spot ultra violet (UV) varnishing is a special effect that applies varnish only on specific areas of a printed piece. You can use spot varnish to make a photograph or text leap off the page. To maximise the contrast, you can matt laminate your printed item before adding the spot varnish. Spot varnishing does add extra cost to a printed item and tends to be used on brochures, special direct mail pieces, envelopes and even on business cards. We have software in our studio that allows you to see what your printed item will look like with a spot varnish applied. (link)

There are now a few choices of Spot UV Varnish: the obvious matt and gloss options are widely used of course but you can have textured and glitter varnishes these days too. For a visual AND tactile effect, High Build Spot UV varnish can be applied.

Spot UV Varnish is generally a screen printed process where certain areas of a design are ‘picked out’ and the varnish is applied only to these areas – hence ‘spot UV’. A gloss varnish is often applied over pictures or graphics to enhance them, this is especially effective where the background is very matt. A highly popular finish is to Matt Laminate AND Spot Gloss UV as this gives the best contrast. You can also do the reverse too but in my experience, spot MATT UV isn’t nearly as effective.

You can also create some beautiful effects using Spot UV ‘blind’; in other words, a pattern, text or graphic is ‘picked out’ with the Varnish but doesn’t register with a printed element underneath. Of course, you can do both too.

Things to avoid!

I am frequently asked about Spot UV’ing over uncoated stocks. Perhaps a slightly controversial comment as I have seen it done before but ideally, Spot UV varnish on uncoated stocks should be avoided. As uncoated stocks are very absorbent in comparison to coated stocks, the very runny varnish is instantly absorbed into the material. The ‘first pass’ will have very little effect if any, so, it will need a second and even third pass through the machine to have the same applied again, in the same position. The first pass almost acts as a base coat for the second/third coats. It can work but obviously this could be cost and time prohibitive and also you will often see movement and mis-register with the subsequent coats. The UV Company will almost certainly want to run a test or two too! (link)

With both gloss and matt finishes available UV varnishing gives a similar effect to lamination although the process is more akin to printing a spot colour. With not quite the same feel as a laminate it has benefits in that it is generally cheaper to employ and can be printed on to discreet sections of a page such as a logo or image. Metallic Inks
These are again spot printed onto a page and can add a bit of oomph to a brochure when used judiciously. They have a reflective quality due to the metallic constituent in the ink. Available in a variety of pantone colours they are best employed fairly simple areas due to the viscosity of the ink. (link)

Embossing is the process of creating a three-dimensional image or design in paper and other materials. (link)

Embossing involves raising areas of a card surface above the level of the rest. The images stands out from the card as it has been produced by a stamp which presses the card to the correct shape. This process adds cost to the printing process but gives the card a 3D effect. Normally a small area of a package may be embossed, so that it stands out. Manufacturers use embossing to make their product look more luxurious and expensive.(link)

Embossing is a technique which creates a raised, or 3-dimensional, image on a piece of paper. There are two ways to emboss: dry embossing and heat embossing.
Dry embossing, also called relief embossing, is done using a stylus, stencil, and a few other supplies. Heat embossing, also called Stamp and Heat Embossing, is done using special powder, ink, and a heat source.

Both of these embossing techniques are easy and the results are stunning! (link)

Embossed products, helps lift something from a page and make it stand out, helping raise your companies profile or helps make a point or draw attention from a flat printed document. (link)

Embossing and debossing are virtually and literally speaking strikingly impressive design techniques. They can be used to achieve a very special surface texture or to create the most complex relief forms. Embossing creates a raised image and debossing creates an indented image. When only the best is good enough for a brochure, book cover, folder, card or menu, it may be just the time for embossing or debossing.
To emboss or deboss is to shape the paperboard into well-defined permanent relief patterns. The method might be applied to create a pattern covering the entire surface or as a pronounced relief. When using multi-ply paperboard you have the chance to create very fine details or small details close together, without being afraid of a non-distinctive result or breaks in the board surface. (link)

