Printing and Purchasing

Archive for the ‘Printing’ Category

Design

Today everyone can be a designer. No longer do you need to go to design school and purchase expensive equipment. Today you can purchase software for your personal computer. Whether using Word, PageMaker, InDesign, Publisher or one of the other software options, everyone can design their own forms or brochures.

I reviewed one of these brochures the other day, and the design principles I learned from Rochester Institute of Technology [RIT] School of Printing came to mind. Design should be prepared in a way that allows readers to receive the message of the author or the purpose of the advertisement. The design should create an atmosphere that enhances the message, not distract the reader nor should it dominate the message.

There are many ways to distract the reader from the message. Images are used many times in a design, for good reason. We all have read the quote by Napoleon Bonaparte “A picture is worth a thousand words“. When images are sized, however, some designers distort their images to make them fit the design. I believe this shouldn’t be done, for example, if an image is the correct height but not the width. When a designer elongates the image to fit the space, people in the image will look short and exceptionally fat. This distortion will distract the reader from the author’s message. Whether reading a book or sales flyer the design/images are to support the author’s message not distract from it.

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Print Quality

Do print buyers care about print quality? As I look at printing in the marketplace it gets me wondering if print buyers care about quality. I am not talking about the minor variations found in the normal production tolerances of equipment, but excessive variations as the following images show.

These two photos illustrate extreme variation or poor printing. These brochures came from one CVS store display rack. The main issues were folding, color, and cracking. The sources of these issues are:

CVS1 CVS2

  • Cracking can be caused by not scoring the substrate and laying the brochure on the form with the folds going against the grain of the substrate.
  • Folding issues can be caused by many problems such as: Out of register backups, substrate bouncing during the press run, poor trimming, and folder not setup properly.
  • Color inconstancy can be caused by fluctuating ink densities, water and ink imbalance, press not calibrated. To minimize color variation some printers print a PMS ink instead of process builds, however the gray appears to be a PMS and it was inconsistent too. This press appears to be out of control.

There are three key results purchasing looks for, Price, Delivery and Quality. Quality printers will deliver on time and provide competitive pricing because they have minimized waste caused by poor quality. Hopefully this buyer received a great price because this wasn’t a quality printing project.

Is your printing inconsistent? Share your story.

Video

Pastry Magnets printing on a Vutek Wide Format Press

Roll to roll inkjet printing on magnet material, solvent to UV, wide format. Printing six images [individual magnets] across the roll of substrate.

Now that you have seen how the magnet is printed, come in and try Cumberland Farms fall special Pumpkin Yogurt Muffin. Click the following link to find a store near you.  http://cumberlandfarms.com/FindaStore/default.aspx?zip=Zip

How to Ensure all Printers Print your Color Consistently!

When multiple printers are required to produce your printing, are they all producing the same look or color? If your corporate color isn’t consistent, consider the following;

