Commercial Printing 101 – Yes… you have time to bleed!

Posted by Universal Printing on Thu, Dec 15, 2011 @ 03:35 PM

Say what you want about the movie Predator, it’s consistently rated on MANY lists as one of the best SciFi/Action/Adventure/Bang-Bang-Shoot-Em-Up movies of our time.   It also features on of the best movie quotes of all time (in my humble opinion.)

 

Blaine Cooper (played by Jesse Ventura) is told by his cohort Pancho, “You're bleeding, man. You're hit.”

Blaine’s reply: “I ain't got time to bleed.”

Of course in the wonderful world of printing and graphic design, BLEED takes on a completely different meaning.

So… what is BLEED?Universal Printing provides an example of page bleed

In printing, the term “bleed” is used to describe any time that the printing goes all the way to the edge.  This can be photos, background color, bars, shapes, borders, clipart; pretty much ANYTHING that runs off the edge.

In order to make this happen, printing companies will ALWAYS print the job on a press sheet larger than the final size of the piece.  When the files are created, they need to be presented to us oversized, with trim marks and bleed.  In the example to the right, you see that the crop marks show the cut lines inside of the total image area.   Rather than cutting your final piece SMALLER, it’s best if you provide the image LARGER, so that final sizes are accurate.

Why do printers need bleed?

Depending on the type of equipment any printing company is running, there is a possibility of some “bounce” or movement from sheet to sheet.  The sheets will always be the same size, but the position of the image can vary slightly.  Some digital equipment, for example, might have a tolerance of 1/32" of an inch in any direction.   Doesn’t sound like much, but if one sheet is 1/32" to the left, and another is 1/32" to the right, that’s a difference of 1/16" from one sheet to the next.  When these sheets get cut down, there could be white showing on 1 or more edges from sheet to sheet, as seen below.


This is what COULD happen without bleed!

How do I make sure bleed happens?

Depending on the program you’re using you, you’ll need to do TWO things to ensure that your files include bleed.

1.  Make sure your page size correctly.

If your program uses “Artboards” or “Pasteboards” (like Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, MS Publisher, Quark, etc.) then you’ll set your page size to the ACTUAL finish size.  Your program will allow you to set your bleed area later.  

If your program does NOT use art boards (like MS Word, MS PowerPoint, Photoshop, etc.) then you’ll need to set your page size LARGER (knowing what we’ll need to cut the edges off…. So if you want it to be 8 1/2" x 11 inches, you could make your page size 9” x 11 1/2" and know that we’ll cut 1/4" from all sides.

2.  Set guides and margins for trims and “safe areas”

Even if you have bleed set up for your files, you’ll want to keep live type and important elements away from the trim edges.  You should keep these things at LEAST 1/8" away from the trim edge, but 1/4" is preferable

3.  Extend your bleed elements and images

Make sure ANYTHING that bleeds off the edge, is extended at LEAST 1/8" past the final trim area.

4.  Producing your final files

Whether you are printing to a PDF, exporting, saving as, or whatever method you are using, you’ll want to ensure the final page size is large enough to include the extended bleed elements.  If possible, crop marks and bleed marks should be added, too.

 

The point is, no matter WHAT program you’re using, bleed is possible and should be provided.  When you are reviewing your files, whatever your final size is, the pages should display slightly larger, as shown above.  

Bottom line:  If you want to get the best printing results, you need to start with good files.  Jesse Ventura may not have time to bleed…  but you or your graphic designer do!

 

If you need further help understanding how to prepare your files for print, feel free to browse our blog, or contact any member of our helpful staff.  Our Customer Service team will be more than happy to give you any guidance.

 

 

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Universal Printing
Offering quality printing and communications solutions to
Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and the Triangle since 1979.
www.universalprinting.com

 

Tags: graphic design, Adobe InDesign tips, commercial printing, Graphic Design Durham, graphic design raleigh, CS5 tutorials

Graphic Design Tip! How Does Foil Stamping Work?

Posted by Universal Printing on Fri, Nov 18, 2011 @ 12:45 PM

’Tis the Season to send out Holiday Cards!  The weather gets a little cooler and winter is right around the corner, which can only mean one thing: Holiday Season!  It’s time to start breaking out the decorations and start singing carols like that old holiday classic Silver & Gold.  There’s just something classy about silver and gold.  It's used for expensive jewelry, it backs our nation’s currency, it' used for trophies, awards, and medals. Silver and Gold simply epitomize class, value, and sophistication.

You’ll often see gold, silver, or other metallic inks used on stationery, invitations, and a variety other printed materials.  They look nice, but somehow lack that special POP.  For those cases, where metallic ink just won’t do, there’s another solution: FOIL STAMPING.

When planning for foil stamping, it’s important to understand a few things about the process.

  1. Foil Stamping is NOT the same as embossing.  They are often done together, but they do not HAVE to be.  Embossing changes the surface of the paper or cardstock to create a raised image (or a lowered image in the case of “debossing”).  Foil is also done using a die and adding heat and pressure, but you can add foil to your project without needing to raise or lower the surface of the image.
  2. An even surface is better.  The best impact is going to be on smooth coated surfaces, like Cast-Coated or High Gloss stock.  Dull or Matte coated stocks take foil well also, as does smooth uncoated sheets.  Heavier stocks are more durable and hold up better to the process, although text weights can be used.  Textured papers like linen or felt are more difficult, since the surface texture and effect the way the foil is pressed onto the sheet, and your image might not be as crisp as it could be. Also, while you CAN foil on top of wax-free inks, you should avoid using coatings or varnishes in the area to be foil stamped.
  3. Line art is a MUST.  In order for the foil to fuse to the stock properly, there needs to be enough surface area to grab onto. Halftone dots and super thin lines won’t fuse as easily and may flake off, which will appear as “broken” or “missing” during a long production run.

