FAQ on print

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FAQ on print2016-11-16T22:52:31+00:00

FAQ on print, design, reprographics,
large format and web

Browse below in our categories to find the question you need answering on FAQ on print. If it not there ask us by email, well do out best to answer your problem.

What is the difference between Digital and Litho printing?2019-01-16T23:24:52+00:00

What is the difference between Digital and Litho printing?

A quick guide to the pros and cons of Digital and Litho Printing

What is the difference between Digital and Litho printing? Not as straight forward as you may think. Over the last decade Digital presses have made gigantic leaps forward in technology, performance, accuracy and quality, but Litho presses have done exactly the same.

Digital

Today’s Digital presses are more flexible and powerful than ever. They vary from A4 plus to oversize A2 and banner printer ( Longer lengths) They offer a comprable choice of stock, finishes, laminating and finishing options inline that is easily equal to Litho printing. Digital is great for short run printing, personalisation and meeting those deadlines.

Digital printing allows a job to go directly from a computer file direct to a printer or RIP (Raster image Processor), before being released to the printing press. This makes digital printing very quick to produce and extremely cost effective on short run work. Very much as you would send a file to your home printer. On demand printing is where digital scores heavily but it also has the option of variable data.

Personalisation

Variable data is where Digital outperforms litho. Personalised printing is where information can be added or changed to personalise  letters, flyers, invitations, in fact virtually anything can be personalised. It can include a person’s name, address, product details, change images and graphics on each individual printed sheet. Personalising prints is easy and quickly done and set up costs are relatively small. Litho machines can also offer personalisation but normal this is applied on a second run.

Lithographic printing

Lithographic or ‘litho’ printing is a process is completely different. Your file is handled by a Pre Press or Reprographics department. It is checked and it is proofed, passed before sending to a RIP where it is digitised and a printing plate is produced. You need four plates to produce a full colour job, excluding any spot colours. The plates are then loaded onto a printing press where the plates are inked and this image transfer to a blanket before the paper.

Digital printing normally has a cost per click which does not vary and so has a limitation on its cost effectiveness. Litho printing is more expensive to set up but the cost reduces dramatically as the volume increases.

We are blessed to be in an age where printing has become very cheap. Prices have been drive down by cash rich, American and European Printer offering cut prices. These price cuts have seen the gap between the Digital and Litho prices narrow. Today’s modern printing presses have short run set ups, automatic plate changing which enable then to compete with Digital Print on shorter runs.

Stock Materials

Flyers, Leaflets, Business Cards, Brochures and other marketing materials can be printed on a range of materials such as silk, gloss, uncoated, textured stocks, all with different weights, which is measured as gsm ‘Grams per Square Meter’. Between both litho and digital printing there is little difference between weight and quality of stock. For instance Digital is on 120gsm, Litho is on 130gsm, Digital, 160gsm, Litho 170gsm, small but virtually indistinguishable differences. Litho printing however produces better quality work when printing rough or heavily textured materials.

Digital

  • No set up time or cost
  • Instant proof of finished job
  • Instant printing
  • Runs virtually the same stock as litho
  • Same finishing options
  • Cost effective short runs
  • Special spot colours and foil options
  • Personalisation

Litho

  • Most printers require sign of before printing
  • Plates have to be produced
  • Expensive hard copy proofing
  • Better quality
  • Significantly lower cost on high volume
  • Multiple spots and finishes can be applied inline
  • Better for heavy and texture paper

Conclusion

There is no specific printing technique that is better than the other.  It all depends on what you are printing, how many prints you need, and the material you’ll be printing on. They only factor where digital is king is speed and if you need personalisation.

Put simply for the vast majority Digital printing is cost effective when it comes to printing a few prints whilst litho printing works out cheaper if you are printing large quantities.

Litho printing is the better quality method when using textured paper and perhaps when the design requires a large colour block coverage. However, when you are printing on a more typical stock, the quality between the two printers isn’t noticeable. In fact many printers don’t even tell you if its litho or digital.

When it comes to choosing between digital and litho printing, you need to take these factors into consideration such as the quantity of the print, the material you want the print to be printed on, your budget and the design you are wanting to be printed as both printers have their pros and cons and certain aspects of the factors you need to consider.

If you need more information and you need advice please do not hesitate to call Digiprint, we are here to help.

