printing services


You are currently viewing archive for December 2005
Category: Printing Articles
Posted by: Buzz
Printing Terms

Abrasion Resistance- The resistance to scratching or scuffing of a surface of paper.

Accordion Fold
- A type of paper folding in which each fold of a brochure runs in the opposite direction to the previous fold of the brochure creating an accordion affect.

Acetate- A clear or translucent plastic sheet material of a variety of colors used as an overlay usually

Additive Colors- In photographic reproduction the primary colors of red, green, and blue which are mixed to form all other colors. Also known as RGB.

Aerate- This refers to a process whereby air is blown onto paper sheets to separate the sheets.

Agate- Type size of 5 ˝ points

Airbrush- A compressed air tool that dispenses a fine mist of ink; used in illustration and photo retouching software to create effects.

Amberlith- Was used in laying film and stripping. Red-orange acetate used for masking mechanicals when photographing for plates. The Amberlith area appears black to the camera, and prints clear on the resulting film. Not used much anymore.

Anodized Plate- In lithography, a plate manufactured with a barrier of aluminum oxide, which prevents chemical reactions that break down the plate; it provides optimum press performance and can carry very small dot %’s.

Antique Finish- Paper with a rough surface. Toothy feel.

Antiskinning Agent- An antioxidant agent used to prevent inks from skinning over in the can or on press.

Aqueous Coating
- Water soluble coating that protects ink and enables quick handling of piece. Comes in gloss, satin, and dull. Usually done in-line.

Aqueous Plate- Water soluble plate coatings, which are less toxic and less polluting. Enables quick handling of paper and high level of gloss.

Art Work
- Any materials or images that are prepared for graphic reproduction. Can be produced manually or by software.

Art-Lined Envelope- An envelope that is lined with fine paper; can be colored patterned or foiled.

Artwork- All illustrated material, photo and charts etc., that is prepare for reproduction. Can be produced manually or by software.

Author or Customer Alterations (AA, CA’s)- Changes made after the proof stage where a customer is responsible for additional charges.

Back Lining- The fixing of material, either paper or cloth, to the inside of a book before it is bound. Can be colored, textured or finishes.

Back to Back- Printing applied to both side of a sheet of paper.

Backbone- The spine of the binding which connects the front of the book with the back of the book; also called back or spine.

» Read More

Category: Printing Articles
Posted by: Buzz
Bindings for Printed Products

How many different ways can you bind printed products? There are numerous ways you can bind manuals, books, calendars, guides, directories, catalogs, full color brochures and all other printed products. Here are a few very basic guidelines:

Looseleaf-Printed sheets are loose and have holes drilled in them to put in a binder.

Tape Binding-Usually done on demand copy type where it is actually done in line and comes out of the machine finished. This simulates perfect binding but has no grind on the spine and the tape shows.

Side Stistching-Staples go through the front of the paper to the back but are stapled on the side of the sheet.

Saddle Stitching-The pages are stitched by staples through the spine of the book. The pages have to be done in 4 pg increments and there is a limitation to how many pages can be stitched.

Perfect Binding-This is what you usually buy in a book store when you get a soft cover book. It gives you a square spine and the paper is actually ground on the spine and then glued to the cover. This can now be done both conventional and on demand. There are many cousins of perfect binding(layflat,PUR,OTA,smythe sewn, etc.)

Wiro Binding-A wire of loops is inserted through punched holes in the paper in loops. This binding will lay flat.

Spiral Binding-Metal as above but in circles going through punched holes.

Plasticoil Binding-Plastic loops are put through the punched holes.

Case Binding-These are hard bound books like bought in a book staore. These can be smythe sewn, side sewn or adhesive bound.

These are the basic bindings that most printed products will be bound by.

Written by Buzz Tatom

Category: Printing Articles
Posted by: Buzz
Envelope Sizes-People are Always Asking.

Here is a list of common size preconverted envelopes. There are many other sizes that you can get converted that are special sizes but are not considered stock sizes.

