How to Anticipate Production Problems: The Tests

When the preliminary preparation phase with regards to design, contents, file etc. is completed, production can finally start.

Everything seems to be going well, but suddenly you realize that something is not actually working as you thought it would.

This can be a huge problem both in terms of costs and deadlines.

You would indeed have to reconsider your choices at the last minute, without being able to take several options into consideration due to deadlines being already set (a presentation, a vernissage, an agreement with the distributor).

We can classify potential production problems into the following categories:

01. Printing performance (colors, print frame, paper, varnishes)

02. Finishes (hot stamping, screen printing, varnishes)

03. Binding

Let’s analyze them one by one.

01. Printing performance

When it comes to reproducing the work of an artist or a photographer on paper, or even luxury items (such as jewelery or watches), it is crucial to be fully aware of what the effect will be once printed.

Four aspects must be taken into consideration:

  • Colors: was a photolith work performed? Are there any reference color proofs?
  • Print frame: do you know which frame you are using (very fine or coarse) to make it consistent with the desired result?
  • Paper: does the selected paper enhance the content, or does it hinder its reproduction according to the concept defined?
  • Varnishes: is it necessary to protect the paper or to use varnishes to highlight images or other graphic elements?

How can we define all these details BEFORE production to make sure that each of them is set in the right way?

Simple: an offset printing test.

An offset printing test allows you to select different papers and varnishes, and to evaluate the effect of the print frame you want to use so as to make the right choices for production without last-minute surprises.

02. Finishes

Today, it often happens that covers are not just printed, but have some particular finishes to embellish them or are made with cloth (and not paper). The wow effect is certainly guaranteed, but there is a problem: screen printing and hot stamping (just to mention two of the most used finishes) are not an exact science. The combination of design, materials and timing is crucial for the success or failure of a production.

This is particularly true for hot stamping: it has so many variables that it is practically impossible to predict all the potential scenarios in advance without making a specific test. This test will give you the opportunity to evaluate the final result beforehand, and to be sure to get what you want without last-minute surprises.

03. Binding

This can really be a sore point. The printed result is excellent, the finishes extremely well done, but sometimes the object itself doesn’t work because of its binding:

  • The quality of the binding is not consistent with the rest. You immediately notice a poorly made or flimsy binding.
  • The binding does not meet your expectations. Especially in the case of special bindings, your expectations may be unfulfilled.
  • It does not match with the design. The cover’s score, for example, might overlap with a title; or the folding of the internal pages might not fit within the standards and tolerance margins that should be followed.
  • The binding does not correspond with the expected technical characteristics. For example regarding the square, glue or other technical details.

Several control steps or tests can be carried out regarding the binding:

  • A handmade blank model
  • Unbinding the folded pages
  • A finished copy, handbound or machine-bound

This allows you to have an exact idea of what will the final product will look like, and therefore avoid unpleasant surprises that only lead to frustration and problems for everyone.

Contact us today to organize your next printing project.

We are used to perform and offer every type of test described in this article to guarantee the best possible result, always.

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