Tuesday, January 31, 2012

What does “Font Leading” mean?

In typography, leading refers to the distance between the baselines of successive lines of type. The term originated in the days of hand-typesetting, when thin strips of lead were inserted into the formes to increase What does “Font Leading” mean?

In typography, leading refers to the distance between the baselines of successive lines of type. The term originated in the days of hand-typesetting, when thin strips of lead were inserted into the formes to increase the vertical distance between lines of type. The term is still used in modern page layout software such as QuarkXPress and Adobe InDesign.

In consumer-oriented word processing software, this concept is usually referred to as "line spacing" or "interline spacing."

The word comes from lead strips that were put between set lines. When type was set by hand in printing presses, slugs or strips of lead (reglets) of appropriate thicknesses were inserted between lines of type to add vertical space, to fill available space on the page.

Text set "solid" (no leading) appears cramped, with ascenders almost touching descenders from the previous line. The lack of white space between lines makes it difficult for the eye to track from one line to the next, and hampers readability.

The following block of text has no leading:
Typography (Greek: typos "form", graphein "to write") is the art and technique of setting written subject matter in type using a combination of typeface styles, point sizes, line lengths, line leading, character spacing, and word spacing to produce typeset artwork in physical or digital form.

This block of text set with 50% leading is easier to read:
Typography (Greek: typos "form", graphein "to write") is the art and technique of setting written subject matter in type using a combination of typeface styles, point sizes, line lengths, line leading, character spacing, and word spacing to produce typeset artwork in physical or digital form.

This block of text at 100% leading is harder to read and makes less efficient use of vertical page space:
Typography (Greek: typos "form", graphein "to write") is the art and technique of setting written subject matter in type using a combination of typeface styles, point sizes, line lengths, line leading, character spacing, and word spacing to produce typeset artwork in physical or digital form.

In CSS, leading is implemented by creating a difference between the content height and the value of the line-height property. Half the leading is called the half-leading. User agents center glyphs vertically in an inline box, which adds half-leading on the top and bottom. For example, if a piece of text is '12px' high and the line-height value is '14px', 2pxs of extra space should be added: 1px above and 1px below the letters. (This applies to empty boxes as well, as if the empty box contained an infinitely narrow letter.)

Presented By
MI Printing
Phone: 623.582.1302

Monday, January 30, 2012

What does “Font Kerning” mean?

In typography, kerning (less commonly mortising) is the process of adjusting the spacing between characters in a proportional font, usually to achieve a visually pleasing result. Kerning is the adjustment of the space between individual letter forms vs. tracking which is the uniform adjustment of spacing applied over a range of characters.

In a well-kerned font, the two-dimensional blank spaces between each pair of characters all have similar area. The related term kern denotes a part of a type letter that overhangs the edge of the type block.

The word kern is a cognate of corner. In the days when all type was cast metal, a corner was notched to a consistent height on one or both sides of a letter-piece. Such notched pieces were only set against one another, not against unnotched ones, which had straight sides. The corner allowed for a character's features to reach into the area normally taken up by the next character, for example the top bar of the T, or the right diagonal stroke of the V to hang over the bottom left corner of an A.

Having a consistently shaped corner cut out allowed for using fewer pieces of type to make up all possible kerning pairs; for example a T- and V-piece with kerning on the right would match the same A piece with a matching kerning indention on the left.

In digital typography we can adjust the "kern" of letters or as in most cases let the program do it for us.  Programs seldom a great job of kerning without help from a special section of the program and the operator.

In digital typography, kerning is usually applied to kerning pairs as a number to be added to the default character spacing, expressed in the font's coordinate system. A digital font's kerning feature can also increase the character spacing between two characters. Increased character width is used mainly in conjunction with accented letters.

Another approach is to use kerning classes; where one offset is stored for any pair of characters from two sets, for example (V, W) and (a, e, o). This one class is equivalent to the pairs Va, Wa, Ve, We, etc. Kerning classes can be used in OpenType fonts, and applications that support this feature. Although this is the newest, most advanced form of kerning, using kerning classes is essentially the same approach as was used in metal type. The use of kerning classes is necessitated mostly by today's multi-language fonts that feature many more glyphs, and more kerning pairs, than a single language font would need; especially accented letters.

Kerning is also widely used to fit capital letters, such as T, V, W, and Y, closer to some other capital letters on either side (especially A) and to some lower case letters on the right side, such as the combination Ro. It is also used to fit a period (full stop) closer to these and to F, as well as the lower case letters y and r. Some other combinations are AC, FA, and OA.

Which letters need to be kerned depends on the languages the font is to be used with. Some combinations of letters are not used in normal words in any language, so to include kerning for these combinations is not necessary.

Kerning is implicitly part of digital type design, and advanced typographic systems allow the specification of kerning. It is commonly confused with tracking. Most high-quality fonts contain instructions for kerning which are applied automatically by the typesetting engine.

Non-proportional (monospaced) fonts don't use kerning, since their characters by definition always have the same spacing.

Presented By
MI Printing
Phone: 623.582.1302

Friday, January 27, 2012

Looking for a Short Run Post Card Deal?

This week let's take a moment and talk about "Post Cards!"