  • Content/Asset library: Maintain a single source library where all images are stored. These images have the latest corrections. This is critical since many times the client uses an image and during the proofing process requests corrections. The master content library should be updated with the corrected image, when approved.
  • Profile press: Confirm that each printer periodically is verifying/adjusting their proofs to represent what each press will reproduce.
  • Color Proofs: Review hard proofs in a viewing booth with original art. Only review soft proofs on a calibrated [daily] monitor. Before utilizing soft proofs, have each printer verify their profiled presses/hard proofs are verified on the customers soft proof monitor. When viewing soft proofs use original art when available. Concerns using soft proofs include; how will spot varnishes, coatings or other finishing operations be confirmed that they align and trap properly? How will intricate folds be verified and confirm that images align when there are no hard proofs?
  • Viewing Booth: If color is critical, confirm that the viewing booth is correct and lighting is calibrated and at the correct temperature. [It takes 10 to 20 minutes for 5000k lamps to achieve correct temperature]
  • Printers Bars: Request six [6] consecutive full press sheets from each press sign off. Confirm that the press is not slurring, doubling, and the ink density for each color is correct.
  • Original art: Available as a reference when reviewing proofs or press sheets.
  • PMS Books: Confirm age of PMS book. The older and the more a PMS book is utilized the less accurate it becomes because light will denigrate the ink/colors. The other problem with PMS books is they are manufactured and with any process there can be variation between books. If certain PMS colors are important it is best to provide ink drawdowns.
  • Ink Drawdowns: Corporate colors are associated to a PMS color, however many times when ink drawdowns are provided via the printer they need to be adjusted to match the clients color and labeled accordingly, e.g. PMS 123 ABC. To ensure all printers start with the same color, send ink drawdowns, along with wet ink samples, for the substrate being printed.
  • Stock: Have all printers printing on the same substrate. The color of the substrate can change the color being reproduced.
  • Process Builds of PMS: Consistently use the same process builds, since one project may be built using several software programs and each may build PMS colors out of process differently. Your company may also want to adjust the standard tint build to improve the color reproduction.
  • Wet Samples: When ink drawdowns are approved a small container of the ink used for the drawdown is filed for future use. Wet samples don’t deteriorate as quickly as ink drawdowns or PMS books.

If I can assist with any questions, an audit or consulting project, in regards to printing or purchasing, please contact me via e-mail at philip.vantassel@charter.net.

How do You See Color?

Color is everywhere we look today. Whether you are watching television, on your computer, you are outside, or reading printing, color is everywhere. Those in the printing industry know the importance of good color reproduction and the obstacles or limitations faced in that reproduction and the viewing of that reproduction.

“Color or colour (see spelling differences) is the visual perceptual property corresponding in humans to the categories called red, blue, yellow, green and others. Color derives from the spectrum of light (distribution of light power versus wavelength) interacting in the eye with the spectral sensitivities of the light receptors. Color categories and physical specifications of color are also associated with objects, materials, light sources, etc., based on their physical properties such as light absorption, reflection, or emission spectra. By defining a color space, colors can be identified numerically by their coordinates.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color

Some of the obstacles or limitations faced in color reproduction or viewing are:

– Physical limitations

  • Color Blindness
    • Deuteranopia
    • Protanopia
    • Tritanopia

–  Lighting

  • Stray light
  • Glare
  • Light reflections
  • Ambient Light
  • Fluctuation in room Lighting
  • Color temperature

– Equipment or process capabilities

  • LED, LCD
    • Brightness
    • Contrast
    • Color temperature
    • Lithography, digital printers, etc.
      • Pigments

–  Substrates

  • Color
  • Surface

If there are color issues, hopefully the physical limitations of those reviewing color have been tested and reviewed. The following web links illustrate what color-challenged individuals see.

http://colorvisiontesting.com/what%20colorblind%20people%20see.htm

http://io9.com/5867406/what-do-colorblind-people-see

 

Have you taken a color test? Try one or all of the following tests to see if there are any challenges you have seeing color.

 

The Ishihara Color Test for Color Blindness

http://www.colour-blindness.com/colour-blindness-tests/ishihara-colour-test-plates/

 

FM100 Hue Test by X-Rite [Farnsworth Munsell]

http://www.xrite.com/online-color-test-challenge

 

Color Arrangement Test

http://www.colour-blindness.com/colour-blindness-tests/colour-arrangement-test/

The Daltonien Test

http://www.opticien-lentilles.com/daltonien_beta/new_test_daltonien.php

Layouts a Key Element in a Job Bag

Have you ever been on a trip and got lost? If you have, maybe it’s because there was no trip ticket, map or Garmin showing which roads and exits to take. With a printing project there also must be directions to layout, print, and finish the printing project. This direction is provided via the job layout [map]. For every printed component included in the Job Bag there is a layout for each component. Each layout can have one or multiple components.