The technique of raising up a portion of the page to create a shadow. This, like foil blocking, requires a special dye to be made and subsequently can add significantly to the overall cost of a job. (link)

Having a depressed pattern on the surface of a material. (link)

Debossing/embossing fleece is a very easy way to enhance the appearance of otherwise plain and boring scarves, blankets, etc. (link)

To press a design into a metal surface. (link)

Debossing describes the manufacturing process in which the text is indented into the silicone product, utilising a custom moulding process. The characters in your phrase are moulded into the silicone band and not simply onto the surface, so your phrase won't disappear or 'rub off' over time. "Debossing" is the most popular procedure used for custom designed bracelets. (link)

Debossing and embossing coupled together can really make your brand design stand out from the crowd. (link)

In debossing, an image is pressed into the surface of the pouch creating depressions rather than raised impressions. The same techniques used for embossing can be used with debossing to create visual effects and texture.
This process utilizes an electronic sealing machine to press a die into the surface of the pouch material, leaving a depressed (debossed) imprint of the design, logo, or title on the pouch. It is very similar to hot foil stamping, decorating the pouch without the foil and only leaving the stamped impression (debossed into the material) onto the pouch. Debossing will never peel or flake off, it is a permanent impression. ()

Embossing (above the surface) and debossing (below the surface) is a stamping technique in which particular elements are three-dimensional and textured. This technique can be accomplished with or without (blind) the use of ink or foil. (link)

Foil Blocking
Foil stamping, typically a commercial print process, is the application of pigment or metallic foil, often gold or silver , but can also be various patterns or what is known as pastel foil which is a flat opaque color or white special film-backed material, to paper where a heated die is stamped onto the foil, making it adhere to the surface leaving the design of the die on the paper. Foil stamping can be combined with embossing to create a more striking 3D image. (link)

Foil blocking is the process of applying metallic or 'foil' effects to a surface. It uses a metal die - like a stamp - onto which the design is chemically etched or crafted by hand from supplied artwork. Dies are made from various metals and can be either 'flat' (foil only) or 'combination' (foiling and embossing done in one pass).

The technique produces effects which are practically impossible to achieve using traditional ink printing. Foils are available in a variety of finishes, including gloss, matt and satin. Along with standard gold and silver, you can choose from many other metallic colours. Some foils do have restricted uses, so please check with us first.

Fascinate with foil

Foil blocking can transform conventionally printed materials and make them shine. Stationery, business cards, greetings cards, certificates, promotional items, invitations, packaging and a whole host of other products can all benefit from its magic touch. It is also possible to foil block on to leather, plastic, and a number of other surfaces. Do chat with us at the concept stage of your project, so that we can advise you on the most appropriate way of achieving your designs.

And, despite the effort of producing specific dies for each job, foil blocking can be very economic for short run printing. You won’t have to spend a million to look a million dollars! (link)

using metallic, pearlescent, holographic, matt and gloss pigment foils, we transfer your designs using a heated die onto material ranging from wafer thin bible paper to extremely thick board. (link)

Foil blocking for your printed materials creates a sumptuous finish that can be flat or textured, embossed and debossed, metallic or non-metallic. It can be applied to any printed item and is usually found on high quality brochures to show the quality behind the service or goods that are being offered. (link)

Foil stamping, which is the process of pressing colored foil onto a substrate with a heated die, can add texture and elegance to a design. It can also be used as a mirror to show reflections adding to the overall effect of a printed piece. (link)

A technique where metallic foil is applied to a page using heat and pressure to create a reflective area. The effect is usually more eye catching than a metallic ink as the foil has a greater reflective properties and sits on top of the paper rather than being partially absorbed as is the case with the ink. The down side of this is that it is more expensive than metallic ink requiring a special dye to be made and will often be carried out in a specialised workshop. (link)

Foil stamping is one of the most underused print finishing techniques, especially when you consider how powerful foil stamps are for grabbing attention and lending an air of prestige and authority to your marketing materials. If your design seems to be lacking a certain pop, see how a foil stamp fits in. Chances are, you'll increase your response rate immediately. (link)