Direct mail is a very effective way to reach your customer and let them know about your latest products, newest services, up-coming events or your website. There are so many ways to use post cards in today's marketing environment.

With our new digital printing we can even make short-run post cards a very cost effective tool.  You can target a smaller group of potential customers and get out your sale notices even faster.

We can also do your long runs in many popular size Post Cards.  If you have a motel / hotel or tourist attraction we can help you with Post Cards that promote your location and even sell to your customers.
Post cards for sales and For Sale!

If you need help from start to finish MI Printing is here to help meet your Post Card needs.

We are known for our fair prices and quick turn arounds.

Call us for your post card solutions at 623-582-1302 and ask Paula about current our pricing!

Presented By
MI Printing
Phone: 623.582.1302

Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

The Parts of a Volcano
The adage "A picture is worth a thousand words" refers to the notion that a complex idea can be conveyed with just a single still image. It also aptly characterizes one of the main goals of visualization, namely making it possible to absorb large amounts of data quickly.

It is believed that the modern use of the phrase stems from an article by Fred R. Barnard in the advertising trade journal Printers' Ink, promoting the use of images in advertisements that appeared on the sides of streetcars.

Visuals can improve your communication materials when used correctly. Pictures help grab an audience’s attention and help tell a story.

Photographs work best for showing “real life” events, people, and emotions. Photographs tend to be more compelling to audiences.

An illustration or drawing can simplify complexities and highlight key components of an idea.

Cartoons may be good to convey humor or set a more casual tone. Use cartoons with caution; not all audiences understand them or take them seriously.

Present one message per visual. When you show several messages in one visual, audiences may miss some or all of the messages.

Label visual with captions. Be sure visuals and captions are placed near related text.

Use visuals that help emphasize or explain the text. Consider the space available and potential use of the visual. Steer clear of visuals that merely decorate or are too abstract.

Presented By
MI Printing
Phone: 623.582.1302

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Prepress Dos and Don'ts: Design & Page Layout

DO use a document setup size (i.e. your page dimensions) that is the same as your trim size. For instance, if you are creating a 6 by 9-inch book, set up your initial page size in the document setup for 6 by 9-inches

 DON'T create 6 by 9-inch text frames in a 81/2 by 11-inch document setup and manually add registration marks.

DO make page elements that bleed extend at least 8th of an inch beyond the page boundary.

DON'T use your page layout/desktop publishing program's predetermined “hairline” rule. The width varies from program to program, and prints out differently on a laser printer than on an imagesetter, if it prints at all. Don't create rules that are less than .25 pt.

 DO watch for widows, orphans, rivers, bad kerning and other desktop publishing no-nos that will make you look like an amateur. Get rid of double-spaces after periods, don't use spaces to align columns (use tabs) or to create paragraph indents. Know your en dash (–) from your em dash (—).

Presented By
MI Printing
Phone: 623.582.1302

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Prepress Dos and Don'ts: Graphics

DO supply ALL of the graphics used to create your project. Desktop publishing applications like Quark and InDesign link to your graphics; they do not embed them in the document. If you don't supply the graphics along with your Quark or InDesign documents, the printer will get a missing picture error, and won't be able to continue until you supply the graphics.

DO use TIFF and EPS graphic file formats:

  • Use TIFF for halftones: graphics that are not just black and white, but rather, have many shades of gray or color gradation (i.e. scanned photos that were created or edited in Photoshop or an image editing application). For information on resolution, see the tutorial on halftoning tips.
  • B&W clip art (no shades of gray just 100% black and 100% white) looks best if scanned in and saved in 1200 dpi Bitmap TIFF format.
  • Use EPS for line art, illustrations, charts, clipart, etc. graphics that are basically black and white and were created or edited in vector applications such as Illustrator or Freehand. Resolution should be at least 600 dpi, 1200 dpi is the standard and creates the best print quality.

DON'T use other graphic file formats like PICT, JPEG, GIF. Just because you can import them into your desktop publishing application doesn't mean that you should. Stick with TIFF and EPS. If your graphics are in any other format, convert them. This is especially true of the PICT format. Quark hates PICTs; imagesetters hate PICTs. Steer clear of PICT.

DO most, if not all, of your image editing and graphic manipulation (i.e. lightening, darkening, etc.) in the original program that the graphic was first created or edited in, rather than the desktop publishing application. For instance, if a Photoshop TIFF needs to be lightened or darkened, lighten or darken it in Photoshop, not in Quark. Even though Quark will lighten or darken an image, adjust contrast, etc., you may get different results once you project goes to press and is printed.

DO name your graphics with the appropriate file extension: filename.tif, filename.eps.

DON'T rename graphics once you have placed them in your desktop publishing / page layout document(s). If you do, make sure to go back into your document and re-link the graphics.

DO check your mode for color TIFFs. Save color TIFFs as CMYK (not RGB, never RGB). Save black & white TIFFs as Grayscale.

DO check with your printer to see if they charge extra for breaking any of these “rules.”

