PRODUCTION PROCESS : Printing

Printing is a process for reproducing text and images, typically with ink on paper using a printing press.

Printing presses

The type of printing press depends on the number of pages in a report, and quantity to be printed. Larger presses often print 8 pages at once, smaller digital presses may only print 2 at a time, both have advantages and disadvantages. The printer will allocate the project to the most economic way of printing.

Colours

The number of colours to be printed depends on the project.

Some projects are printed with specific colours – it may be a limited colour job (for economy), or perhaps a specific corporate colour needs to be matched for a logo. These specific colours are identified by a numeric Pantone Matching System (PMS). The numbers are part of an international system. The inks come pre-mixed or they may mixed by the printer at the press.

Many projects need to be printed in ‘full colour’ or four colour process – the most common reason is because they include colour photography. In this case, only four printing inks are used: cyan, magenta, yellow and black. These four colours are printed in mixtures of small dots optically mixing to look like full colour.

Press approval

Once the digital proof has been approved, printing plates are made.

Printers ‘make-ready’ by running waste paper through the printing press while they mix the colours needed and achieve the correct colour balance. When they have the colour balance correct it is ready for a press approval.

Designers like to do a press check to ensure that their paper stock is performing as expected, and the colours are clean and vibrant. PMS colours are checked for accuracy.

Press approvals

Say early if you would like to be involved at the press approval so a suitable time can be scheduled.

Note that printers are often working 2 shifts so a press approval could be scheduled anytime between 6am and 11pm - early notification may mean a more accessible time.

Ensure that you have discussed you expectations with your designer so you both understand the type of result you want to acheive.