Tuesday, 30 October 2012

What is design for print: Commercial printing

I have began my research by looking into the different aspects of commercial printing, i have highlighted whats relevant and what i believe will be useful facts for my future info pack.

Paper choice

The type of paper you choose to print your project on has a number of key terms: brightness, weight, and coating. Each of them describe different aspects of the paper and will help you decide what kind of paper you should use for your specific project. Choosing the proper paper can be a daunting task if you’re really serious about what you’re printing. Here’s a bit of information to help you make the decision:

In the world of commercial printing, “brightness” refers to how much light is reflected off of the paper. Brightness values range on a scale from 0-100, 100 being the brightest. The important thing to remember is that the brightness mainly affects the vibrancy of your colors. And DO NOT confuse brightness with whiteness. Whiteness refers to the shade (cream, beige, gray) of the paper and has little or nothing to do with the brightness. So just ask yourself – how bright do I want my colors to be?

The weight of paper is based on how much 500 sheets of paper weighs in pounds. If 500 sheets of paper weighs 80 pounds, then the paper would be referred to as 80# paper. Even though this may seem quite precise, it’s still not an exact science. You’ll still need to treat weight as a rough estimate until you are able to actually examine the paper yourself. For example, 80# paper is a pretty standard paper for flyers or brochures. But just because that’s the standard, it might not be right for your project. Be sure and ask your printer and by all means – ask for paper samples.

Coating or coated paper refers to a film that is put on the paper that improves or negates how light reflects off the paper. The coating can be applied either on both sides or only on one side of the paper. A very common type of coating is gloss, or glossy paper. It’s used for pictures and any other graphics that you really want to stand out. A matte coating will do the opposite – it will make the image more dull and stand out less.
Now that you’ve got a better idea of brightness, weight and coating, you should be a little better equipped to deal with the commercial printing today.

Basics about commercial printing
Going from the do-it-yourself ink jet printing process to the commercial printing process can be quite an intimidating experience and quite a challenge if you’re not prepared. You’re probably comfortable with the equipment you’ve been using, and can even get pretty good results from it. But now it’s time to turn your work over to the professionals.
The printing industry has a language of its own, with its own lingo. This short guide will help you with the basics and hopefully make the transition a little easier:


RGB stands for the colours red, green, and blue. This is a reference to the primary colours of light. Computer monitors, TV screens and projectors display images in RGB colour mode.
CMYK stands for the colours cyan, magenta, yellow, and black (K). This is a reference to the primary colours of pigment or ink. Most of the time, when something is printed professionally, it is probably printed in CMYK colour mode.
An important fact to remember is that these two formats are NOT compatible with each other. In order to go from your computer monitor to paper, or vice versa, the original colour mode must be converted to the other.

Here is a useful colour theory chart i came across, it's effective and easy to remember. It describes all the terms of colour to do with RGB and CMYK. 

image source: www.pixelsham.com

Image Resolution
This is a term you’re probably familiar with. Image resolution is how many dots per inch make up an image, whether on your monitor or on paper. Both computer displays and printers display or create images by reproducing colours one tiny dot at a time. These are pixels on your monitor, or dots on a printed piece. Computers display images at around 72 dots per inch (dpi), while professionally created prints are produced at much higher quality, at 300 dpi or greater.
Why is this important to remember? Because you could not take a small image off the internet, enlarge it on your computer, and attempt to print it. You’d end up with a very fuzzy and distorted image that lacked any sense of clarity. For the best results, you’d want to prepare your file at an original colour depth of 300 dpi. You probably don’t need to go any higher than 300 dpi, and if you can avoid it, you shouldn’t go any lower than 150 dpi.