Photo by Bank Phrom on Unsplash

Prepress Proofing2019-04-27T11:22:03+00:00

Prepress Proofing

Why you should always have a prepress proof if colour and brand are important

Prepress proofing is a tool for customer and printer to verify that a job to be printed job is accurate. This is why it is also know as Contract proofing. Prepress proofing or off-press proofing is a cost-effective way of providing a visual copy without the expense of creating a press proof. If errors are found during the printing process on press, correcting them can prove very costly to one or both parties involved.

A proof allows the customer to check every small detail for errors before the printing process is started. A prepress proof is for colour reference and accuracy, pagination, to ensure all the relevant elements are within the job. It often also serves as a final proof for the customer to check finer detail, brand colour are correct, images are high enough resolution. For the printer it is more about, bleed, crops, colour fidelity, make up, separations and that the job has or will separate correctly.

No large printer with a long print run, such as a magazine or brochure will print a job without some sort of proof being signed off by a customer. Once you have signed the printer will run to this proof. These days everything is handled by computer, including the printing presses. The chances of something being printed different to what you have passed is probably almost impossible. Every sheet is scanned and check for tolerance as it passes through the printing press and it will inform the operator if there is any variance.

What is Prepress proofing?

Prepress proofing, sometimes called off press proofing, is a cost effective way to get a visual copy of a printing order without having to go through the labor and expense of a physical press proof. This method is not always best though, and when certain requirements like exact colour matching are needed then a physical press proof may be the best choice in spite of the extra cost and work involved.

What are the they type of proofs available

Soft proofs

Often referred to as a digital proof, a soft proof is a prepress proofing method that allows you to check a low resolution copy of the file. This file is often provided in a PDF format but can by JPEG or tiff file. Soft proofing simply allows you to check the final design elements to check that it has not corrupted or moved in any way.

Matchproof or chromlin proofing

Rarely used these days but still give the print an accurate guide to the colour expected. Cost if often the reason for not using these. Todays digital presses often can create a perfectly accepted final proof before litho printing and is far cheaper.

Hard copy digital proofing

As we have said may larger Lithographic printers have digital presses to ofter low run copies of magazine and brochures. Often you cannot distinguish between the two types of printing.

Wet proof

Wet proofs offers the highest level of quality for proofing any publication. They allow you to use the plates and stock that will be used on the final print run. Wet proofing is the only real way to proof items such as duotones or quadtones and is the best option for spot colour proofing. The individual proof is, however, hardly economically justifiable, however if the job is regular monthly magazine the settings are normally saved so this exercise need not be done again.

Press proof

Normally a Press proof is for the customer to watch the print come of the press and sign off there and then. However it is possible to have a Press proof is a test print of the data directly on a printing press.

Which proofing method is best?

All of these proofing methods are fine for proofing purposes depending of what your requirements are.

Soft proofing is perfectly fine for smaller run jobs and is the most cost effective method available if he colours in the graphics do not have to be perfectly matched with 100% precision. Sometime it is worth paying a little extra to ensure that what lands on your desk is correct first time.

Limitations

The limitations to all these proofing methods are the absence of Spot colour. Many of todays larger inkjet machines offer 11 colour RGB printing with can offer a great deal of accuracy of most of the Pantone range but not all.  It is best to assume that the pantone colour will be printed correctly and the Prepress proof is simply an indication or guide. A Press proof of course will be accurate.

What should you check when prepress proofing?

When you are prepress proofing you need to look at everything, ensure that it matches your last proofs all the elements are their, the pages are in the correct order, folios and headers are where they should be. Experience here is vital, something like this is not for a beginer. Check, check and check again, remember your signature is the green light for printing.

Company Stationery Legal requirements2016-11-12T19:45:53+00:00

Letterheads – legal requirements

What is the correct information to put on a company stationery?

When designing your company letterhead or order form you could be forgiven for solely concentrating on their design and the quality of paper they are printed on. However, Company stationery legal requirements need to follow several requirements. If you fail to implement these then hard work and vital cash will have been wasted.
Thankfully Company stationery legal requirements are simple. They also vary by the type of business run.
Under the Companies Act 1985 your company must state its name. As it appears in its memorandum of association. In certain places and on its business stationery. Your company must also give certain information on all its business letters and order forms.

Sole trader

If you are a sole trader you can trade under your own name or you can choose a different business name. If you choose a business name that is not your own name, you must include your own name.  You must also include business address on all letterheads and order forms.