Presented By
MI Printing
Phone: 623.582.1302

Monday, January 23, 2012

Prepress Dos and Don'ts : Fonts

DO supply the printer with ALL of the fonts used to create your project (even the symbol, fraction and dingbat fonts). Try not to use TrueType fonts, and for PostScript fonts, make sure you supply the printer with both the screen and the printer font parts. Remember to include fonts used to create EPS graphics, and fonts that the printer probably already has (i.e. like Helvetica, etc.). There are many different versions of some fonts and a “wrong” version can cause reflow/repagination problems.

DON'T use Bold or Italic in the style menu or hit the Bold or Italic button when you want to bold or italicize text in your page layout program. Use the actual font. For example, in Quark, if you want to create text that is Helvetica Bold, don't select some Helvetica text and then bold it. Instead, select the text and change the font itself (not the style) from Helvetica to Helvetica Bold.

DON'T use TrueType fonts. Period. Always use PostScript or OpenType and Adobe fonts (Macintosh or PC/ Windows) are always a safe bet. TrueType is fine for printing to a laser or inkjet printer, but TrueType fonts can cause severe problems when it comes to commercial printing. Many commercial printers won't even print a project that contains TrueType fonts. Often, they pop.

DON'T use 20 different fonts for a 4-page newsletter. It makes you look like you don't know what you're doing. In desktop publishing, consistency is everything. Use one font for your main body text, another for your main heads, another for photo captions, another for sidebars, etc., but don't mix and match fonts for your main body text or make every headline a different font unless you're trying to create some sort of chaotic effect and it is your intention to confuse the reader. Too many fonts is not only considered to be bad design, but it also slows printing to a crawl.

Presented By
MI Printing
Phone: 623.582.1302

Friday, January 20, 2012

Number 10 Custom Window Envelopes

Custom Envelopes, #10 White Window Envelopes; One Color (Any) Ink on front from customer supplied art +  Deliverd + Sales tax if applicable.

Many times the first impression a person will have with your company is to handle and open correspondence that arrives in your company envelope.  There’s something about receiving a custom printed company envelope. You can feel the importance and significance of any document with the help of logo, printing and the quality of the paper.  In fact, correct envelope printing adds greatly to the image and credibility of a company.

While your letterheads are standards for businesses and companies, the envelopes that carry that important document can not be a poor quality product.

Envelope printing is crucial because it contributes to the image of professionalism and reliability that a company projects. The image of a company can be picked up from the documents that they produce and use in communications with the public.

Your company's formality and credibility is also reflected in your envelopes.  Envelopes in fact, have the power to affect a response from the recipients whether its favorable or not.  Depending on the look, appearance, color and quality, your envelope can greatly influence the way your recipients think about you and your company's message.

Contact Matt or Paula at MI Printing for help with your professional quality envelopes. Let us know how many you need and we can get you a fast and very fair quote.  623-582-1302

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Prepress Dos and Don'ts

When creating a your next printing project, whether it is an entire book, brochure, menu or simple newsletter) and sending it to a commercial printer  you'll save yourself time, money and redos if you adhere to a few simple guidelines.

General Rules

DO create and edit your text in a word processing application such as Microsoft Word and then import the text to a desktop publishing application such as InDesign, Pagemaker, NIcrosoft Publisher or Corel Ventura where you can create your page layout, format the text with graphics, etc.

DO use Adobe InDesign for desktop publishing.  InDesign is fully-integrated with its sister apps, Photoshop and Illustrator. Another page layout program is Adobe Pagemaker, now discontinued but still around.

DON'T use Microsoft Word as a desktop publishing application. Word does have many of the same layout features as desktop publishing apps such as Quark and InDesign (i.e., it can create columns, import graphics, create nice laser prints, etc.) but when it comes to commercial printing, Word is not going to get you very far. Microsoft Word, WordPerfect, etc. are word processing applications, NOT desktop publishing/layout programs. They handle font replacement differently and often cause reflow.  If you can do your output as a PDF that is set to your printers specifications.

DON'T create your page layout for multi-page documents in draw programs such as Illustrator or Freehand.  Always use desktop publishing programs like InDesign if possible.

DO provide the printer with a hard copy laser printout of your project, as well as all of your layout files, graphics and fonts. Inkjet printers are fine for initial proofing and printing, but always get a final printout (and proof it) from a PostScript laser printer.

DON'T assume that what you have printed out and submitted as hard copy or see on your monitor is what you will get. Take a letter by letter, word by word look at proofs supplied by the printer. Never assume that your printer will catch your mistakes, errors and omissions.

DO follow your printer's advice and suggestions.  That will always save you money in the long run.

DON'T assume that you know more than the printer.

Presented By
MI Printing
Phone: 623.582.1302

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

More about Ink

Inks are found in almost every aspect of human activity. We read newspapers, magazines, and books on a daily basis. We post lists on our refrigerators, jot things down on our calenders, and leave sticky notes for our coworkers and friends. We make piles of photocopies and print lots of pages from our computers. We buy myriad packaged consumer products printed with ink. We use stamps and money, again printed with ink. And if you delve into finding out more about ink, you will learn that people use a lot of ink writing about ink.

What is ink?  It is an organic or inorganic pigment or dye dissolved or suspended in a solvent--essentially the same as paint.

