Finishing options explained, the in’s and out’s

Don’t spoil the finish, plan ahead.

Like most projects, it’s the end which we all focus on. However there are many things we need to consider before getting to the end, and the better these are planned the quicker we finish and achieve the result we set out at the begining.

Print is no different, there is (rightly so) a lot of emphasis on the design and print quality. However, if when the job is nearing the finishing line and there has been no consideration to the finishing, the whole job will be in jeopardy.

Bleed, creep of pages, paper grain direction, line up of pages, creasing, binding all need to be thought about before ink is put on paper.

Bleed is the use of ink that prints beyond the trim edge of the page to ensure it extends to the edge of the page after trimming. As there is a degree of movement when printing on any press, you should always create 3mm bleed on all edges where bleed is needed. In some cases larger formats such as (A0) would require slightly more bleed. Supplying your job without bleed may result in white lines when we trim it.

Creep. This is when a multiple of pages are bound together, the inner section sticks out further than the cover section. With the addition of multiple pages and thicker paper the problem is exaggerated. There is nothing worse with a booklet being bound and the page numbers missing on some pages due to the creep. This is overcome at the prepress stage with the creation of a dummy booklet being made. The thickness is measured and the inner pages are calculated to move in a set measurement to achieve the best result possible.

Paper grain direction can be a real killer when finishing a job. Think of all the hard work that has gone into producing the flat sheets, only for the grain direction to cause unsightly cracking on a spine or un-avoidable curl. This problem needs to be overcome in the planning stage by understanding the paper and finished job.

Creasing is the use of a special matrix bar which crushes the fibres of paper at a point where the document needs to fold. Try folding a relatively thick piece of paper and you will see it cracks, bends crooked and looks unsightly. Generally, we would suggest creasing all stock 170gsm and above, but the paper grain direction can have an effect so we take a stock by stock approach.

Binding. There are many ways to bind a job, some allow for a more high-end finish (perfect bound) and others for functionality (wiro bound). There is no right or wrong on this, it merely depends on the job and the intended audience. A wiro bound document can look classy with the use of lamination throughout and a colour matching wire, but it will never have the same gravatas as a perfect bound book with a spine. Considering the intended audience and purpose of the document will help with the binding approach.

Print Embellishment is a high end finish which really adds to the printed document. This was once considered to be an expensive option, but more and more people are viewing this as a solution to give your job the wow factor. More can be read here on another of our posts.

We offer all sorts of finishing at Continuum and are happy to discuss all options. Focusing on the finish line with us will mean smooth production and a beautiful finished job you are happy with.

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Continuum have a combined experience of nearly 30 years of print & design knowledge. We have been helping many household names, small companies and individuals bring their ideas to life with extensive knowledge of the industry, latest technology and design trends.