Die Cutting
Die cutting is when the shape of the paper is altered or areas are cut out to enhance the visual purpose of the design. Often die cuts are used to see beyond a page and onto the proceeding one. (link)

A metal tool which punches is hole or edge into a piece of artwork ito create a irregular shape in the substrate, usually card or paper. Like a pie cutter in application, A die cutter is often used used to create packaging from a regular sheet, but can also be used in brochure design to create an unusual cover or to knockout a hole for a image to show through.
The cutter is a series of blades set in a block to create a single unbroken but irregular edge and can be combined with scoring to create folds in the paper. These have a significant make ready cost and are usually only used when a budget permits. (link)

Die cuts are unique in that they allow you to simultaneously grab attention by straying from the norm and make a statement about your company. A simple rounded corner on a business card can denote elegance and superiority, while a fun die cut (such as a dog bone for a pet shop) immediately tells your customers who you are and what you do. Your brand image is incredibly important to business longevity, and die-cut print finishes can help you achieve the image you want fast. (link)

WIDFP? - Book Bindings

WIDFP? - Stock

Stock is a term used in the printing industry and refers to the material that is to be printed on, for example, paper, card, vinyl etc. (link)

Paper type considerations
You have to know what makes a high-quality paper stock. This often depends on the piece itself - 100-pound gloss text is great for brochures, while 24-pound synergy bond is best for letterhead. Still, there are some conventions you should follow:

  • The more prestigious the piece, the thicker the paper. This doesn't mean your folded brochures should be like cardboard, but adding thickness to your paper can lend credibility and esteem.
  • White paper is best for most applications, since color can be printed.
  • Postcards are best printed on 13-point and 14-point paper, brochures on 70-pound to 100-pound cover or text stock. For everything else, get recommendations from PsPrint's instant printing price quote widget.
  • Paper stocks with a gloss finish are well suited for grabbing attention with a flashy delivery, since the gloss helps colorful designs pop off the page.
  • Matte stocks are a good choice for a more subtle appeal, perhaps suggesting exclusivity.
  • Special coatings such as aqueous and UV further enhance printed promotions by adding a layer of brilliance and protection.
  • If you're a green company, look for eco-friendly 100 percent recycled matte paper stocks. This can also be very important to your customers

It's a good idea to know what kind of paper you'll be printing on before you design your projects, so you can tailor your design to match the paper and finish. Sleek, smooth paper might benefit a sleek design; while a soft matte might be great for a subdued theme. Ask your printer for free paper stock samples before you settle on one so you can literally get a feel for what it's like in your hands. Great paper stocks feel strong and stable, vicariously lending these same attributes to your products and services.

Choosing the best paper type for your promotions takes some consideration, but it doesn't take long to acquire the knack. Do the legwork now, so when you send your next promotion out the door you can be proud of your work and confident knowing you've given your direct-marketing materials the attention they need to sell for you. (link)

Coated Stock
As the name suggests, coated stock has a coating and this is usually of china clay, this gives the paper/card a smooth surface which can be gloss or silk in finish (gloss being shiny and silk offering more of a matt finish). Coated stock is used for projects that require a high quality finish such as presentation folders, leaflets, flyers and brochures, the list goes on!

Coated stock does have its downsides, it cannot be printed on with a home printer and neither gloss or silk coated stock offer a perfect writing surface, with biro’s tending to smudge on both (especially gloss).