Layouts have many components. The following are several main or key components:

  • Substrate size
  • Press
  • Gripper
  • Side guide
  • Bleed
  • Gaps
  • Reverse images
  • Take-off bars
  • Folds
  • Grain direction
  • How the sheet is backed up
  • Form number[s]
  • Head direction
  • Items keyed to job bag listing
  • Job number
  • Customer
  • Other

The information provided on the layout should provide production workers with all the necessary information to produce each component of the customer’s project successfully. Calls or questions concerning a form are usually the result of incomplete or inaccurate instructions.

Within the last year, I was in a print shop and they had printed a poster. I didn’t review the layout. However, it was clearly apparent that there was no layout for the project. How can pre-press accept a project without a layout? Without a layout how will the Mac operator know if the image files provide adequate image for bleeds? How will imposition know where and in what direction to place the images in the plate file, or If there are images missing or where to place the crop marks? How will quality assurance verify a press rule-up if there is no layout? The odds are there is no quality assurance in this print shop, or knowledgeable print professionals!

If the layout isn’t complete it is up to the pre-press manager to stop the job or be provided a correct layout. If the pre-press manager is allowing incorrect or incomplete layouts to enter into production, corrective action should be taken. The old adage is true, “you can pay me now or pay me later” [YouTube video Link http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=aq3wL8ZXjBU] and later is always more expensive.

Print buyers, when touring a printing company, should look for a project’s corresponding layout. If you have a project being worked on, ask to see a job bag, and then review it for completeness and accuracy of information. As a print buyer, if at all possible, provide all the information concerning the project when the print order is placed with the print sales representative. During my years in printing, one of the best ways to minimize cost was to insure the layout answered all questions which will minimize added work or extra steps for production.

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno – Part 2

Graphics or Printing is one of my passions. During my career I have been fortunate to have years of education [BS] and a career of diverse positions in the printing industry. One of the major influencers of this passion was the teachers at Roger L. Putnam Vocational Technical High School’s Print Shop. Mr. Chapman, Mr. Clune and Mr. Dodd were influential in my vocation, and secondary education. These teachers cared about printing and their students.

The print shop was important to the city since it supplied the printing needs of the school department as well as the city of Springfield. Work was abundant in the shop and it allowed students to learn the trade in a hands on practical way. The teachers knew the trade. The teachers had diverse backgrounds from being experienced in the industry to being an RIT graduate, which happens to be my alma mater.

This was a great educational experience. The press room was always busy with as many as 7 presses/duplicators running at any given time thus giving the students practical experience. The shop had several hand-fed clam shells, a Heidelberg Windmill, Miele Vertical, AB Dick 350, 360, Multi-Graphics, and a Heidelberg Korg. The press room was run by Mr. Dodd who also worked as a pressman after hours which allowed him to stay current.

A student was able to utilize co-op in their junior year and students who excelled were able to work summers printing the school handbook for the coming year. Some may say most of this is repetitive work, however, when training repetition is important.

Last month I walked into the Graphics Department and I was very pleased. I walked into the pressroom and my senses came alive with the unique smells you experience in an active working pressroom. I experienced students cutting paper, running a large folder [click hyperlink to see video http://youtu.be/Ts_WgflXZRo ], not a desk top, manning the customer service counter and preparing files to print. When talking with the teachers I was aware they loved and knew printing [click hyperlink to see video http://youtu.be/V7SIYiDd484 ]. Seeing the department’s awards wall [click hyperlink to see video http://youtu.be/hFygvg7oer8 ] I was doubly aware the teachers were sharing this knowledge with the students. Unfortunately I wasn’t in Putnam, Springfield’s Vocational High School Graphic Department.

Buck Upson and I toured the Graphic’s Department at Worcester Technical High School, http://portal.techhigh.us/Pages/default.aspx. It reminded me of when I attended vocational school. The shop handles 15,000 to 20,000 print jobs per year. What an experience! Worcester, MA, should be proud!

For Springfield, MA students to have the same experience changes must be made in the Graphics department, which I am working to improve. To do so, I need assistance from parents, union officials, school committee members, Springfield MA city officials, school department members and industry leaders. Will you help? E-mail – philip.vantassel@charter.net

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