Printing and Purchasing

Posts tagged ‘planning’

Distractions

Distractions in design come in many forms. One form can be the quality or lack thereof in the printing process. The following photo illustrates one form of distraction because the page crossover doesn’t align. This can be caused from design files that are not properly prepared, layout, trimming, or folding. See the following example.

Cross overs

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Quality in Printing

Some people state we all want quality, but is that statement really accurate? How does an individual determine what is quality? If there isn’t a standard or set of project specifications can there be quality? Wikipedia states “Quality assurance, methodology of assuring conformance to specifications”. When one printed sheet or brochure is viewed by itself, it may be visually and mechanically acceptable but we can’t call it a quality printing project. To determine if a printed piece is quality we must view several printed pieces together to see how they compare to each other and to the standard or specifications [proof or original art].

As I review printing in my travels I am not seeing many quality printing projects. I don’t need the standard or proof for comparison either because I view several brochures together and they do not conform to each other. (read my blog “Print Quality”) If I am viewing non-conforming printing in the marketplace, why are print buyers accepting these projects? Why are so many in the printing industry producing non-conforming work? Is the answer because they don’t know what quality printing is? Or is it because they do not know how to produce quality?

I believe part of the reason for non-conforming printing is because some, not all, do not know the fundamentals of printing, because they were never taught. For a student to learn the fundamentals of printing, the teacher or mentor must be knowledgeable and experienced in the trade. Read our previous blog about the importance of the Job Bag a key fundamental in the trade. Individuals will practice what they have been taught, and when they have been taught the fundamentals, quality will improve.

Bleeding Edge: Setting up your print design files

If furnished art doesn’t have the necessary bleeds, the printer may choose one of the following options to compensate for the lack of bleed; e.g. enlarge the image, clone the image, or when trimming to under size the printing.

Dreaming in CMYK

Bleed is something the everyday printer finds themselves explaining on nearly a daily basis. Don’t worry – it’s not a safety issue that needs addressed. It’s a print production issue, and there’s a lot you can do to ensure your document is set up for it.

bleed-01

Bleed refers to the area of a design, including colors, images and design elements, that extend beyond the trim line of any given page. This prevents any undesirable white lines, or margins, from appearing on the edge of your page after cutting.

In the print world, it is very common for us to receive files that do not include this bleed area, but have images or design elements that run right up to the edge of the sheet. By not adding the bleed, your final product may have a small white margin that appears along the edge of the piece due to shifting while…

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Video

Laminating Window Sign

Window sign lamination – Cumberland Farms, proud sponsor of the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc.
How the sign is laminated with overview. Registration Board, Heated Rollers, Double sided adhesive, one side is heat activated, mounted to sheet, cool, tension rollers, Side slitting, encapsulation, cut, jogger, Aggressive adhesive for 2+months [permanent], removable [re-positionable] adhesive less than 2 months

The Key Component of Any Successful Printing Project – The Job Bag

Have you ever had a printing project go wrong? If you have, maybe the project’s job bag was not read or followed, maybe the client changed the specifications after the job was started or the job bag was not completed or updated.

The Job Bag is the repository of all pertinent information concerning the printing project. A job bag may be physical, an envelope that has a printed label or form printed on the outside or electronic which can be viewed on a monitor or printed out. Every job bag has an identifying number which makes it unique from all other jobs and links the physical envelope with the electronic job bag file.

Job Bags have many components. The following are several main or key components:
• Customer information
• Delivery information
• Dates
• History
• Quantity
• Size[s]
• Substrate[s]
• Press
• Bindery
• Dummy
• Proof
• Special Information

The information provided in the job bag should provide production workers with all the necessary information to produce the customer’s project successfully. Calls or questions concerning a project are usually the result of incomplete or unclear instructions.

Recently, I was in a print shop and they were working on a print project with many components. The head of the press department provided an overview of the project. When asked to provide the job bag, however, it couldn’t be provided. When a job bag cannot be found, workers can’t review job specifics and department heads do not have the pertinent information or materials to verify production work results and provide sign-off or corrective action.

Print buyers, when touring a printing company, should look for a project’s corresponding job bag. 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 biggest issues in a printing plant is project changes that never made it to the job bag or proofs.

Why Companies should update their Client Addresses after Mailings.

Last week at the Post Office, a customer was picking up a package.  The customer’s comments to the Post Office Representative, illustrated bewilderment as to why the vendor had delivered their order/package to the wrong address since the vendor’s monthly mailings were delivered to their home.

Assuming the vendor is using the same address file to ship the product as to send monthly mailings, there are several possible reasons the product went to the wrong address. 1] The buyer has not requested the updated NCOA information from the mailer, 2] the buyer isn’t forwarding the updated NCOA information, or 3] the updated information isn’t being applied to their client database.

When preparing an address list for mailing, mailers compare the address file to the National Change of Address [NCOA][i]. The NCOA file is updated when people or businesses notify the Post Office they are moving by completing a change of address form[ii]. The results of the NCOA comparison is two lists; A] updated addresses and B] addresses with issues, also called bad addresses. The mailer should provide the customer a list of bad addresses along with the code description[iii] explaining why the addresses are bad. It is up to the customer to decide to mail, delete or update the bad addresses. The client can pay the mailer to research the bad address or they can use verification websites like “Search Bug” and “Melissa Data”[iv].

When ordering a mailing, buyers should request the mailer provide them the NOCA corrected addresses file. The corrected and bad address lists should be forwarded to the department responsible for managing client addresses. The customer, in my example, filed a change of address with the Post Office but neglected to provide the same information to the vendor. If customers would request the updated addresses from mailers, and update their client’s addresses, the package would have been delivered to the client current address.

Please e-mail your questions, comments, or send PDF’s of printing and mailing issues to printer1@charter.net.

Thank you for your time.

Why Information Stickers are Important

On a recent Linked In poll, 23.8% of participants voted they did not receive or place information stickers on proofs. In an age of ISO and process improvement, printers providing proofs without information stickers 1 out of 4 times is unsettling. Information stickers assist the production process by minimizing rework caused by incorrect job specifications.

Information stickers, called proof stickers, contain important job information to the client/customer and printing plant. Information stickers are attached to physical proof. The stickers contain the printers name, job number, quantity, substrate [brand name, weight, finish, paper, styrene, etc], ink [PMS, Process, etc.], banding, wrapping, packing and delivery information. Information stickers also provide an area for the client/customer’s signature, confirming the proofs and information are correct or need to be changed.

With physical proofs, finishing is represented by actually performing the function on the proof. For example, if the job is 3-hole punched, the proof is 3-hole punched. This allows the customer to verify no copy will be compromised from the finishing.  The size of the punch should be noted too.  The same should be done with folding, [key folds], stitching, spiral wire, wire-o, GBC comb, etc.

When proofs are digital, such as PDF, finishing descriptions are needed.

Printers create a job bag, physical or electronic, for each new job which includes all pertinent information. A proof, either electronic or physical, is sent to the client/customer for copy/content approval. The information sticker provides job identification for the proof and a means for the printer to confirm the job specifications are correct.

During the press make-ready, the press operator should have the job bag and the proof/information sticker. When the press operator observes the job bag and proof information don’t match, the job is stopped until the conflict of information is rectified.

Many jobs during the production process have specifications which change. These changes can be quantity, substrate [weight, name, finish, etc], delivery, packing, etc. When press operator reviews the job bag along with proofs, insures the printed job will match the clients specifications.

Please e-mail your questions, PDF’s of printing issues or comments to printer1@charter.net.

Thank you for your time.

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