Uncoated stock is typically used for letterheads and compliment slips as they can be printed on at home and written on without problems. A single side coated stock is also available and ideal for postcards and greetings cards, as the name suggests single side coated stock has a coating to one side only, this leaves the other side uncoated and perfect to write on. (link)

Marketing Tools
Rollup Banners, PVC Boards, Displays, People Stopper, Advertising Signs, Large Format Printing, Pvc Banners, Flags, Textile Posters, Pop up Stands, Promotion Counters, Stand-up Displays, Plastic Sheets, Lightboxes (link)

Leaflet Holder, Business cards holders, Poster displays, Snap Frames (link)

Signage is any kind of visual graphics created to display information to a particular audience. This is typically manifested in the form of wayfinding information in places such as streets or inside/outside of buildings. (link)

Large Format Print
Large format printing

For large-format printed products not only the sheer size is crucial. In our so-called LFP department (large format printing) we produce using (among others) modern HP® printers. By using environmentally-friendly latex paints our rollup banners, textile posters, plots or large-sized PVC tarps are completely odorless. Especially when used indoors (e.g. at exhibitions or open house events) the latex inks' odorless properties are a real advantage. On different materials such as PVC, backlit or polyester film, polyester fabric or paper, we achieve an absolutely brilliant print.

Our large format product range is extended by advertisment signs made out of soft- or rigid foam board, aluminum DIBOND® or PLEXIGLAS® (link)

List of Stocks
80# Gloss Text
Standard glossy paper stock, about as thick as a light magazine cover. The shiny finish provides an excellent opaque base for rich process color printing. This is our most popular stock for Brochure printing, Catalog Inserts, Flyers, Posters, etc.

100# Gloss Text
Similar to the 80# gloss text, but 25% thicker and heavier, for a more substantial feeling piece. Standard Uses: Brochures, Information Sheets, Self-mailers, Posters, Door Hangers, etc.

80# Dull/matte text
This stock is finely coated with a non-gloss finish. It provides an excellent opaque base for easy to read, crisp typography. Standard Uses: Brochures, Newsletters, Catalog Inserts, and Flyers, etc.

100# Dull/Matte Text
Thicker and heavier than our 80# Dull/Matte text for a more substantial feeling piece. Provides a non-glossy, opaque base for detailed, crisp printing.

80# Dull/Matte Cover
Our dull/matte cover is a thick 9 pt cover stock with a smooth, non-shiny coating. It is well suited for detailed, crisp printing without sacrificing the ability to easily write on the paper. Often selected with the 80# dull/matte text option for inside your catalog or calendar piece.

80# Gloss Cover
As a "cover" stock, this paper is stiff, about like a postcard or baseball card. This stock is coated with a glossy finish, making photographs and other images look beautiful. Standard uses: durable, heavy-weight Brochures, Catalog Covers, Product Spec Sheets.

100# Uncoated Cover
An option for business cards, rack cards and bookmarks. This bright white smooth #1 grade cover stock is 14 pt in thickness and matches the 70# text-weight stock we use for letterhead and envelopes.

120# Gloss Cover
We offer this high-quality, thick 14 pt stock on all of our card products. The glossy, coated finish makes photographs and other images look beautiful. We include aqueous coating to your four color sides for added protection and shine.

120# Gloss Cover PC55 (Recycled)
Same features as our 120# Gloss Cover with 55% post-consumer recycled content.

120# Dull/Matte Cover
Our dull/matte cover is a thick 14 pt cover stock with a smooth, non-shiny coating. It is well suited for detailed, crisp printing without sacrificing the ability to easily write on the paper. An excellent choice for Business Cards, Postcards, Note Cards and Greeting Cards.

120# Dull/Matte Cover PC55 (Recycled)
Same features as our 120# Dull/Matte Cover with 55% post-consumer recycled content.

70# Uncoated Text
We exclusively offer 70# Lustre for stationery, envelopes and newsletters. This ultra-premium uncoated (non-glossy) white stock is guaranteed safe for desktop laser printing. Many common stationery stocks are not optimized for 4-color printing, so we have selected this for best results. Feels thick and substantial in your hands, and is the best uncoated paper stock available for full-color printing.

24# Uncoated and 28# Uncoated
This is a standard stock commonly used for envelopes, also called White Wove. The 28# is thicker and heavier than the 24#. (link)

WIDFP? - File Formats

There are many graphic file formats, if we include the proprietary types. The PNG, JPEG, and GIF formats are most often used to display images on the Internet. These graphic formats are listed and described below.