Partnership

If you are a partnership business your letterheads, order forms, receipts and even invoices must include the names of all partners and the address of the main office. If there are many partners then it is also acceptable to state where a list of partners may be found.

Limited company

If your company is trading as a limited company the letterhead and order form stationary (whether printed or electronic versions) must include:
  • Your full registered company name.
  • The company registration number and place of registration.
  • The company registered address and the address of its place of business, if different.
  • There is no need to include the names of the directors on the letterhead for a limited company, but if you choose to name directors all directors must be named.
  • Most letterheads also include a telephone and fax number, a url for the business’ website and an email address.

Certain businesses must also state the following on their business letters and order forms:

  • For an investment company (as defined by section 266 of the Companies Act 1985) that it is such a company.
  • For a company exempt from using the word ‘limited’ in its name, that it is a limited company.
  • For a company with share capital, it is not necessary to state the share capital on stationary but if the company chooses to do so, the paid-up share capital rather than the authorised capital must be stated.
  • Charitable companies whose name excludes the words ‘charity’ or ‘charitable’ must state the fact that it is a charity on its stationary.

Where must the company name be displayed?

Every company must paint or affix its name on the outside of every office or place in which its business is carried on – even if it is a director’s home. The name must be kept painted or affixed and it must be both conspicuous and legible.

On which documents must the company name be shown?

The company must state its name, in legible lettering, on the following:
  • All the company’s business letters.
  • All its notices and other official publications.
  • All bills of exchange, promissory notes, endorsements, cheques and orders for money or goods purporting to besigned by, or on behalf of, the company.
  • All its bills of parcels, invoices, receipts and letters of credit.
  • All electronic data.

Must the company show any other details?

Yes. On all its business letters and order forms the company must show in legible lettering:
  • Its place of registration and its registered number. The place of registration must be one of the following, as appropriate:

Company stationery legal requirements for companies registered in England and Wales:

  • Registered in Cardiff
  • Registered in England and Wales
  • Registered in England
  • Registered in London
  • Registered in Wales

Company stationery legal requirements for companies registered in Scotland:

  • Registered in Scotland
  • Registered in Edinburgh
The address of the registered office. If a business letter or order form mentions more than one address, it is recommended that you state which is the registered office address.

Must directors’ names be shown?

A company does not have to state the directors’ names on its business letters but, if it chooses to do so it must state the names of all its directors. In other words a company cannot be selective about which directors’ names it shows – it must show all of them or none of them.

Must anything else be shown?

Certain categories of company must also state the following additional information on their business letters and order forms:
  • For an investment company (as defined by section 266 of the Companies Act 1985), that it is such a company
  • For a company exempt from using the word ‘limited’ in its name, the fact that it is a limited company.
  • For a company with share capital, it is not necessary to state the share capital on stationery but, if the company chooses to do so, it must state its paid-up share capital, not its authorised capital.

Websites

Companies registered in the UK are now required to list their company registration number, place of registration, and registered office address on their company website.

Email

Companies registered in the UK are now required to list their company registration number, place of registration, and registered office address in email footers.

Are there special rules for charitable companies?

Under section 68 of the Charities Act 1993, a charitable company whose name does not include the word ‘charity’ or ‘charitable’ must state the fact that it is a charity on all the documents listed under question 2, in all bills it sends and on any conveyances it executes.
Section 68 does not require a charitable company to include the word ‘charity’ or ‘charitable’ in its name.
The Charities Act 1993 does not apply to charitable companies registered in Scotland but the same rule applies to Scottish companies under section 112(6) of the Companies Act 1989.

Do the rules apply to overseas companies?

A company incorporated outside Great Britain which opens a branch or place of business in Great Britain must be registered and must give similar details to those stated in this chapter. Full details are listed in the Companies House booklet, ‘Overseas Companies’.
This information for Company stationery legal requirements is intended as a guide only. See http://www.hmrc.gov.uk  or Companies House for current information.

What is CMYK?2016-11-12T19:45:53+00:00

What is CMYK in printing terms?

CMYK is an acronym. CMYK stands for four ink colors – Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black.

In offset and digital printing, the four ink colours, CMYK are applied to paper in successive layers. By overlapping these four ink colours a range of colours can be created. The combined visual effects of these four CMYK colors produce what we commonly know as Full Color Printing.