Commercial Envelopes
#6 1/4-3.5x6
#6 3/4-3.625x6.5
#7 3/4-3.825x7.5

Text Envelopes(Usually w/Square Flap)
A-2 4.375x5.75
A-6 4.75x6.5
A-7 5.25x7.25
A-8 5.5x8.125
A-10 6x9.5

Baronial Envelopes(Pointed Flaps)
#5 1/2-4.375x5.75

Catalog Envelopes(Open End)

Booklet Envelopes(Open Side)

Remember: Your printed product finished size should be smaller than the actual size of the envelope so that it will fit easily into the envelope. We like to have at least an 1/8" on each side.

Written by Buzz Tatom
Category: Printing Articles
Posted by: Buzz
What is a Letterpress?

Letterpress printing is how printing was done before offset printing came about. These presses use cuts or dies to actually make the direct impression on the paper or substrate. Most letterpresses are not used to print ink anymore.

Nowadays, they are used more for embossing, foil stamping, diecutting or scoring. The die will be mounted on a platen and there may be use of a counter die or not depending on what process is being done. Some of the name presses are Kluge and Heidelberg Windmill.

Printing ink on these machines is not near as fast or of high quality. The ink because it is transferred due to impact or pressure will spread or not give as level of a surface as offset will do. Screens are especially difficult with mostly line art or text being printed.

These machines run at a speed of 1500-2500 impressions per hour compared to 5000-15,000 per hour on modern offset presses. In summary while letterpresses are still useful in printing they are mostly used for finishing processes like foil stamping, embossing or diecutting. While much of the printing industry is now scientific this is the one area where a craftsmen can still be some what of an artist.

Written by Buzz Tatom

Related Article (Wikipedia): Letterpress
Embossing vs Debossing
Diecutting in Printing
Kisscutting in Printing
Category: Printing Articles
Posted by: Buzz
How Many Colors do I need?

When you are printing a project consider who will be looking at it, what your budget and the number you will need to send out. The answers to these questions will help you define the design and how many colors you can use in designing your print job. Black ink only is going to be the least expensive option but also has the least appeal and statistically provides the smallest return(ROI) on your expenditure. Adding colors to your full color brochure or whatever printed project use to be more costly. Now with the introduction of computer to plate and digital printing this is not necessarily the case. It is very easy to print small quantities of full color printing now at reasonable costs. This is due to the reduction of steps in the process these days. It is always our choice to print full color brochures for instance over black and white. The image you will present will convert to more sales for your company and give you better ROI. You can now print full color brochures in quantities of 50-100 for as little as $100 in some cases less. As your business builds you can increase quantities and reduce your per piece cost considerably.

It is also important to consider what you are printing. Do you have pictures and graphics that you want to highlight? Is it primarily text? Are you trying to draw attention to certain statistics or charts? Text is usually printed in darker colors to make it easy to read. Pictures and key information or anything you are trying to bring attention to is good to use color on. Sometimes you can get away with spot colors to highlight but many pictures need to be done in full color(CMYK) process colors to reproduce in a quality manner. We all live in a full color world and are getting more and more use to seeing everything in color. The costs of printing in color have dropped dramatically and many times will be the difference in your piece going in the trash or having a long enough life to make your company some money.

Written by Buzz Tatom
Category: Printing Articles
Posted by: adminblog
Converting Spot Colors to Process

When designing a document to be printed by a commercial printer, the novice designer may not know what happens when objects or text are not colored properly. We see a lot of colors that are simply chosen from a color pallet or a spot color. Some documents may have 10 or 15 different spot colors.

In most cases it is not practical & would be cost prohibitive to print all of these colors. In these cases when the file is ripped for printing, the rip will automatically convert these spot colors to four color process unless of course it is told not to. The end result of this is a simulation of the spot color that was chosen. Some colors are an exact match; such as PMS 485 will convert to 97% magenta & 100% yellow & when printed will be a very close match to the spot color. On the other hand, colors such as PMS 123 will convert to a dirty color of yellow instead of the crisp clean color that would be achieved if printed with the actual spot color.

To find actual representations you can visit this page .

pantone colors

Look at the solid to process guide. Although this book may seem expensive, it will save a lot of surprises when looking at the finished printed piece.

