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.
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.
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 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…
Harvesting a Massachusetts cranberry bog in October, 2013. These berries will go to Ocean Spray who controls 80% [approx.] of the cranberry market. Check out the other cranberry harvesting and question & answer videos at https://www.youtube.com/user/Printer1One
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
Procurement hierarchy based on Maslow’s Theory, starting with basic business needs [providing goods and services on time, with quality, and at a competitive cost], risk minimization [have backup plan so product or service isn’t disrupted when catastrophe occurs], value / stakeholder satisfaction [elimination of waste, increasing profit, minimal supplier issues], breakthrough innovations [streamline of design workflow allowing new products to market sooner], key relationships [win-win, ideal supplier relationship], based on Maslow’s Theory. Let us know your thoughts.
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  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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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