To understand it fully we will start with your computer screen. The colours you see displayed  are RGB color. The RGB color model (made up of red, green and blue) RGB can only be viewed with natural or produced light, such as in the computer monitor. It is impossible to print RGB, This is where CMYK comes in. Because the RGB range of colour ‘gamut’ is far greater than CMYK not all of the printed colours can be reproduced.

When two RGB colors are mixed equally they produce the colors of the CMYK model, known as subtractive primaries. red and blue creates magenta (M) Green and blue creates cyan (C), and red and green creates yellow (Y).

Black is added to the model as a key. This is because it cannot be created with the 3 subtractive primaries.

What is CMYK in the printing process?

The four colour printing process uses four printing plates; one for cyan, one for magenta, one for yellow and one for black. When the colours are overlaid onto paper they create a visual image.

Digital Printing takes a different approach to printing each image. Instaed of ink they use toner, but still print in the CMYK format.The images are captured from a matrix of dots or pixels, this process is called digitising. The digitised image is then used to digitally control displacement of toner or exposure to electromagnetic energy to reproduce images.  All professional digital printers today run on Postscript. This language was developed by Adobe and is used to produce the images, text and photographs. Postscript is a complex set of mathematical formulas also allow for algorithms to compress the data. It also gives a method of Calibration or Color Management Systems which helps to keep images looking at the same colour despite where they are view or printed.

What is CMYK in reprographics and graphic design?

Designers have to deal with the issue of viewing their work on screen in RGB, although their final printed piece will be in CMYK. Today, there are printers that can offer near RGB printing using green and orange to boost the colour gamut such as our Epson 9900. At Digiprint we work in a closed system. Thats is we do not use ICC profiles to print to. But when you are printing to multiple devices each printer will be different and then this is where you may need greeter control.

Best practice is to convert Digital files to CMYK before sending to printers, digital or litho. Because of this issue, it is important to use the CMYK Pantone system or similar for accurate colour when designing  especially if brand colour is man important.  Swatches provide a designer and client with a printed example of what a colour will look like on paper. A selected swatch colour can then be chosen in Photoshop (or a similar program) to insure the desired results. Even though the on-screen colour may not exactly match the swatch, you know what your final colour will look like. Alternatively ou can also specify a match proof from a printer, which is an digital example of your printed piece provided before the entire job is run. If the job is colour critical then the option of a press proof is the only guarantee of passing final colour. Proofing for Digital is easy, proofing for litho is far more complicated and expensive.

If you have any questions about CMYK colors or full colour printing, just give us a call on 01384 486722 or email through our contact page. We can offer guidance on just about any printing topic including What is CMYK, and can simplify the task of buying printing for you.

Never use JPEG2019-03-03T22:58:57+00:00

Never use JPEG in your workflow

Compress JPEGs save space, allow faster loading, processing and ripping, they also give good colour reproduction, so why should you never use JPEGS in print?

JPEGS are possibly one of the biggest pains in reprographics. Next to LZW Tiff files they cock up more ‘quality’ jobs than any other file format. Many of today’s brochures and magazine use JPEGS quite successfully. They have numerous advantages over other file types, which is why they are so common. But in the wrong hands they will ruin any job.

Compared to a PSD or Tiff file, JPEGS are lower quality. You can more or less always tell that a particular image was saved as a JPEG because in areas with strong contrast you can see compression artefacts. The stronger the compression the more JPEG noise or artefacts. Most other file formats (say TIF or PNG) use lossless compression. These files are larger than JPG because they use a fully recoverable (lossless) compression that preserves all of the original image data. These file formats remain full quality at all times, no matter how many times they are save them to a file.

JPEG compression algorithm changes image data while converting it. Amount of change can be controlled, but not its location which is noticeable around sharp colour changes and across gradient areas.  JPEG FILES WORK BY THROWING AWAY DATA. THIS DATA CANNOT BE REPLACED – EVER. 

  • JPEG is primarily an RGB format
  •  If you save, then save again the image several times, you’d end up with an unusable image, because every time you save you throw away even more data. Photographers always make the mistake of saving their JPEG file again, thus giving the end user an inferior file to their own original.
  • The name “JPEG” stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group, the name of the committee that created the JPEG standard and  other still picture coding standards.
YOU CANNOT TAKE A JPEG IMAGE FROM THE WEB AND ENLARGE IT FOR PRINT WITH ANY QUALITY.