Oranges, blues & greens have been particularly hard to match when converting from spot to process due to the limitations of printing inks. One thing that has made a drastic improvement in reproducing these colors is the availability of printing a seven color process. This can now be achieved on short run print jobs using the HP Indigo 3050 digital press. HP has come up with what they call Indichrome technology. By adding a violet & orange to 4 color process, it is amazing how much closer & cleaner spot colors reproduce.

Article written by: Jay Atkinson
He can be reached at:

Category: Printing Articles
Posted by: adminblog
Printers Terms and Definitionsdiv>

Yellow BorderAudio version for this article: "Printers Terms and Definitions" (for people with visual disabilities or impairments). Yellow Border
In this day & time, most anyone with a computer is capable of producing print ready files. How many people creating files for printers actually know how to give the printer accurate specifications when asking for an estimate?

Do you know what to say when the printer asks questions like – does it bleed or, are there lineups or crossovers? Not only do you create the files that the printer will use, but you also have to give the printer the specifications in order to get an accurate price. Understanding printing terminology & definitions is critical to getting an accurate price early in the design process. The lack of understanding in this area can cost significantly in both time & money. Here are a few of the most critical terms that could keep you out of trouble.

Finished Size – The size of the printed piece after it is folded, trimmed & ready for distribution.

Bleed – The amount of extra space required when ink runs off the edge of the page.

Lineups – Images that extend from one page to another that must line up with one another once the piece is folded or collated.

Process – Sometimes called four color process is the “process” of printing only 4 inks when combined will make almost any color. When looking at a photograph in a magazine there are only 4 colors that make up the photo in most cases.

Line Screen – Refers to the number of rows of dots per inch.

Self cover – When the cover of a book is the same paper stock as the inside pages.

Plus cover – When the cover of a book is a different paper stock than the inside pages.

Page count – The number of pages in the book once it is folded & bound. The rule of thumb is one sheet of paper unfolded is 2 pages.

For a complete list of terms & definitions you can visit this page . The book you will find there is what most printers use to train their new employees, and is highly recommended for designers & print buyers in major corporations.

Article written by: Jay Atkinson
He can be reached at:

See Also:
- Chain Printer vs Commercial Printer & why to use each
- Types of Digital Printing machines
Category: Printing Articles
Posted by: adminblog
Thermography is a printing process where the ink is raised on the sheet.

Yellow BorderAudio version for this article: "Thermography" (for people with visual disabilities or impairments). Yellow Border
It was originally created to simulate engraving at a lesser cost. The process is done with a normal offset press and a “thermo” unit is attached to the end of the press or duplicator. The sheet is printed with ink and comes off the press with wet ink on a conveyor belt that takes it under a unit that drops a resin over the whole sheet. It then passes through a vacuum unit that removes the majority of the excess resin that is not attached to the wet ink.

The sheet then passes through a heating unit that actually melts the resin over the ink giving it the raised effect. Thermography is usually much shinier than engraving and also if the sheet is turned over you do not see a crushing of the paper fiber like on engraving. It originally was used on stationery and business cards but has been used as a design accent on brochures and all other advertising pieces.

The thermo units are mostly made for smaller presses so you usually will not see them on big quantity jobs. Most times the resin is clear so you can actually thermo a varnish to give a raised varnish or wet look. You also can get resin in very limited colors usually silver or gold. The popularity has decreased since the wide adoption of laser printers. The laser printers generate heat and sometimes it can be enough heat to actually melt the resin again in the printer and possibly do damage.

Different printers generate different amounts of heat so it depends on the maker of the printer. Thermography still has a resurgence in the design community about once every 3-5 years as an accent.

Written by Buzz Tatom
The Odee Company, Dallas, Texas

See Also:
- Chain Printer vs Commercial Printer & why to use each
- Types of Digital Printing machines
- Promotional Power Clips Blue Handles
Category: Printing Articles
Posted by: adminblog
Chain Printer vs Commercial Printer & why to use each

Yellow BorderAudio version for this article: "Chain Printer vs Commercial Printer & why to use each" (for people with visual disabilities or impairments). Yellow Border

Printing like many industries has seen the onset of chain businesses to meet the needs of the consumer and businesses. As technology has gotten better it has lowered the barrier of entry in skills that a printer must possess to produce a larger % of print jobs.