The first inks were fruit or vegetable juices; protective secretions from cephalopods such as squid, cuttlefish, and octopus; blood from some types of shellfish; and tannin from galls, nuts, or bark from trees. The first man-made ink appeared in Egypt about 4,500 years ago and was made from animal or vegetable charcoal (lampblack) mixed with glue.

Today's inks are divided into two classes: printing inks and writing inks. Printing inks are further broken down into two subclasses: ink for conventional printing, in which a mechanical plate comes in contact with or transfers an image to the paper or object being printed on; and ink for digital nonimpact printing, which includes ink-jet and electrophotographic technologies.

Color printing inks are made primarily with linseed oil, soybean oil, or a heavy petroleum distillate as the solvent (called the vehicle) combined with organic pigments. The pigments are made up of salts of multiring nitrogen-containing compounds (dyes), such as yellow lake, peacock blue, phthalocyanine green, and diarylide orange. Inorganic pigments also are used in printing inks to a lesser extent. Some examples are chrome green (Cr2O3), Prussian blue (Fe4[Fe(CN)6]3), cadmium yellow (CdS), and molybdate orange (a mix of lead chromate, molybdate, and sulfate).

Black ink is made using carbon black. And white pigments, such as titanium dioxide, are used either by themselves or to adjust characteristics of color inks. Inks also contain additives such as waxes, lubricants, surfactants, and drying agents to aid printing and to impart any desired special characteristics.

Printing ink is a $10 billion global industry. The Census Bureau tracks about 250 printing ink companies in the U.S., which produced 2.2 billion lb of ink with sales of $4 billion.

So what's in the future for ink? Could ink someday become obsolete? The advent of personal computers, personal electronics, and the Internet may one day replace libraries full of printed books and periodicals with electronic products. But the great paperless society hasn't begun to show itself yet, people simply like paper too much. And as long as there's paper, then there will be ink.

Presented By
MI Printing
Phone: 623.582.1302

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Types of Ink

Ink is a liquid or paste that contains pigments and/or dyes and is used to color a surface to produce an image, text, or design. Ink is used for drawing and/or writing with a pen, brush, or quill. Thicker inks, in paste form, are used extensively in letterpress and lithographic printing.

Ink can be a complex medium, composed of solvents, pigments, dyes, resins, lubricants, solubilizers, surfactants, particulate matter, fluorescers, and other materials. The components of inks serve many purposes; the ink’s carrier, colorants, and other additives control flow and thickness of the ink and its appearance when dry.

Pigment inks are used more frequently than dyes because they are more color-fast, but they are also more expensive, less consistent in color, and have less of a color range than dyes.

Pigments are solid, opaque particles suspended in ink to provide color. Pigment molecules typically link together in crystalline structures that are 0.1–2 ┬Ám in size and comprise 5–30 percent of the ink volume. Qualities such as hue, saturation, and lightness vary depending on the source and type of pigment.

Dye-based inks are generally much stronger than pigment-based inks and can produce much more color of a given density per unit of mass. However, because dyes are dissolved in the liquid phase, they have a tendency to soak into paper, making the ink less efficient and potentially allowing the ink to bleed at the edges of an image.

To circumvent this problem, dye-based inks are made with solvents that dry rapidly or are used with quick-drying methods of printing, such as blowing hot air on the fresh print. Other methods include harder paper sizing and more specialized paper coatings. The latter is particularly suited to inks used in non-industrial settings (which must conform to tighter toxicity and emission controls), such as inkjet printer inks. Another technique involves coating the paper with a charged coating. If the dye has the opposite charge, it is attracted to and retained by this coating, while the solvent soaks into the paper. Cellulose, the wood-derived material most paper is made of, is naturally charged, and so a compound that complexes with both the dye and the paper's surface aids retention at the surface. Such a compound in common use in ink-jet printing inks is polyvinyl pyrrolidone.

An additional advantage of dye-based ink systems is that the dye molecules interact chemically with other ink ingredients. This means that they can benefit more than pigmented ink from optical brighteners and color-enhancing agents designed to increase the intensity and appearance of dyes. Because dyes get their color from the interaction of electrons in their molecules, the way the electrons can move is determined by the charge and extent of electron delocalization in other ink ingredients. The color emerges as a function of the light energy that falls on the dye. Thus, if an optical brightener or color enhancer absorbs light energy and emits it through or with the dye, the appearance changes, as the spectrum of light re-emitted to the observer changes.

A more recent development in dye-based inks are dyes that react with cellulose to permanently color the paper. Such inks are not affected by water, alcohol, and other solvents.[citation needed] As such, their use is recommended to prevent frauds that involve removing signatures, such as check washing. This kind of ink is most commonly found in gel inks and in certain fountain pen inks.