TIFF general info

  • TIFF is best file format for printing
  •  It’s perfectly natural for a TIFF file to save image data in CMYK colour space which is used in press.
  • TIFF can also compress image data but uses such an algorithm that doesn’t change source data (lossless compression).
  • TIFF format also supports alpha channel (transparency).
  • If you’d be opening and saving the same TIFF file, you’ll end up with exactly the same image as source. Nothing would change in terms of image data.

Summery

There is nothing inherently wrong with a JPEG file if you know what you are doing. But when it comes to your print workflow RAW and PSD  files are far superior, unlike 20 years ago when disk space was at a premium today, there is no excuse in compressing files. Terrabyte storing and large format transfer means that 300mb files are common place.

Digiprint recommend that your master file should be 400dpi at 100% RGB minimum. Covert to CMYK if you need. If your understand ICC profiling then add this, if not, switch all colour profiling off.

If you want your images to stay as true to original as possible save with PSD or CR3 file format. This PSD file format can be used in InDesign CC, and Quark with no problems. If you prefer a Tiff file format that also is fine and our preference. However DO NOT SAVE WITH LZW COMPRESSION these files will often give unexpected print results – you have been warned.

Images for print

  • Save as PSD or Tiff with no compression
  • CMYK as colour mode.
  • A minimum of 350dpi at 100%
  • If you wish too use colour settings these should be with set to nothing or FOGRA 39.

Images for web

  • Images  Jpeg
  • Recommended 72dpi
  • Switch colour settings off
  • Logos and other graphics we recommend the PNG file format

Images for large format

  • RGB or CMYK*
  • Images PSD or Tiff or EPS
  • Recommended 300dpi at 25% minimum
  • Switch colour settings off 

Tips

  • Ensure that your photograph is taken at the highest resolution possible and save at 400dpi. Why this high?, Rule of thumb is twice thy dpi to the lpi. 300dpi is suitable for presses that run screen of 150lpi. These days most good printers use 200 line screen which need a higher resolution  – hence 4oodpi.
  • All photography should be taken and supplied as RAW files. Note Photoshop will open these as 8bit files only, you have to tell it to open at 16bit.
  • The advantages of 16 bit files are clear to see. Better gradients, better shadow areas, more control and a dam sight quicker to put a clipping path around an image.
  • Insist that your Photographer supplies RAW files only.

* Note printing RGB images on large format printers offer a far larger colour range than CMYK  – for instance our Epson run 11 colours, it can Pantone match and print RGB images.

What is Spot colour?2014-01-27T13:16:50+00:00

Spot colour and its uses

In litho or offset printing, a spot colour is any color generated by an specified ink that is printed using a single print run.

In the full colour printing process the basic printing colours are CMYK. Those four colours will print to offer virtually every colour you can see, but not all. The CMYK process is not perfect, it is flawed. It cannot reproduce all the colours from your computer screen – some of these colours may fall outside the ‘gamut range’. Certain other colour are difficult to reproduce.

If you specify a Pantone colour in your design it will offer a CMYK breakdown. You would notice from the swatch that the Spot colour is different from the CMYK. This is the flaw.

If your this is critical, it is a brand colour perhaps,  you could specify a Spot colour in the printing process. An addition fifth plate is added during the printing process which when printed is exactly the same of the Spot colour on the Pantone swatch.

You are not limited to one, it is possible to add a sixth, or seventh.

When making a multi-color print with a spot color process, every spot color needs its own lithographic film. All the areas of the same spot color are printed using the same film, hence, using the same lithographic plate. The dot gain, hence the screen angle and line frequency, of a spot color vary according to its intended purpose.

Spot lamination and UV coatings

Spot lamination and UV coatings are also referred to as ‘spot colors’, as they share the characteristics of requiring a separate lithographic film and print run.

Hexachromatic process

The widespread offset-printing process is composed of four spot colors: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key (black) commonly referred to as CMYK. More advanced processes involve the use of six spot colors (hexachromatic process), which add Orange and Green to the process (termed CMYKOG). The two additional spot colors are added to compensate for the ineffective reproduction of faint tints using CMYK colors only. However, offset technicians around the world use the term spot color to mean any color generated by a non-standard offset ink; such as metallic, fluorescent, spot varnish, or custom hand-mixed inks.

 

  • Pantone, has been dominant spot color printing system since time began.
  • Toyo and DIC  are common spot color system in Japan.
  • FOCOTONE
  • Trumatch
  • RAL (color space system) is a color matching system used in Europe. The so-called RAL CLASSIC system is mainly used for varnish and powder coating.