Printing was a skill learned and it took years to train to be able to produce fine work. This is certainly still the case for most jobs but printing has segmented into different markets that are filled by different companies.

The chain printer is more of a convenience printer. They turn quick jobs and are usually available to service longer hours and weekends. Walk in business is not only welcomed but expected and staffed for that. The workers are usually not nearly as skilled but can get something out quick and in your hands fast. They have usually only been in the printing business for a short time.

Lower quantities are what the chain printer is in existence for. A customer will pay more on average for this convenience factor and get inferior quality but the chain printer certainly serves a purpose.

The commercial printer is more designed around custom jobs. The commercial printer will have some of the same equipment as the chain printer but will also have equipment made for larger quantity jobs and usually will produce more difficult higher quality jobs.

There are certainly exceptions to these rules. There are commercial printers that don’t produce quality work and some chain printers that do exceptional work. For the most part you are not going to go to chain printer xyz to get 100,000 brochures that have a diecut and are foil stamped. On the flip side though you are not going to be able to walk into a commercial printer Sunday night at 10pm and get 50 copies of a proposal for a Monday morning meeting.

Both have their respective places in the printing business and both fill a certain niche. There is certainly crossover of which both can produce the same product. For the most part with a good commercial printer if you are interested in building a relationship you will be talking to the same person that knows your needs and likes and will be able to produce a quality job in a cost effective timely manner.

See Also:
- Printing Special Effects
- How quick can you get something printed?
- Duffel Bag: Structured Duffel Bag - Ladies Travel Luggage
Category: Printing Articles
Posted by: adminblog
Reasons for Printing Digital

Yellow BorderAudio version for this article: "Reasons for Printing Digital" (for people with visual disabilities or impairments). Yellow Border
Why has digital printing become so popular? When do I need to use digital printing? There are three main reasons people have come to use digital printing.

1. Customers ordering lower and lower quantities. In our world of change these days information needs to be revised constantly. This has meant more obsolescence in printed products and lost $$$ in printed inventory being thrown away. This has led the trend towards print users reducing quantities ordered so they can choose to change or update information as needed.

color digital printer

2. Faster turntimes. Our world also requires on demand printing to be just that supply when needed as required. The computer revolution has led us all to want information when we need it as required. The normal turntime of a digital job is 2-3 days with many being done same day or overnight. Digital printing due to the reduction in production steps from offset printing can normally be turned quicker. This also can be attributed to the ink being dry enough to cut or fold as it comes off the press.
3. The third main reason is still evolving. Variable data printing or one to one marketing is where the image or text changes from impression to impression. This is still a growing market and will continue to grow as we find ways to refine marketing for individuals versus mass markets. We are not just talking salutations but pictures and text based upon that individuals needs or wants. Although, this has been in existence for many years it is still in early adoption stages and will become more important as education and technology evolves.

There are many other reasons that final users are using digital printing for more of their print needs but this seem to be the main driving factors at this time. Here are some of the products that digital printing is used for in present day(postcards, brochures, posters, flyers, sales sheets).

There are also limitations of digital printing. Be careful in using digital printing where foil stamping or laser ink jet printing is going to be done. The laser printer after digital printing can soften the ink and come off in the laser printer. Inkjet printers are normally fine but should be tested.

Digital printing after foil stamping can also release the foil from the heat of the laser printer. Foil stamping after digital printing should meet with success as long as foil stamping is not going over the digital printing. There are exceptions to this but testing is recommended. Film lamination over digital printing meets with varying success based upon liquid ink versus toner digital printing.
Testing should be done to insure success.

See Also:
- Quality of Digital Printing
- Types of Digital Printing machines
- Digital Color Printing

Written by Buzz Tatom
The Odee Company, Dallas, Texas

Category: Printing Articles
Posted by: adminblog
Quality of Digital Printing

So you want one guys opinion on color digital printing quality? Here it is.

If you are a mom and pop color copiers are an option although you don’t pay much more for much better quality. Toner based machines no matter how much they cost are still toner particles. Nexpress & IGen3 do a very good job but will still show their toner ancestry on many jobs.
These 2 machines will be very consistent on color from print to print.

