Join Claudia McCue for an in-depth discussion in this video Choosing the correct type of printing for your project, part of Print Production Fundamentals.
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As you start to brainstorm your next print project, be thinking about the appropriate printing method for the project. So that you can design for the printing process, and remember your favorite contact at the printing company can help you make this decision. It's helpful if you know the capabilities of the popular printing processes. Offset printing of course is the most popular most widely used printing processes. And that applies to both sheet-fed presses and web presses. Sheet-fed presses can produce products like product manuals, pocket folders they can create very high quality work.
web presses are high quality as well but they're for longer run such as publications or textbooks. Both processes can provide in-line finishing, you see that more commonly on web presses. Both types of printing press support more than four colors and they may allow the addition of spot varnishes and aqueous coatings, which can enhance the appearance and the value of your final printed piece. Letterpress is an old process it's really essentially the same process that was used by Gutenberg in his original Bible.
So because it's time honored it can create elegant results, there's a depth in character because there's pressure as the ink is applied to paper. It's great if you use heavy and sometimes exotic stocks. When would you use letterpress? When you're creating invitations or announcements or business cards or even just an art piece that you want to use to showcase the depth and the character of Letterpress. If you're creating a project that will require low numbers of pieces such as Excel sheets or perhaps postcards, business cards or event announcements, your jobs are good candidate for digital printing. While most digital presses are limited to four color process.
Their pigments often allow the rendering of wider gamut than offset presses. Some digital presses even offer in-line binding, and if you're considering exploring the world of customize one-to-one marketing your solution is digital printing with variable data components. Now the price per piece might be a bit higher because of data management, such as buying and cleansing and mailing list. It's been proven that the response rate for one-on-one mailings is substantially higher than for conventional generic mailings. So it's worth the extra effort and cost. If you're designing for irregular surfaces such as bottles, pens, sports equipment or textiles your job may be a candidate for silk screening it's not just for t-shirts, if you think that, you're missing out on some interesting possibilities.
Screen printing isn't limited to flat surfaces and simple imagery. Modern photosensitive resists and fine screen materials make it possible to screen photographic content and fine typography onto a variety of surfaces including metal and plastic and wood. If you're involved in the creation of flexible packaging for products such as pet food, fertilizer, ingredient, snack foods, flexography is the solution. Flexible rubber plates of flexography-- and that's why it's called flexography-- make it possible to print on thin metalized stock, heavy paper and bag material that couldn't be handled by offset presses.
Once you learn the strengths and the advantages as well as limitations of the wide variety of printing processes, you are better prepared to determine the path your job should take. And you may find that the particular capabilities of one of these processes can inform and possibly inspire your design.
lynda.com thanks the BurdgeCooper and Lithographix printing companies for access to their facilities and permission to film on site. Learn more at www.burdgecooper.com and www.lithographix.com.
- Understanding the importance of contact proofs
- Handling corrections and alterations
- Choosing from offset, letterpress, thermographic, or digital printing options
- Understanding how the inks, colors, and paper interact
- Building a document at the correct size
- Folding and trimming
- Choosing fonts
- Working in Illustrator with swatches, effects, and more
- Laying out a document in InDesign
- Generating a final PDF
- Troubleshooting print issues
- Preflighting your print job in Acrobat
- Submitting files to the printer