How to Produce Even, Heavy-Coverage Solids
Let's say you want to print a thick
background of a color on a pocket folder. You want the solid
to be rich and even. You want to make sure there are no
streaks and no mottling. You don't want any uneven paper
surface formation or coating to show through the ink and
and mar the even color. What can you do?
First of all, discuss your goals early
with your printer and choose a high-quality sheet on which
to print your job.
Beyond this, you have several printing
options to consider, all of which involve extra printing
units and therefore extra cost. In some cases these solutions
will also require drying time between printing certain colors.
- You can print your color initially
using one press unit and then a second time using the
same color carried in another press unit. This is called
a "double hit."
- You can print a process build
of your color (4 units) and then cover this ink with a
PMS version of the same color (5th unit).
- You can print a tint of your
color (30 percent black, for instance) and then hit the
same area again with 100 percent of the color.
- You can initially paint the
sheet (i.e., lay down a heavy ink coating) with opaque
white. This seals the paper in the same way that varnish
seals wood. After you have allowed the ink to dry, you
can overprint the white with your solid PMS color.
- You can paint the sheet with your
heavy-coverage color and then print over this solid with
a varnish tinted with the same solid color.
Depending on the effect and overall
level of quality you want, it may be worth the extra time
and expense these options will require.
Avoiding Cracking When Printing Heavy-Coverage Solids
When running heavy solids across a
fold, score the stock first to avoid cracking. Also, run
and fold the sheet parallel with the grain if at all possible.
Remember also that UV coating tends
to crack when crossing a fold, as in saddle stitching. The
white of the paper could then easily show through the ink
and UV coating.
Avoiding Ghosting When Printing Heavy-Coverage Solids
"Ghosting" is an unwanted
condition that occurs when an image on a press sheet also
appears faintly elsewhere on the same press sheet. It is
due to ink starvation: a shift back and forth from heavy
ink coverage to light ink coverage back to heavy ink coverage.
For example, surrounding a photograph on four sides with
a heavy-coverage solid color might create such an effect.
In such an example, you might see a faint image from within
the photograph repeated in the solid color.
To avoid this:
- Share your design early with
your printer. He may be able to position the page on the
sheet, or impose the job, in a way that minimizes the
chance of ghosting.
- Your printer may run the
job on a larger sheet to allow for a take-off bar (also
known as a ghost-bar) of the solid color. Such a bar helps
equalize ink-laydown on the sheet by extending and evening
out the printed area, thus avoiding ink starvation in
any one place. As the name suggests, the take-off bar
is trimmed away after printing.
- Your printer may run the job slightly
tilted on the sheet. However, although this usually eliminates
ghosting, it complicates trimming the job.
[Steven Waxman is a printing consultant. He teaches corporations how to save money buying printing, brokers printing services, and teaches prepress techniques. Steven has been in the printing industry for thirty-three years working as a writer, editor, print buyer, photographer, graphic designer, art director, and production manager.]