Presented By
MI Printing
Phone: 623.582.1302

Monday, January 16, 2012

Soy Ink

Soy ink is a kind of Ink made from Soybeans. As opposed to traditional Petroleum-based ink, soy-based ink:

■ is more Environmentally friendly
■ is available in brighter colors
■ improves the life span of the printers
■ makes it easier to recycle paper
■ is more economic in the long run

Soybean oil is an edible vegetable oil, soy ink is not edible or 100% biodegradable because the pigments and other additives that are mixed with the oil are the same as those used in petroleum-based inks. They are, however, overwhelmingly more environmentally friendly. Degradability studies conducted by Erhan and Bagby concluded that the pigment cartier in 100-percent soy ink degrades almost twice as completely as ink made from soy oil and petroleum resins, and more than four times as completely as standard petroleum inks. Similarly, soy ink is a helpful component in Paper recycling because the soy ink can be removed more easily than regular ink from paper during the de-inking process. This allows the recycled paper to have less damage to its paper fibers and have a brighter appearance. The waste that is left from the soy ink during the de-inking process is not hazardous and it can be treated easily through the development on modern processes.

Soybean oil is naturally clearer than petroleum distillates and other vegetable oils, making it easier to obtain brightly colored ink. Since the oil is clearer, less pigment is necessary to produce the same effect, which reduces the overall cost of the ink. The higher oil to pigment ratio renders the inks easier to recycle as well. Recent studies involving engineering of certain oils in the bean have resulted in even clearer oils.
In addition to a brighter ink, some printers report that they need less ink to print the same amount of paper when compared to petroleum inks. Soy ink has been found to spread approximately 15% further, reducing ink use and printer cleanup costs.

Newspapers use soy ink regularly, especially for color because it creates a sharper and brighter image. Color newspaper inks are more competitive to petroleum-based inks as well. They are only about five to ten percent more because the price is more due to the cost of the pigment, which is not as big a factor with black inks. Color soy inks are more widely accepted because they become the most quickly cost effective after savings in terms of excess pigment, VOC and printer cleanup costs. This “overall cost” for soy inks is significantly lower than the initial market price, and it is at this point that they become competitive with their petroleum counterparts.

Soy ink is not a perfect solution to the problems associated with the production of ink. For example, it cannot be used in Ballpoint pens and personal printers. One major problem with soy ink is that it takes more time to dry than petroleum-based inks, due to its lack of evaporative solvents in the form of VOCs. This creates challenges for some Printing presses, especially those that use coated papers (such as magazines) instead of porous, uncoated paper (such as newspapers) where the ink can dry via absorption.

Presented By
MI Printing
Phone: 623.582.1302

Friday, January 13, 2012

MI Printing: Indoor Magnets

Make your advertising message STICK!
Indoor Magnets... Several Sizes and Styles available  4/0 (Full Color One Side), 17pt UV coated stock.   From customer supplied art. Art should be 300dpi PDF file.

At MI Printing we can take care of all of your specialty printing needs.  Learn about the many options we offer for your business printing needs.  Questions... Please give us a call at 623-582-1302.

Please ask about money saving larger quantity print runs.  For best results a high quality PDF file is required for the customer supplied artwork.

Thank You
Matt & Paula

Presented By
MI Printing
Phone: 623.582.1302

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Embossing: Part III

Stock Selection
Factors to consider in stock selection include surface characteristics, grain, gauge, weight, material density, printing inks or coatings to be applied, and finishing processes to be used. Generally, the stocks most receptive to embossing dies are stocks that are uncoated, heavier in weight, and have a felt finish. Embossing on heavier stocks will most often provide greater dimensional depth and detail. If some of the stock being embossed or hot stamped is thicker in gauge, advise the engraver to "tool" increased depth into the die to give more definition when it is embossed. The greater depth will compensate for thickness, memory, and stock resistance. It is desirable to have the die "bottom out" or strike the paper at the point where the stretch of the material comes close to reaching it's maximum limit without cracking or tearing.

Coated, varnished, or lightweight stocks have a tendency to crack when embossed. Paper and ink have limitations in the degree that they can be stretched before cracking. Coatings cannot be stretched, so care should be taken with any type of embossing on coated or varnished stock. Embossing with foil instead of ink can assist to eliminate cracking on coated stocks. If heat is applied to the embossed die, such as in foil stamping or glazing, it will increase the chances of the coated and lightweight stock becoming brittle, which may cause the embossing process to crack the stock after the die strikes the material.

Textured stocks may compete with the embossed image if the texture is too deep. However, for a blind emboss, a slightly textured stock provides the best results. Consider the direction of the paper grain when embossing or scoring. Emboss and score in the direction of the grain since going against the grain can cause cracking problems. Occasionally, such as with borders, it is necessary to go against the grain to achieve the desired effect. Recycled paper may cause the embossing to be inconsistent in appearance from sheet to sheet, since the higher the content of recycled fibers, the weaker the stock when exposed to heat and pressure. Use paper with 30% post-consumer fiber or less. Long-fiber sheets are the best for embossing, since they are capable of handling a wider variety of embossing dies, particularly the deeper dies. Sulfate and foils are the best board stocks to be used when embossing packaging materials.