TIFF (.tiff & .tif) - Tagged Image File Format
The Tagged Image File Format is widely used in business, offices, and commercial printing environments. Initially TIFF was designed to alleviate the problems associated with fixed file formats and to eliminate the need for proprietary image file formats.

Web-based images
In web-based publishing, three file formats have become the widely accepted standard. Presently Internet browsers can only read JPG or GIF and PNG images, without the user installing a separate viewer or plug-in. On Web pages it is most common to find JPEG files used for photographic quality images.

JPEG (.jpg) - Joint Photographic Experts Group
JPEG (or JPG) uses a lossy compression structure that allows users to compress the data up to 1/10th of the original size. Such high compression results in a loss of image quality, but on Web pages the images are generally small and they need the compression to produce the smaller image file sizes for downloading.

Most graphics programs will also allow the user to select a compression factor as you save a JPEG file, so you can work with the image to achieve a good balance between file size and image quality. As the compression factor gets higher, more artifacts are introduced into the image, which are blurred to make them less noticeable. Using thejpeg format in print design is possible as long as you save the file at 100%. This because artifacts that occur when JPEG compression kicks in get even more noticeable when printed.

Most graphics programs will also allow the user to select a compression factor as you save a file, so you can work with the image to achieve a good balance between file size and image quality. As the compression factor gets higher, more artifacts are introduced into the image, which are blurred to make them less noticeable.

GIF (.gif) - Graphic Interchange Format
The Graphic Interchange Format was developed by CompuServe to show images online when 8-bit video was commonplace. GIF uses a palette of up to 256 colors, which is why it is not suited to photo quality images where 24-bit color is required. GIF is best suited to common Web graphics like buttons, logos, text boxes, borders, and small animated images where the image is designed by the graphic artists and does not need more than 256 colors. A small background image for a Web page may only contain a few colors, in which case saving the image as a GIF file will produce the optimal file size for this type of graphic, especially when the graphic uses separate solid colors rather than shading.

Another important feature of a GIF file is that you can choose to save the background of an image as transparent. If you create a simple set of icons or text boxes for a Web page, saving these as transparent GIF files would allow you to implement the graphics on a variety of Web pages, regardless of the background colors you've used on the page. Most graphics programs will allow you to select a color within the GIF file to make transparent, or start with a transparent background and build your graphic up from there.

PNG (.png) - Portable Network Graphics
Portable Network Graphics is the third graphics standard supported by web browsers (though not supported by all browsers). PNG was developed as a patent-free answer to the GIF format but is also an improvement on the GIF technique. An image in a lossless PNG file can be 5% to 25% more compressed than a GIF file of the same image. PNG builds on the idea of transparency in GIF images and allows the control of the degree of transparency, known as opacity (which ranges from 0 to 100 percent).


WIDFP? - 10 Tips for better print design

While researching, I came across this website that I find very interesting and relevant to the What is design for print? brief.

WIDFP? - Colour Systems

Technical, essential knowledge for control of your work.

  • CMYK (cyan/magenta/yellow/key black - 4 colour process). Subtractive - This is used in the most common printed process called litho or offset litho
  • RGB (red/green/blue - screen based) Additive.
  • Greyscale (Black and white continuous tone and any shade of grey, such as black and white photograph)
  • Duotone (when a continuous tone image is printed in 2 or more spot colours) - this term is also generally used when describing tri and quadtones.
  • Spot Colour (one or more specially mixed colours as opposed as a result of a CMYK or RGB mix)
  • Mono (like greyscale but with a coloured ink, ie: one colour and percentage tints of that colour, plus the colour of the material it's printed on)

  • CMYK Definition: Stands for Cyan Magenta Yellow and Key Black. These are four basic colours used for printing colour images. Unlike RGB (red, green, blue,), which is used for creating images on your computer screen.
  • CMYK colours are 'subtractive'. This means the colours get darker as you blend them together. Since RGB colours are used for light, not pigments, the colours grow brighter as you blend them of increase their intensity.
  • Spot Colour: Print technicians around the world use the term spot colour to mean any colour generated by a non-standard offset ink; such as metallic, fluorescent, spot varnish, or custom hand-mixed inks. (as opposed to obtaining a colour via mix of CMYK).
  • Greyscale: One colour black and all the shades of grey through to white (black and white photography is grey scale)
  • Monochrome (mono): Monochromatic colours are all the colours of a single hue derived from one colour and extended using the shades, tones and tints of that colour.
  • Halftone: This is a mechanical process (as opposed to chemical) for converting tonal values into a series of dots that although solid dots, when printed give the impression of continuous tone.