 

What is the difference between UV Varnishing, varnishing and laminating?2016-11-15T21:01:33+00:00

What is the difference between UV Varnishing, varnishing and laminating?

Clients often become confused with the various finishes that can be applied to printing materials. Not knowing the right one can cause problems so its important that when ordering that you tell your printer exactly what you require.

So, what is the difference between UV Varnishing, varnishing and laminating? There are several kinds of varnish that can be applied to printing, but all share some common characteristics. Here are a a few basic pointers.

  • A varnish increases colour absorption
  • They speed up the drying process.
  • The varnish helps to prevent the ink from rubbing off when the paper is subjected to handling.
  • Varnishes are used most frequently and succesfully on coated papers.
  • Laminates are best for protection

Machine Sealing

A machine seal is a basic, and virtually invisible coating applied as part of the printing process or offline after the project leaves the press. It does not affect the appearance of the job, but as it seals the ink under a protective coat, the printer need not wait so long for the job to be dry enough to handle. It is often used when producing fast turnaround printing such as leaflets on matt and satin papers, as inks dry more slowly on these materials.  Different coatings are available in different finishes, tints, textures and thicknesses, which may be used to adjust the level of protection or achieve different visual effects. Areas that are heavily covered with black ink or other dark colours often receive a protective coating to guard against fingerprints, which stand out against a dark background. Coatings are also used on magazine and report covers and on other publications that are subject to rough or frequent handling.

Liquid coatings are by far the most common way to protect print publications. They provide light to medium protection at a relatively low cost. Three major types of coatings are used:

Varnish

A varnish is a liquid coating applied to a printed surface. It is also referred to as coating or sealing. It is noramlly used to prevent rubbing or scuffing and ofteen used on coated stock. Varnish or print varnish is a clear coating that can be processed like an ink in (offset) presses. It has a similar composition to ink, but lacks any color pigment There are two forms

  • Varnish: A clear liquid applied to printed surfaces for looks and protection.
  • UV coating: Liquid laminate bonded and cured with ultraviolet light. Environmentally friendly.

Ultraviolet light. It can be a gloss or a matt coating. It can be used as a spot covering to accent a particular image on the sheet or as an overall flood coating. UV coating gives more protection and sheen than either varnish or aqueous coating. Since it is cured with light and not heat, no solvents enter the atmosphere. However, it is more difficult to recycle than the other coatings. UV coating is applied as a separate finishing operation as a flood coating or (applied by screen printing) as a spot coating. Keep in mind that this thick coating may crack when scored or folded.

Varnish coating are available in gloss, satin or matt finishes, with or without tints. Varnishes offer a relatively low degree of protection compared to other coatings and laminates, but they are used widely, thanks to their low cost, flexibility and ease of application. Varnishes are applied just like an ink, using one of the units on the press. Varnish can either be flooded across the entire sheet or spot applied precisely where desired, to add extra gloss to photos, for example, or to protect black backgrounds. Although varnishes must be handled carefully to prevent the release of harmful volatile organic compounds into the atmosphere, when dry they are odorless and inert.

Aqueous coating

Aqueous coating is more environmentally friendly than UV coating because it is water based. It has better hold-out than varnish (it does not seep into the press sheet) and does not crack or scuff easily. Aqueous does, however, cost twice as much as varnish. Since it is applied by an aqueous coating tower at the delivery end of the press, one can only lay down a flood aqueous coating, not a localized “spot” aqueous coating. Aqueous comes in gloss, dull, and satin. Like varnishes, aqueous coatings are applied inline on press, but they are shinier and smoother than varnish, have higher abrasion and rub resistance, are less likely to yellow and are more environmentally friendly. Aqueous coatings dry faster than varnishes too, which means faster turnaround times on the press.

Available in gloss or matt finishes, water based coatings offer other advantages as well. Because they seal the ink from the air, they can help prevent metallic inks from tarnishing. Specially formulated aqueous coatings can be written on with a number two pencil, or overprinted using a laser jet printer, a key consideration in mass mail projects.

Aqueous coatings and UV coatings as well are also susceptible to chemical burning. In a very small percentage of projects, for reasons not fully understood, certain reds, blues and yellows, such as reflex blue, rhodamine violet and purple and pms warm red, have been known to change color, bleed or burn out. Heat, exposure to light, and the passage of time can all contribute to the problem of these fugitive colors, which may change at any point from immediately after the job leaves the press to months or years later. Light tints of colors, made using a 25% screen or less, are especially prone to burning.