Artwork Preparation
Set copy or create images with fonts above 12 point and lines thicker than 2 point. Use images that are more open and have fewer thin lines. Embossing will have a tendency to fill in small, enclosed areas, thin lines, or closely kerned text. Thin serifs do not emboss well unless they are large and well defined. It is generally best to prepare images slightly larger than the size desired. This is to compensate for the resulting dimensional effect that occurs because the paper thickness tends to change the size of the image. For greater depth, provide more letter space in the artwork. Copy or images with very close registration may involve extra work and greater cost. Be careful not to use trapping techniques on any artwork appearing adjacent to embossing and foil stamping. Screened copy and images with changes in tones do not reproduce effectively into dies for embossing, so line art should be created as if it were a solid image or solid color. If a beveled die is to be used, the artwork and copy for the image may need to be slightly enlarged to compensate for the image and copy reduction that occurs due to the beveled edges. Keep images at least 1/2" away from the edge of the stock being embossed in order to eliminate wrinkles that will occur if the embossed image is too close to the edge of the stock.

Presented By
MI Printing
Phone: 623.582.1302

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Embossing: Part II

Appearance and Shapes
Embossing is basically used to create an effect. The greatest concern and emphasis on the client's behalf should be placed on the outcome of the embossed effect. In order to achieve the most distinctive effect, it's important to understand the embossing process and the types of dies that are used for embossing.

The three factors that need to be controlled during the embossing process are:
Pressure - The intensity of the impact on the weight of the stock being embossed.

Heat - The ability to keep the heat consistent and at a proper level for the best impression.

Die Depth - The client's artwork or the engraver's efforts will initially determine this, however, if by looking at the artwork it appears necessary, the die may need to be tooled to gain greater depth.

Types of Dies

The die is straight and level with only one depth. It is generally used for lines, borders, and single-dimension images or line art. It provides a well-defined edge for the image.

It is also referred to as a dimensional die. Several distinct levels of depth are used to add a variance in dimension to the image. It is often used with images having unique detail such as landscapes or feathers.

Round Edge
A round edge die provides a soft edge effect rather than a hard ruled edge. It is often used to provide the sense of a round object coming outward from the paper and continuing out beyond the stock.

Beveled Edge
An alternative that provides the appearance of combining the softness of a round edge with the well defined lines of a distinct edge. It is very effective when used in heavier gauge stocks that may tear easily upon impact.

A hand-tooled brass die that has a variety of depths.
Varying levels of the sculptured die create a dimensional depth and appearance for the embossed image. It is very effective for blind embossing and scorching.

Presented By
MI Printing
Phone: 623.582.1302

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Embossing: Part I

Often used in combination with foil stamping, embossing is a process that applies pressure to the backside of a material to alter the surface, giving it a three dimensional or raised effect. The procedure involves the use of two dies, one fitting into the other so that the raised die forces the stock into the recessed die to create the embossed impression. A die maker engraves the desired image, or copy, into several metal plates, which are the embossing dies for use on an embossing press. Generally, embossing is the process most often employed to attract attention or convey a high quality textural contrast in relation to the surrounding area of the stock. A thorough understanding of the process will allow for a more successful result. An embossed image is shown below.

Debossing is the term used to describe the opposite process or effect, which involves applying pressure to the front side of a stock forcing the material away or down from the paper surface. Although it is not as commonly used as embossing, debossing is occasionally used to provide a different effect or appearance that fits a particular theme. A debossed image is shown below.

Types of Embossing

Blind Emboss - Blind embossing does not include the use of ink or foil to highlight the embossed area. The change in the dimensional appearance of the material is the only noticeable difference resulting from the embossing. The blind embossing process provides a clean and distinctive or subtle image on paper stock. It is best used to create a subtle impression or low level of attention to the piece, yet provide some slight form of differentiation for the finished work. 

Registered Emboss - Registered embossing is a process that places the embossed image in alignment with another element created with ink, foil, punching, or with a second embossed image. In the illustration below, the blind emboss is aligned within the larger printed circle to produce a registered emboss.

Combination Emboss - Combination embossing is the process of embossing and foil stamping the same image. It involves imprinting and aligning foil over an embossed image to create a foil emboss. A sculptured die, generally made of brass is used for this procedure. The process requires close registration that must be controlled to keep the image and foil matched precisely. A combination die is used to foil stamp and emboss in one operation. The combination die has a cutting edge around the outside of the die to cleanly break the excess foil away from the embossed area.

Pastelling - Pastelling is also referred to as tint leaf embossing. It involves the process of using a combination die to provide a subtle antique appearance to a substrate that is foil stamped and embossed. Pearl finishes, clear gloss, or similar pastel foil finishes can be selected giving a soft two-color antique look (without scorching) to the embossed image. Lighter colored stocks work best to provide this soft contrasting effect.

Glazing - Glazing refers to a finished embossed area that has a shiny or polished appearance. Most often this process involves heat that is applied with pressure in order to create a shined and burned impression into the stock. Generally, darker colored heavier weight stocks work best to create this polished effect and to eliminate or soften any burned appearance that may result from the heat. When used with foil, the process creates a slightly brighter appearance to the foil.

Scorching - Scorching is similar to glazing except that it is not used to polish the stock. Instead, scorching does what it implies: as the temperature of the die heating plate is increased beyond the normal temperature range, a scorched effect is created in the embossed image resulting in an antique or shaded appearance to the stock. A lighter colored stock is best for this procedure to provide a unique two-toned appearance. Caution should be used in requesting this effect, since it is easy to burn the stock if too much heat is used. If scorching occurs too close to the printed copy, it can interfere with the clarity of the printed copy, unless the objective is to accomplish that effect.