Color Models
A color model is an orderly system for creating a whole range of colors from a small set of primary colors. There are two types of color models, those that are subtractive and those that are additive. Additive color models use light to display color while subtractive models use printing inks. Colors perceived in additive models are the result of transmitted light. Colors perceived in subtractive models are the result of reflected light. (link)

The Two Most Common Color Models
There are several established color models used in computer graphics, but the two most common are the RGB model (Red-Green-Blue) for computer display and the CMYK model (Cyan-Magenta-Yellow-blacK) for printing. (link)

Notice the centers of the two color charts. In the RGB model, the convergence of the three primary additive colors produces white. In the CMYK model, the convergence of the three primary subtractive colors produces black.

In the RGB model notice that the overlapping of additive colors (red, green and blue) results in subtractive colors (cyan, magenta and yellow). In the CMYK model notice that the overlapping of subtractive colors (cyan, magenta and yellow) results in additive colors (red, green and blue). (link)

To reproduce full-colour photographic images, typical printing presses use 4 colours of ink. The four inks are placed on the paper in layers of dots that combine to create the illusion of more colours. CMYK refers to the 4 ink colours used by the printing press.

C is cyan (a blue-green colour), M is magenta (a reddish pink colour), Y is yellow and K is a pure black ink, the key plate or keyline colour. (link)

How does CMYK work?

Because process colour ink pigments are imperfect, pure black cannot be achieved by overprinting CMY inks.

Consequently, black (K) ink is introduced in addition to, or in substitution for, CMY inks. The combined value of all CMYK inks for a particular area or object cannot exceed a specified amount, or ink may not transfer effectively and printed sheets may not dry properly.

This specified amount, referred to as Total Area Coverage;(TAC), typically is limited to 300% for offset lithography using coated paper. Compensation for TAC limitation is accomplished during the separation process, by which RGB colour is converted to CMYK.

Spot Colour
A spot colour is a specially mixed ink using in printing. Spot colour inks come in a rainbow of colours, including some speciality inks such as metallic and fluorescent. Unlike CMYK or process colour which creates colours by laying down 4 layers of just 4 specific inks, spot colours are pre-mixed and you use one ink for each colour in the publication.

There are different brands of spot colour inks. In the united states, the dominant spot colour printing system is Pantone. The pantone Matching System or PMS consists of over 1000 colours of ink. Other spot colour systems include TOYO, DIC and ANPA. (link)

A spot colour is basically a pre-defined colour that can be reproduced at any time. There are many different colour references but the industry-standard formulas are provided by Pantone.

Many of the standard colours have names (Fig. 1), e.g. Pantone Purple, Pantone Process Blue etc., but the majority are referenced purely by numbers (Fig. 2). Incidentally, the 'C' stands for Coated.

Spot colors are simply colored inks. The range of ink colors available and means for specifying these inks depends on the color system used by your printer. Printing Services uses the Pantone colour system. There are over a thousand colours available in the Pantone color system. (link)

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

Most desktop publishing and graphics applications allow you to specify colours for text and other elements. There are a number of colour specification systems for specifying spot colours, but Pantone is the most widely used. (link)

What is Pantone?
A popular colour matching system used by the printing industry to print spot colours. Most applications that support colour printing allow you to specify colours by indicating the Pantone name or number. This assures that you get the right colour when the file is printed, even though the colour may not look right when displayed on your monitor.