The liquid ink possibilities include the DI(Direct Imaging) offset presses and the Indigo digital press family. The DI options are Heidelberg and Ryobi DI machines. These machines can’t do variable data and have a limited ink carrying capacity so can show more issues like ghosting and gradation problems.

They also will depend more on the skill of the pressperson for print to print consistency. The DI can print spot colors and uses temporary plates to produce each job.

The Indigo 3050 digital press has liquid ink technology and rivals offset printing in quality. It can do variable data printing and true spot PMS colors and will be very consistent from print to print. All in all if you want my vote for the best machine it would be the HP 3050 digital press because of the availability of doing variable data printing and quality rivaling offset.

It will be very consistent from print to print and can do spot PMS colors for branding or better color matching. It also doesn’t have that color copy ancestry look and will print screens and solids in a close to offset printing look.

digital color printer

See Also:
Digital Color Printing
Types of Digital Printing machines
Category: Printing Articles
Posted by: adminblog
Yellow BorderAudio version for this article: "Types of Digital Printing machines" (for people with visual disabilities or impairments). Yellow Border
Digital printing is a term that encompasses a lot of different equipment that produce different products and different levels of quality and expectations.

First let’s start with the term digital printing :
Digital printing’s definition is taking an electronic file and directly from that file creating your final output without going to plates or any other type of intermediary step or proof. It can be black or color.

The black is usually done by copiers on the low end and machines such as the Xerox Docutech or the Kodak Digimaster. These machines are capable of @ 100 copies a minute. Even these machines use toner although they are capable of higher resolutions than copiers. Although, higher quality than copiers the docutech & digimaster still don’t rival true offset quality of true offset presses.

The reasons these machines evolved and have become so popular is the ability to do low quantities at reasonable costs. They are limited as to the products and substrates that customers will use these machines for.The evolution of doing this same thing to color was a natural evolution. The higher the quality the better it could replace offset on the low end of the quantity spectrum.

Also as color digital printing machinesimproved, customers deemed quality acceptable for more and more products and uses. Color copiers came first and use toner in the four base colors of CMYK to reproduce color photographs and images. The quality is on the low end for color and is susceptible to scratches and rubbing more than liquid ink. Then there is the classification of digital presses. There are toner and two types of liquid ink presses.

All of these color machines have strengths and weaknesses like any other kind of manufacturing process. Toner based machines are the IGen3 and the Nexpress. The quality is much better than color copiers but can still have toner look to them and sometimes don’t print smooth screenes. The only true offset entries are either Heidelberg or Ryobi machines. These actually produce temporary plates to produce the print job that is on press at that time.

This is true offset printing but has some limitations because the vast % of machines are small format and don’t have the ink carrying capacity that larger presses do. These machines also can’t print variable data printing where the image or text can be changed from sheet to sheet. The other liquid ink machine is the HP Indigo family. The Indigo 3050 can print variable data while rivaling offset quality.

The Indigo digital press family is the only machine that can print variable data as well as being capable of printing PMS spot colors as well. Customers will use this machine to print postcards, brochures, posters, sales sheets, flyers and any other printed product. These are your choices in digital printing. As final users have continued decreasing quantities of their orders and use more and more of customized marketing digital printing’s market share has increased. It is a powerful option to promote your business from small startups to large corporations.

Articles Related:
Digital Color Printing

Category: Printing Articles
Posted by: adminblog
When we decided enter into digital printing, we did a very strong selection process looking for the best digital press for our company.

We want a machine that could give us very close to the quality of our offset presses and we found it in the HP 3050. We were one of the first installs of this digital press.

Our 7-color machine can produce low quantities of whatever your needs are without sacrificing quality. This is the most versatile press on the digital market. It does spot color PMS for branding purposes and can print on all kinds of substrates from paper to plastics to magnetic material. This press prints variable data pieces that give you true one to one marketing tailored specifically for each individual based upon that individuals specific data.

Some HP Indigo 3050 digital press pictures:

HP Indigo 3050 for color digital printing

HP Indigo 3050 Schematics for color digital printing