Updated: Oct 26
A complete guide to help you understand the world of print better.
We are a team of passionate and skilled individuals that form Zodiac Reprographics. Here we act as print consultants, print partners, and branding associates that help our clients deliver the best print collaterals from brochures to packaging and everything in between. In our 40 years of expertise, we have encountered several individuals and organisations that have similar questions before they move ahead with the process of printing their brand collaterals. This is an important exercise as it helps you understand the entire process in order to determine what you need exactly and also be more involved in it. It is also helpful to gauge the expertise of the company that you are dealing with.
We have accumulated a list of them to help you seek the answers.
What is the printing process?
In general, the printing process consists of three stages
This starts with a consultation, quotation, order placement, and handover of the graphic design. Some print companies may or may not provide graphic design and formatting assistance.
The actual printing takes place in this step. Depending on the equipment and type of printing, the design is transferred - or offset from a plate to a rubber blanket then onto the substrate (offset) or direct printing occurs on flexible print plates (flexo).
A lot of companies do not provide post-print assistance. This is one of the things that sets us apart as we focus on providing a seamless end-to-end solution. Our post-print services include - cutting, lamination, punching, pasting, folding, gold foiling, and slitting options.
How well will what I see on my monitor match what I see on paper?
Apart from the differences caused by the display settings or specifications of the monitor, today’s print follows a WYSIWYG model (What You See Is What You Get).
In order to minimize variance caused by the monitor, optimum colour and clarity must be adjusted as suggested by the manufacturer. In case the difference still persists, there are several tools available that ensure exact colour calibration.
What is a proof and why is it needed?
A one-off copy of your printed document is called a proof. It is used to visually ensure that the intended layout and colours are produced. It is made prior to sending the document to the press for final printing. This document is used to detect any mistakes or to brainstorm and make any changes that could make the print more effective. At Zodiac, we use proofs for the same reason and ensue a collaborative process that includes you, the printers and designers to ensure that we only deliver the best.
What are the different grades of paper and their respective basis weight?
Basis Weight is the weight of 500 sheets of a specific paper with the same size and thickness also known as a grade. This is mostly an American way of measuring paper, this is done in pounds (lb) and hence doesn’t round off to regular numbers. Therefore in India however we use gsm or grams per square meter.
However, for your information, here are some paper grades and their respective basis weights:
Bond: Typical basis weights are 16lb or 7.25kg for forms, 20lb or 9.07kg for copying and 24lb or 10.88 for stationery.
Text: This a paper with a lot of surface texture and hence is on the heavier side. Basis weights range from 60lb (27.2 kg) to 100lb (45.3kg).
Uncoated Book: This is most commonly used for offset printing. Basis weights are mostly from 50lb (22.7 kg) to 70lb (31.75 kg)
What is the difference between coated and uncoated paper stock?
Uncoated stock paper is used for basic black-and-white copying or newspapers since it is comparatively porous and inexpensive. Coated stock, by contrast, is made of higher quality paper having a smooth glossy finish that is preferred for reproducing sharp text and vivid colours.
What is halftone printing?
When an image is broken into a series of dots that work together to produce a continuous tone it is called halftone printing. When looked at closely the dots become obvious but at a distance, the space between the dots is negligible. It is usually done by a screen inserted over the plate being exposed.
What are Pantone colours?
Pantone colours provide a matching system that helps brands and manufactures maintain conistency in the colours. This is made possible through the allotation of unique names and codes for almost all concivable shades. This helps make sure that colours turn out the same from system to system, and print runs to print run.
Is white considered a printing colour?
In order to ensure judicious usage of ink, white is not used as a printing colour since the background paper is usually white. However in case of a coloured background colour, white will have to used as a printing colour.
In case you have any other questions that have not been answered here, you can speak to our consultants who can help you out with any of your queries.