BY ANDIE ESTES
Lithographics hosted the Circa team Lunch and Learn. We received a detailed, guided tour through one of Nashville's most reputable print studios. Afterwards, Twyla Lambert and Kelley McLaughlin of Athens Paper treated us to a delicious lunch and an informative Q&A session. This tour sparked a larger conversation in our office: how can young designers best be prepared ahead of time when entering the realm of print production? Below are tips and tricks, as well as some vocab we wish we'd known!
Setting up files for print:
1. Add trim marks or crop marks: these are small lines outside of the final visible (“live”) area of the document that guide your printer as they cut the final image.
2. Include the trimmed page size: this is the final size of the printed document, after the page has been cut along the trim marks.
3. Add bleeds: images that extend beyond the edge of the live area, to allow for any variables in the cutting along the trim marks and ensure that the final cut page does not have white edges.
4. Margin or “Safety”: this is the area of important content that cannot afford to be clipped from the design in the printing process. It is inside the trim marks and bleed area.
5. Send all files for foil, emboss or diecutting as vector artwork. Jpegs will not work for any diemaking.
6. Set stroke widths to zero on all designs to help printers distinguish which lines to use to cut metal for the dies. Also, whenever possible, simplify lines on designs. Working with designs that have excessive anchor points is very difficult and time-consuming for printers.
Be prepared! Imperfections and variations in prints are the nature of the process. Although a good printer can help choose paper and printing methods to minimize issues, it is best to learn to embrace minor flaws.
Troubleshooting during the printing process:
Color: The issue of colors not accurately printing is a longstanding issue for designers. PMS (Pantone Matching System) is an industry standard book of color swatches that help guide the printer to a specific ready-made ink to match your colors and minimize color matching issues.
Trapping: there is movement on the paper when printing, so if adding foil over print, make sure the printer leaves out the image that will receive the foil, otherwise the foil will not line up appropriately. This can also occur with printing two adjacent colors that do not share any common colors. A good printer will use trapping to make sure there are no exposed white areas where the paper has moved.
Paper grain: going with or against the grain of the paper is always difficult. If making a folder or box, designers can expect to see small cracks along one edge of the box, where the fold goes against the grain. A good printer can help minimize these cracks with matrix score making, which essentially creates indentions in the final product that help guide the folds.
A big thank you to Twyla and Lithographics for hosting our tour and providing such a great learning experience for our team!
What is Lunch & Learn?
At Circa, we have a bold understanding that education never just stops after college. This has been the motivation for our new series: Lunch & Learn. Every month we will have lunch with some of the brightest people in the creative field ranging from painters to SEO masters; and poke their brains to get a better understanding of the world and our role as visual communicators.
Lithographics, Inc. is an industry leading, customer centric print solutions provider. They have been a part of Nashville since 1975. While they've changed addresses a few times, and changed their logo too, but one thing that's never changed is an ongoing commitment to customer service and the highest possible quality of printing.