Why is it so exciting going on press?
Personally I really love it. I can hear the sound of the presses, feel the smell of the ink, see the colors printed and touch the paper.
It’s clearly a full sensory experience. It’s worth then to live it in the best way.
Printing an art or luxury publication is not like printing a supermarket flyer. The presses used are indeed the same, but there are a lot of details that should be different. I don’t want however write now about that (I will dedicate an entire post soon!), but give you some advices to avoid five common mistakes that can convert your press experience in a real nightmare:
- NOT to choose the materials or technical solutions most suitable for your design. When you’re deciding the specifications with your printer, he must ask for a low-res draft of your design project in order to find with you the best solutions about the material choices. E.g. not every paper is suitable for every design, the varnish could be mandatory or just recommended etc.
- NOT to choose properly the order of the signatures to print. Your printer must ask (or better advice about) which sheet you want to be the first on press. In fact the color balance choices taken on the first sheet are the base for all the sheets coming after. E.g. if you print a text and images with a pantone and you agree about a color density on the first sheet, you have to keep the same density for all the sheets coming after to have uniformity all over.
- NOT to consider what paper you are using. It’s reductive to classify the papers in two categories: coated and uncoated. Every paper has his characteristics and different behaviors when printed. Your printer must give you the best advices to keep the color charges optimal for the paper you are using. E.g. if you are printing a pantone with a recommended standard color charge ‘100’, you could have the necessity to augment or reduce it on the base of the paper reaction and consequent visual result.
- NOT to keep uniformity in the color balance. I always strictly advice to work well on prepress to prepare perfect colors proofs to have them on press as a good reference. You can not indeed pretend to d o the prepress on press (the noun speaks clear -> PRE (before) press): you would make worse and surely mess up. Once the prepress has been made, on press it’s just important to set a right color balance from the beginning on the base of the points 1, 2, 3 and keep an uniformity through all the work with little corrections (full sheet or just sectors) if necessary.
- underestimate the project. Printing black and white pages with just text and illustrations is not easier than printing full color images (always speaking about art and luxury publications – not novels to be sold at 3,99). It’s simply different. You have then to pay attention to different details, equally important.
Note my useful checklist and discuss all the points with your partners when you are setting up your project and you are then on press:
- The materials I chose are the best to enhance the design?
- Which signature is the best “first sheet” in order to find a good color balance for all the work?
- Am I considering what kind of paper I’m using when I balance the colors?
- Did I make a good work on prepress to be followed with just little corrections on press?
- Am I considering with the same attention also the parts that look apparently simpler to print?
A good result is guaranteed just if you work strictly in team with a printer that has enough experience and skills to give you the best customized advices.