To help combat the problem, ink companies now offer more stable, substitute inks that are close in color to ones that tend to burn, and these inks are often used to print light tints or bright colors. Even so, burning can still occur and dramatically affect the look of the project.

Laminate

Laminate is a thin transparent plastic sheet or coating that is usually applied to covers, post cards, etc. providing protection against liquid and heavy use, and usually accents existing colour, giving a high gloss effect. Laminates come in two types: film and liquid, and can have a gloss or matt finish. As their name suggests, in one case a clear plastic film is laid down over the sheet of paper, and in the other case a clear liquid is spread over the sheet and dries (or cures) like a varnish. Laminates protect the sheet from water and are therefore good for coating items like menus and book covers. Laminates are slow to apply and costly but provide a strong, washable surface. They are the superior choice for protecting covers.

Which varnish is right for your job?

Laminates offer the greatest protection and are unbeatable in a variety of applications, from maps to the menus, business cards to magazines. But with their greater weight, time, complexity and expense, laminates are typically not suited for projects with extremely large press runs, limited life spans or short deadlines. If laminates are used, there may be more than one way to achieve the desired results. Combining a laminate with a heavier paper stock produces a thicker finish at a lower cost.

If you can’t decide, remember that the two types of finishes can be used together. A spot matte UV coating, for example, could be applied over a gloss laminate. If the project will be laminated, make sure to factor in additional time and often, additional weight if mailing.

How to use coated paper

No matter what coating you use, the results will look always look better on coated paper. This is because of the the hard, nonporous surface of the stock holds the liquid coating or film on the top of the paper, without allowing it to run into in to the surface of uncoated stocks. This superior holdout helps ensure that the protective finish will go on smoothly. The smoother the surface, the better the quality.

Taking care of your graphic panels2019-01-04T23:04:58+00:00

Taking care of your graphic panels

Great tips of how to look after your printed graphic panels

Taking care of your graphic panels | Pop ups

  • Always roll up with the printed image on the outside. If you don’t the laminated and printed layers could split apart causing ‘bubbles’ or the lamination to split
  • This is extremely important for Pop-up panels with magnetic tape fitted to the reverse. Rolling them up incorrectly with the image on the inside will stretch the mag tape and header and may fall off when unrolled.
  • Always roll popup stand prints individually and place inside each other one by one in the case. Do not try to roll all of them up together at once.
  • Laminated reinforced PVC banners. Rolling them up incorrectly with the image on the inside will stretch the overlaminate causing bubbles and creasing.
  • Do not leave prints rolled up, or in a tube for anything other than short periods of time as they may permanently curl. Leave either flat, hung up on a wall, or very loosely rolled and stood upright.
  • Pop-up carry cases are specifically designed for this so are OK.
  • Always handle carefully and avoid creasing, kinking the prints. This type of damage cannot be repaired.
  • Clean with a little water and washing up liquid, if that fails try with a little lighter fluid or glass cleaner on a soft clean cloth.

Taking care of your graphic panels | Rigid Board Mounted Prints

  • Take extreme care with the edges and corners of mounted prints, especially lightweight foamboard as it damages easily.
  • Do not put any pressure on the front of any rigid prints and avoid sharp objects.
  • Please be aware, dents cannot be removed once made.
  • Store flat if possible to avoid bending.

Taking care of your graphic panels | All Prints

  • Roll up in direction of curl, normally with the image on inside.
  • Protect your investment with tube or box.
  • Do not leave prints rolled up, or in a tube for anything other than short periods of time as they may permanently curl. Leave either flat, hung up on a wall, or very loosely rolled and stood upright.
  • Avoid any exposure to moisture, especially at the edges of the prints unless they are encapsulated and sealed. We can produce weather resistant prints using special inks and materials if required.
  • Finger marks on the front can be removed with a little lighter fluid or glass cleaner on a soft clean cloth, but avoid anything which may scratch the surface – this only applies to gloss or matt laminated prints.

Taking care of your graphic panels | Cases

  • Do not use abrasive cleaner on the surface, scuff marks should only be cleaned off with a little water and washing up liquid.
  • A high vacuum will tidy up the inside. Any stains should be carefully remove with soapy water and allowed to fully dry before closing the case.
Hits v Visits2019-01-04T08:18:50+00:00

Hits v Vists

The difference between hits and visits. We explain here what is the difference between hits and visits.