A bleed is the area around the edges of your page that will probably be cut off. Why might you want to include a bleed? If you want your pictures or graphics to go all the way to the edge of the paper, you’re going to need a bleed. There’s probably no company out there that can cut each paper exactly right every time. So you’ll want to include about a 1/8” to 1/4″ bleed around the edges. Ensure that no important or relevant text or graphics is included in this area. Before “going to press,” you’ll probably want to ask your printing company how much bleed would be acceptable.
There’s a lot more to learn in the world of commercial printing, but these printing basics should give you a pretty good start.

Commercial printing process 
Take a moment to think of all the printed materials you encounter every day. The list could be extensive: billboards, brochures, direct mailers, business cards, flyers, etc. These printed materials come in all different sizes, thicknesses, colours, and all types of creative designs. But how did all of these things come about? How did they go from an idea, to a design, to the final product? You’ll find out below.
The fairly new concept of commercial printing is the process of going from artwork to a piece of paper or card stock. Most companies today use a form of offset printing that transfers to paper four separate colours to make the final colour image. These colours are cyan, magenta, yellow, and black; also known in the industry as CMYK.
So what is the definition of commercial printing? The overall process of printing is actually quite simply and it hasn’t changed much over the last 100 years. It begins with aluminum plates that are created (pressed out) from the artwork. Most of the time there is one plate for each of the four CMYK colours. Each plate is then wrapped around large cylinders that allow the ink to fill up the cut or pressed out shape of the aluminum plate. Ink is then poured into the cutout and then transferred to a rubber roller. This roller is called the blanket cylinder, which is used to let the paper roll within to retrieve the right level of ink. And finally, the impression cylinder is a roller that pushes the paper along the process at around 10,000 sheets per hours to absorb the necessary amount of ink. There are four presses – one for each of the four colours. As the paper moves along each press, it retrieves one colour at a time and eventually ends up in a heated area, where the paper can dry before printing on the back side.
To sum up the process, commercial printing involves determining the proper levels of water and ink for each colour. The aluminum plate determines how much ink the paper can absorb, and the rollers press the image onto the paper, one at a time.
Commercial printing has many advantages over standard desktop printing. It can create professional and outstanding results that many people can use and enjoy. Many, if not most, companies utilize this form of professional printing. The key, however, is to ask your printer the right questions and understand how their process works. Chances are, CMYK offset commercial printing will be the best method for you to print amazing marketing materials.

Printed materials

In a day of digital TV and satellite, the internet, and radio, can printed media still be an effective form of advertising today? Absolutely! The importance of printed materials cannot be underestimated. Printed advertising is still one of the most effective forms of advertising available.
The fact is, when a person sees a printed ad in the newspaper or in a magazine, he or she reads it and it registers and produces much better results than any other type of ad. The same goes with other printed materials like brochures or flyers. What a person sees on a flyer is more likely to register than an ad he or she runs across on the internet. It’s important to remember that the goal of advertising is to produce actual results in a cost-effective manner.
This is where the benefits of commercial printing come into play in your business. TV, radio, internet ads may reach more people, but they’re also MUCH more expensive to produce. And even though people see them, they just don’t register as well as printed media does. Printed advertising tends to hold people’s attention far better.
All companies know how important a continuous marketing program is, and printed media and advertising should be a major part of it. Sure, it’s easy and relatively cheap to run a small ad in the newspaper or on the internet once in a while, but the fact is that it’s not going to produce the results that you’d get from having a beautiful custom-printed insert ad in the same newspaper. Even better is a well-designed and functional brochure that people can take home with them.
One of the biggest problems with so many types of advertising, like in the newspaper or on the internet, is that people have become so accustomed to seeing them that now they simply pass right over them. But with custom printed media, they have to look at it and hold it for a bit to at least figure out what it’s for. They might even read it a bit, even if they plan on throwing it in the garbage can. However, during that short amount of time it’s going to subconsciously register in their minds and have a certain measurable effect. Even a small effect is better than nothing at all.
Commercially printed materials are incredibly important, especially today in a world of digital media. Don’t underestimate the importance of still utilizing printed advertising materials.
Text source:http://www.commercialprintinghelp.com

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