PMS works well for spot colours but not for process colours, which are generally specified using the CMYK colour model. (link)

A Colour Matching System, or CMS, is a method used to ensure that colours remain as consistent as possible, regardless of the device/medium displaying the colour. Keeping colour from varying across mediums is very difficult because not only is colour subjective to some extent, but also because devices use a wide range of technologies to display colour.

Many printers keep an array of base Pantone inks in their shops, such as Warm Red, Rubine Red, Green, Yellow, Reflex Blue, and Violet. Most PMS colors have a "recipe" that the printer follows to create the desired colour. The base colours, along with black and white, are combined in certain proportions within the printer's shop to achieve other PMS colours.

If it is very important to match a certain PMS colour in your project, such as when a corporate logo colour is used, you may want to suggest to the that printer purchase that particular colour pre-mixed from the ink supplier. This will help ensure a close match. Another possible reason to buy pre-mixed PMS colours is if you have a very long print run, since it can be difficult to mix large amounts of ink and keep the colour consistent through several batches. (link)

Colour Separation
The act of decomposing a colour graphic or photo into single-colour layers. For example, to print fill-colour photos with an offset printing press, one must first separate the photo into the four basic ink colours: CMYK. Each single-colour layer is then printed separately, one on top of the other to give the impression of infinite colours.

This type of colour separation, mixing three or four colours to produce an infinite variety of colours, is called print process colour separation. Another type of colour separation, called spot colour separation, is used to separate colours that are not to be mixed. In this case, each spot colour is represented by its own ink, which is specially mixed. Spot colours are effective for highlighting text but they cannot be used to reproduce full-colour images.

Traditionally, process colour separation has been performed photographically with different coloured filters. However, many modern desktop publishing systems are now capable of producing colour separations for graphics stored electronically. This capability is essential if you want to create full colour separation if you want to create full-colour documents on your computer and then print them using an offset printer. You don't need to perform colour separation if you are printing directly to a colour printer because in this case the printer itself performs the colour separation internally. (link)

Multi-tone Images
There are 4 types of multi-tone images in all. Each one contains the number of inks as the name implies:

  • Monotone greyscale images printed with a single ink
  • Duotone greyscale images printed with two inks
  • Tritone greyscale images printed with three inks
  • Quadtone greyscale images printed with four inks (link)


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 colour mode in Photoshop supports between one to four colours of ink. Because home inkjet printers are far better at printing full-colour images than black and white, many photographers and designers use Photoshop Duotone processing to improve their artwork/prints. Photoshop's Duotone mode is also commonly used for creating sepia toned prints, using black and yellow inks, sometimes with a third colour.

Rich Black / Plain Black

On a computer monitor, there is only one way to represent black. When there is no light coming from the monitor, the screen is black.

In print there are many different ways to represent black. The simplest is "plain black," or 100% black ink (0C, 0M, 0Y, 100K). However, you can also create a "rich black" by printing other inks along with black. There are many different possible ink combinations - the most common "rich black" contains percentages of all 4 inks: 63C, 52M, 51Y 100K. This particular variant owes it's popularity to Adobe Photoshop - when an RGB file is converted to CMYK, areas that are absolute RGB black (R0, G0, B0) will wind up with this combination, unless certain default settings have been changed. Other possible flavors of "rich black" are "Cool Black" (60C, 0M, 0Y, 100K) and "Warm Black" (0C, 60M, 30C, 100K).

Measuring the colour values
The solution to this problem is to measure the ink values in the CMYK (referencing Photoshop's info palette), and create a matching colour in the page layout program. Care must be taken that the rich black in the CMYK image is actually continuous; move the cursor around and make sure that the ink values don't fluctuate. Then create a new separated CMYK color in Quark using the Edit>Colors dialog box; you can call it "Rich Black." Assign that colour to the background of the picture box. Check your work by printing paper separations before sending out for film.

WIDFP? - Pad Printing

What is pad printing?
A printing process that can transfer a 2D image onto a 3D object.