Many company owners boost of the number of ‘hits’ they have received. It is often quoted as this is the largest number in the stats they read. Unfortunely it is also the most inaccurate and misleading. We explain here what is the difference between hits and visits.

Web states are a imprecise science that have many factors that affect the real numbers. Real numbers are extremely difficult to pin down. No two analitic devices will ever give the same conclusion on the same web site. So just what is the difference between a Hit and a Visit?

A “hit” is not a visitor to the web site, but a hit on the web server. A hit on the web server includes all the graphics on that page – pictures, java applet, the html file, etc. So, if a site has 30 small graphics on the page,

every visit to the site registers as 31 hits on the server (30 graphics plus the html file). As you can see this every visit will give you 31 hits, 2 visits 62 hits etc.

The number of hits to a web site is therefore irrelevant and to some extent pointless. What we need to know are the number of visitors to our site. More importantly we want to know are the number of unique visitors. This information is far more useful. Knowing how many people have visited, how many pages they looked at, start- and end-pages of each visit can be especially interesting because they emphasise what the visitors were looking for and what they did or did not find. Knowing where visitors spend their time on your site can help you improve the effectiveness of content or advertising or can indicate problems.

Hits v Visits

Visits

Visits represent the number of times your website had someone access it. Visits are independent of the actual number of pages viewed, the length of time the person stayed on your site, and does NOT represent the total number of unique visitors.

Hits

This number, often used by companies to tout the popularity of their website, represents the number of ‘requests’ for web page elements your website fulfilled and is not a true representation of how popular your web site is.

Unique visitors

Sometimes called visit by cookie. Unique visitors refers to the number of distinct individuals requesting pages from the website during a given period, regardless of how often they visit. The website can track this as unique by the IP address of the computer. The number of unique visits will be far less that visits because a unique visit is only tracked if cookies are enabled on the visitors computer

Viewed per visit

This is also called Impression. Shows how sticky/interesting your website is. Each time a visitor views a page, this number is increased. Its important to note that this number is not limited only to unique visitors, but by all visits – including return visitors.

There may be better ways to measure web site performance. Using Cookies and other technology you give a more accurate figures. Possibly can also try subscriptions to your newsletter, number of signs up, number of sales, or bookmarks, number of emails you receive from the site or the number of guest book sign ups – problem is collation.

It is also very impotent to remember that not every page view is an actual read by a human being. Most page hits are from search engine spiders, email harvesters, page change checkers, and other automated services. These also add to the distortion.

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What is bleed?2019-07-24T22:43:46+00:00

What is bleed in the print process?

Bleed is a print term that refers to that part of the printing process that goes beyond the edge of the image area before trimming. In other words, it is the area to be trimmed off. The bleed is the part on each side of a document that gives the printer a small amount of space to account for movement of the paper, and design inconsistencies. Images, artwork and background colors can extend into this area. After trimming, it ensures that no unprinted edges occur in the final trimmed document.

There are 3 sizes to any job.

The image size – this is the finished size of your job.

Print area – this is the area in which it is safe to go up to from the edge – generally a minimum 3mm smaller than image size on all sides. We recomend 4mm on business cards and 10mm on flyers.

Bleed size – this is the area in which the background ‘bleeds’ past the image size – generally 2/3mm larger than image size. 5mm on large format.

IT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT TO ADD BLEED – WE CANNOT PRINT YOUR JOB WITHOUT IT

Bleed in large format printing

There are many web sites claiming that large format printing does not require bleed. As with all printing it is highly recommended that bleed and crop marks are applied to all single page documents. The exception is brochures and magazines where different rules apply. See below.

On posters up to A0 we recommend your PDF or artwork is supplied with  2/3mm bleed with crop marks.

On roller banners, banners and pop ups we recommend 5mm bleed with crop marks.

Bleed in Magazines and Brochures

Printing from an application. 3mm bleed needs to be applied to outer sides of the spread ON ALL PAGES.

Printing from PDF. 3mm bleed. Supply as single pages without crop marks.

Creep in Magazines and Brochures

When you fold multiple pages the outer sheets fall short of the centre pages. This is referred to as creep. We recommend that you do not bother with creep on anything less 48pp. 3mm  bleed with naturally cover this. Anything over this when suppling PDFs you may wish to compensate. Both InDesign and Quark allow for this