What you need…

The Die: This is a metal plate with the reversed image raised from the surface, like you would see with a stamp.  Typically these will be made of brass, copper, or magnesium.  Buying a die can be a little pricey, but they can be used over and over.

The Foil: Foil is generally manufactured on a film roll made up of pigment, clear mylar, and a heat-activated adhesive.

The Stuff:  This is what you want to foil stamp.  It can be business cards, greeting cards, letterhead, pocket folders, certificates, invitations, or anything else you can think of.

How it works...

Gold Foil example of foil stampingAt its simplest form, Foil Stamping comes down to three things:  Heat, Pressure, and Time.

The foil film is positioned between the heated metal die and the material receiving the foil.

The die presses the foil onto the material and the heat activates the adhesive. 

Under pressure, the foil fuses onto surface of the item and is released from the mylar carrier everywhere the raise image has pressed.  If the heat is too low or the time is too short, then the foil won’t fuse and stick. If the heat is too high or the time is too long, the foil may bubble or blister; or the image edges may appear rough or ragged.

Another great thing about foil is that you’re not limited to just metallic effects.  You can find anything from gloss to dull, colors and fluorescents, holographic – there’s even clear!  See the chart below for some of the most common foils available, but these may vary. Contact us for other colors or samples.

REMEMBER!  Foil does NOT follow the Pantone Matching System for color.  So while you can't MATCH a PMS color, you may be able to find something close.

Samples of Foil Colors

 

 

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Universal Printing
Offering quality printing and communications solutions to
Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and the Triangle since 1979.
www.universalprinting.com

 

Tags: graphic design, Adobe InDesign tips, tips and tricks, setting up your files, Graphic Design Durham, graphic design raleigh, foil stamping, gold foil

Why In the WORLD would I go to a Printing Company for Graphic Design?

Posted by Universal Printing on Fri, Nov 11, 2011 @ 11:45 AM

Universal Printing takes great pride in offering the best of all graphic communication worlds: Award Winning Graphic Design, G7 Master Printer level digital output and commercial printing, and the latest in Direct Mail, featuring variable data and cross-media marketing solutions.  Over the years, we’ve worked with a lot of clients and companies who find themselves getting into a 2- or 3-prong approach with their projects: One company for design, another print, and sometimes even a third to handle the mailing.  Not a very efficient process, in our opinion.  WE always want to focus more on what is in the best interest of our clients.  Here’s a few reasons why a “single source solution” makes sense.

Design + Print is time-tested!

Universal offers Graphic Design, with or without LatteThis concept has been used time and time again in the construction and manufacturing industries, known as Design/Build.  We apply the same same principles at Universal Printing. When the people who are designing a piece are the people who are producing the piece, “unexpected surprises” just disappear!  All of our Graphic Design professionals work closely with other members of our production team, giving us the advantage of keeping current on the latest printing techniques, being familiar with folding and finishing requirements, and also having direct access to paper merchants and their pricing models.

“Less Expensive” is
NOT the same as “Cheap”

Often time, our Design quotes are significantly lower than Agency prices.  Some might think that it’s about the talent of our staff or the quality of our product.  “More expensive” must mean “better,” right?  WRONG!  Our Graphic Design team has won several regional and national design awards, and is comprised of graphics professionals from the fields of advertising, magazine production, and Fine Arts.  The reason WE can offer such aggressive pricing is because we don’t have to cover many of their overhead costs.  They need to pay for their office space, utilities, equipment, and the occasional latte or two. Why help pay for the rent and electricity of THREE buildings?  OUR staff is in our own building, using our digital prepress equipment, so keeping everything under one roof keeps our cost down, which is passed onto you.  It’s just that simple!

It’s all about the Bundles!

Contractors do it. Restaurants do it. The cable TV and satellite companies do it. Insurance companies do it.  EVERYONE recognizes the power of bundling products and services. WE are no different.  When you bundle together design, print, and direct mail, you only have one point of contact to deal with.  One person to coordinate with keeps you off the phone and out of your email inbox, and lets you deal with all the other aspects of your job.  “One call does it all.”  “Set it, and forget it.”  “Have it your way.”  We can’t actually use those slogans, but you get the idea.

No More Finger-Pointing!

Keeping everything under one roof keeps it simple and eliminates unnecessary “he said/she said” or “finger-pointing.” Ever dealt with any of these scenarios?
  • The Mailer says the Designer didn’t setup the address panels properly
  • The Designer says the Mailer stuck unnecessary labels or tabs all over the finished piece
  • The Printer says the Designer didn’t set up their files correctly
  • The Mailer says the Printer didn’t supply enough finished pieces to process the mailing

These problems all go away when the Designer, Printer, and Mailer are all under one roof. We know, understand, and can implement those ever-changing Postal requirements at the Design stage.  Our files will always print without surprises and we’ll always print enough to ensure your entire mailing is processed timely and efficiently.  Not only will we save you time, save you money, and reduce your stress; who knows, maybe we'll even throw in a free latte.

 

 

 

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Universal Printing
Offering quality printing and communications solutions to
Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and the Triangle since 1979.
www.universalprinting.com

 

Tags: commercial printing, digital printing, Graphic Design Durham, graphic design raleigh, green printing, internet marketing, email marketing, emarketing, direct mail, multi channel marketing, Adobe Photoshop, variable data, cross-media marketing