For our series “Ask the Printer”, today we speak about print finishing with our expert Raffaele Bozza. Raffaele is an expert in prepress and printing, and a passionate about visual arts, design and photography. After many years as art director, he is today the Marketing & Communication manager of Exaprint Italy, for which he takes care of the strategic organization of communication activities. Over to Rafaele:

The Print Finishing

The finishing of printing is something that can make a huge difference and has the amazing ability to give a distinctive added value to the communicative success of any final product.
Often, in fact, one of the most common challenges in the world of creativity, is not being able to effectively portray one’s artistic ideas in the final print.
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When digital printing technologies are utilized, once support and common processes of printing (plastic coatings, mechanical painting, etc.) are selected, one can then select the finishes of printing. Among the many options are hot lamination, blind embossing, UV selective paint, debossing, UV varnish with thickness and thermal relief.

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How to go from a creative idea to the final result

The logic of preparation for printing is almost identical for every type of special finish. Below are some guidelines to follow in order to obtain a satisfactory result:

In the graphic design phase it is good to use levels.
The advice is to imagine them as transparent slides that overlay: working on the opacity or effects, one can get an idea of ​​how the various layers behave. Each layer is dedicated to a specific content. For example, layer for the four-color process, layer for the white support, layer for the texts and a layer for each type of finishing / processing.

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Focusing on the layer dedicated to the special finishes (the procedure is the same for all processes, except for minor differences related to the technical limitations of some machines).
The layer must contain the area that simulates the placement of special finish inBlack100%; it is also recommended to add a thread (0.25 pt) to graphic elements as to provide a slight abundance of safety to prevent misregistration. Also pay close attention to creases and folds on your product,because these areas may bring unwanted results(a reserve of 2/3 mm where the folds are is sufficient to avoid these problems).

With regard to limits, it’s not advisable to use threads with a thickness less than 0.5 pt, nor characters smaller than 7 pt.

The last point is related to the saving of a file before printing.
Layers are important here: a PDF file needs to be created with four-color process along with a separate PDF with the layer dedicated to the special finish.
Before saving, remember to check the margins of 3mm on each side and make sure that the images are good resolution. This will avoid any unpleasant surprises during printing.

Those who work in the graphic / creative sector know that the search for solutions and applications that offer an added value to products is constant.
The print finishing, used in the right way, is an excellent solution to enhance one’s work and be able to beat the competition.

Thank you Raffaele for taking the time to enrich our knowledge on the print finishing!