Presented By
MI Printing
Phone: 623.582.1302

Monday, January 9, 2012

Tips on Choosing Paper: Part III

7. The Printing Process
If your budget allows for specialty printing processes, such as embossing, foil stamping, letterpress and the like, make sure your paper is suitable for these techniques. Look at printed samples. They are available and you just have to ask for them.

As digital printing becomes more and more popular, be aware not to speck a digital sheet for an offset press and vice versa. Digital printing papers are made specifically to perform under the high heat/low moisture conditions of a digital printer or press. Offset papers are manufactured to perform at low temperatures and with liquid inks.

You will see that many mills offer digital side lines for their established grades and there are more coming into the market all the time -- from white sheets to metallic papers that run with ease on digital presses.
Using the right paper for the printing process, whether digital, offset or specialty, eliminates one variable in print production that can cause problems -- and we don't have time for problems.

8. Price
It has happened to all of us. We have champagne taste on a beer budget. Paper averages 30 percent of the cost of a print project. That is not a small percentage and definitely one to take a closer look at, if you work on a tight budget.

There are a lot of ways to "cut corners" and save on the general paper cost, but this would make for a whole article in itself.

Talk to your printer or speck rep and ask for lower cost alternatives.

And if you are specking a coated white sheet, look at your grades and see what the best sheet one grade down has to offer.

9. Availability
If you were told in the beginning stages of your project that the paper you have specked will be shipped from Wisconsin and you are based in sunny California, allow for some lead time. You will be well prepared and this will not be an issue for you.

We do hear of frustration when it comes to a paper's availability and the term "mill item" comes up a lot. Be aware that a mill item to one merchant might be readily available on the floor of the next merchant.
Around 80% of print jobs in the U.S. are printed on coated or uncoated white paper. This is what sells the most and this is what you will definitely find in every merchant warehouse.

Due to the economic situation, merchants and printers try to carry less stock to assume less financial responsibility. Mills have, in general, warehouses all over the country and make sure they are always are well stocked, so you can have your paper in days, not weeks.

When it comes to specialty papers, especially those manufactured overseas, certain amounts are stocked in warehouses here in the U.S., but if you need a larger amount, they will immediately tell you if they need any extra lead time. Mills like Gmund from Germany and the French Thibierge & Comar are known to airfreight your paper to the U.S., if needed.

If you are in a rush and flexible when it comes to your paper choice, consider your printer's house sheets. As printers buy those in bulk, they are readily available and you will usually get a good price.

In most cases, your printer is your best friend and you should have a good working relationship. But every once in a while, we hear about someone who tries to avoid asking more than one merchant for a specific paper.

I warned you from the start that specking paper is very complex, but recent changes in the economy have created even more issues on paper availability that warrant discussion.

We hope we've clarified many of the features you need to consider when choosing the most appropriate paper for your projects. If you keep our tips in mind, selecting your next paper should be a breeze.

Presented By
MI Printing
Phone: 623.582.1302

Friday, January 6, 2012

MI Printing: Special Carbonless Forms

At MI Printing we can take care of all of your carbonless needs far beyond just carbonless forms.  These can be used for employment applications, order forms, job tickets, invoices, estimates or proposals. If needed, backside printing is available.

Please let us know what type of padding you expect for your forms.  For best results a PDF file is required for the customer supplied artwork.

Need to know more about all the uses for carbonless forms contact us at MI Printing.

We are ready to help just give us a call at 623.582.1302 for our current special pricing on carbonless forms.

Presented By
MI Printing
Phone: 623.582.1302

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Tips on Choosing Paper: Part II

4. Color and Brightness

There is white, white and white. And let no one tell you anything different. Papers are available in blue-white, balanced white, natural white, soft white -- you name it.

Blue-whites, which are very popular at the moment, have a higher-brightness and allow colors to stand out, while warmer whites, which have a lower-brightness, are more comfortable on the eyes for reading or extended viewing.

As you can imagine, not every white fits every purpose. Don't print warmer tones, such as skin tones, on a blue white sheet. It can easily make healthy-looking people look grey. This is what warmer white papers are made for.

Brightness. Yes, there is a definite hype going on when it comes to brightness. Don't get hung up on finding the brightest paper because even when two sheets are placed next to each other, you won't see a two-point difference in brightness.

Originally, AF&PA standards for paper grades determined that a No. 2 sheet had a brightness of 83-84 and a No. 3 sheet's brightness was 80-83.

So, why do we see No. 3 sheets with brightness levels of over 90 these days? Let's just say, brightness is not the only paper mill concern anymore and a sheet is whatever a manufacturer chooses to call it. In the end, the grade is determined by marketing.

A good quality, bright sheet is usually a more expensive sheet to make. Fillers and chemicals, such as fluorescent dyes and optical brighteners, are needed to create the paper's bright appearance. While they help give the paper a blue-white shade, they also take a toll on the paper's stability and runnability on press.

When it comes to a premium or No. 1 sheet, you pay for great brightness and perfect runnability. But how do you know which sheet/grade is right for you? Once you are considering a sheet, ask your supplier for a printed sample of the best sheet one grade below and compare.