Transfer pad printing is considered an indirect gravure printing process since, like gravure printing, it employs an etched plate. But the plate does not come in direct contact with the substrate. Instead, the image is transferred to the surface by means of the pad. The benefits associated with pad printing are numerous, but it is most commonly recognised for its ability to print on 3D surfaces. Common products that illustrate this feature include golfballs, syringe barrels, windshield wiper knobs, taillight lenses, consumer electronics and many more items. (link)

Pad printers designed for production, business, or home are easy to learn, operate, and achieve perfectly registered repeat prints on almost any surface, article, or product, using fast drying inks - 10-20 seconds drying time. Printers are supplied with magnetic printing plate holder, blades, pads, inks, basic accessories and full instruction material. (link)

Pad printing is an indirect intaglio process where the etched image on a flat plate is tilted with ink by a 'spatula' or wiper, the excess ink is wiped off by a doctor blade, leaving ink only in the etched image. This ink is then picked up by a silicone rubber pad and transferred to the product surface. The etched image can vary from .0005" to .0015", by exposure of a film positive to the sensitised surface of a Nylopolymer or steel plate. The pad is basically a silicone rubber compound, moulded to geometrically determined shapes. In order to transfer images with the minimum peripheral distortion onto flat or curved surfaces. Being elastic the pad shapes itself to the product surface. The pad shape usually relates to the image size and product shape. (link)

Basic elements of pad printing?
The transfer pad printing process consists of four main elements: pad, cliché, ink and machine. Below is a brief introduction of the elements followed by a detailed discussion of each.
  • Silicone Transfer Pad - It was the introduction of the transfer pad in the late 1960's that accelerated pad printing to its current status. The transfer pad, constructed of silicone rubber, is the key ingredient that enables printing on 3D surfaces. Available in a variety of shapes and hardness (durometer), it is the job of the pad to pick up the ink image out of the cliché plate, act as a carrier, and then transfer the image to the part. It is the unique nature of the silicone rubber that allows the pick up and release process to occur.
  • Cliché Plate - The second key element that we will look at is the printing plate or cliché. The cliché is manufactured through a special photo-etching process and is available in an assortment of sizes and materials. The most commonly used steel cliché has a life expectancy in excess of one million cycles. Other temporary cliché materials can be used for shorter production runs and can even be manufactured at the user's facility. The choice between using steel or temporary clichés is based on volume and print quality considerations.
  • Pad Printing Ink - Pad printing ink, the third key element, includes a wide range of various inks, all designed specifically for the pad printing process. Due to the nature of this process, most clichés are etched to a depth of approximately one thousandth of an inch (.001"). With such an extremely shallow etched depth, the ink deposited within this space must be highly pigmented to obtain the necessary opacity. In addition, thinners are moved with the ink to control viscosity and to facilitate ink 'tackiness', a critical factor in the image transfer process.
  • Pad Printing Machine - The pad printing machine represents the fourth key element. Many machine designs exist but there are three basic configurations: the conventional open inkwell design, the rotary gravure process, and the sealed ink cup system. As with the other key elements, the variations exist within each of these categories. (link)

Pad Printing Inks?
It is common for those unfamiliar with the pad printing process to refer to pad printing inks as 'pains'. The truth is that these inks have very little in common with paint or even inks, including screen printing inks. The inks that we know and use today are designed specifically for the pad printing process. Although a full line of inks is available for printing on different substrates, all pad printing inks share two common traits: they are solvent-based and contain a special pigment density. (link)

Generally, pad printing inks have been especially developed and adapted for quick application and drying times, and in many cases are immediately stackable. About 75% of the products shown here, except glass, have been printed with a single re-usable ink type. These quick drying inks are easy to work with, and are very resistant to abrasion and chemicals. Two component inks are used where there is a need for high wear resistance and durability. These inks take several hours to cure, but the process can be speeded up by heat treatment after printing. Glass Inks, for example only require heat treatment in a standard domestic oven to effect a full dishwasher proof cure. Repeat registration is so accurate that several duplicate prints can achieve an effect very similar to the raised letter or 'embossed' effect created on quality business cards by more expensive and difficult thermographic print processes. (link)