Mills are known to upgrade the quality of a sheet. Even though a sheet could pass for a No. 1 grade, the mill may have no offering in a No. 2 grade yet, so they sell it as a No. 2 grade to complete their palette and annoy the competition. It's all about marketing.

Color. As for colored paper, it can enhance a one-color job and serve as a background cover, but it can also affect the appearance of the printed text and images. Blue ink on an ochre-yellow sheet will look green. Some mills have made great promotions available which show exactly what you can expect when you print C, M, Y, or K on a their colored stock.

But there are other options than offset printing on a colored stock. Create an interesting cover with blind embossing, foil stamping and/or a die-cut window that reveals a full color image on the inside of the brochure.

5. Paper Weight, End Usage and Distribution

Now that we know which finish and color we want for our print job, lets look at weight. We have writing papers for letterheads, text sheets for text pages in a brochure and cover sheets. We all know that these guidelines don't really have a big impact on your paper choice anymore.

In keeping with an overall trend for heavier weights in stocks, a lot of designers spec 80-90 lbs. text for letterheads and use light cover stocks for complete brochures inside and out. With an eye on tight budgets, these heavier papers can make up for a lower page count and still give a credible, dependable feel.

Will the piece be mailed, mass mailed or handed out personally to selected prospects?

We discussed mail-outs earlier, so watch out for overall weight and when choosing reply or post cards, make sure the paper you speck is manufactured to the caliper required.

If you design stationery, be aware that in 99 percent of all cases, letterheads will be printed by laser or ink jet printers, so make sure the paper you speck is compatible for this specific use. When it comes to embossed finishes, many mills offer laser compatible versions of their textured sheets, called Light, as in a light version of cockle, or Imaging, as in imagine that looks like laid. This paper will still show the specific texture, but in a less embossed way, which makes it suitable for use in laser/ink jet printers.

If the paper is not specified for laser use, be sure to get a few sample sheets and test it yourself. When it comes to textured sheets, toner has a tendency to easily rub off, especially when touching the imprinted copy.

For educational or reference pieces with a long life span, pick a paper that offers sturdiness and durability. Synthetic papers, for example, have proven to be a great alternative to index stock, when it comes to tabs.

If a piece is handed out personally, you are home free -- no postal regulations, no weight constraints -- well, nearly none. Will the person handing out the piece or the recipient want to make notes on the piece? In that case, watch out for coated gloss papers or varnishes. Few pens write well on them and your prospects will be frustrated.

In cases where a lot of handling occurs and you are worried about fingerprints, a coating or varnish is definitely the way to go.

If your project will be printed on both sides and especially, if heavy ink coverage is involved, the paper's opacity is crucial. Make sure the paper you choose does not allow any show-through. If in doubt, go one step heavier in weight.

If you are working on a piece that will be mailed, the weight of the finished piece is a major consideration. Watch out for postage costs and make sure the finished piece is below the USPS requirements. Look at your dummy and don't forget there will be ink added to the weight, as well.

Always stay on the lighter side. I remember a beautiful holiday card I designed for a client that was ready to be mailed and fit the 32-cent postal requirements perfectly. But then, my client decided to add a gift certificate and the postage went up to 55 cents.

There is something else you should remember: if bulk and weight are important, an uncoated sheet will work better for you. Due to the clay coating, a coated paper will weigh more than its same-sized counterpart. Even though it weighs less, the same piece printed on an uncoated sheet will be thicker because uncoated paper naturally has a higher bulk.

If your job requires stiffness, such as with a business reply card, make sure the paper is manufactured to caliper and guarantees a specific thickness and stiffness.

Papers are manufactured to either caliper or weight. A paper manufactured to weight has a slightly fluctuating caliper, as the main concern during the production process is weight. If a paper is called out in "pt," or you see a footnote in your swatch book that states that this specific weight is manufactured to caliper, you are fine.

6. Recycled Content

Some of you might be very familiar with recycled papers. The fact is that government agencies and conservation groups continually advance the issue and put pressure on corporations to "think green." So be prepared.

When it comes to recycled papers, there are still a few misconceptions among designers and print buyers. Some believe that all papers are recycled anyway, and others worry about having limited paper choices. There is also a perception that recycled papers have a potential for technical problems in the printing process. All these fears are unfounded.

If you think looking for recycled papers will limit your creativity, think again. From the 3,500 papers we feature at PaperSpecs, nearly 60 percent have some recycled content and more than 1,000 meet or exceed the current Environmental Protection Agency requirements.

The EPA standards for printing and writing papers are 30 percent post-consumer waste content for uncoated papers and 10 percent for coated papers. Many mills have created papers with the minimum requirements, while others are continually aiming to produce papers with higher recycled contents.

It is not only the post-consumer contents you should watch out for, but also the way the paper you choose is bleached.

For years, chlorine gas has been used to bleach paper, which produced cancer-causing dioxins that infiltrate our surface waters. Now most mills in the U.S. use ECF, an Elemental Chlorine Free process that reduces these toxins dramatically, but doesn't eliminate them completely.

A more environmentally friendly option is to look for paper that has not been bleached at all, or substitutes oxygen-based compounds for chlorine compounds. These papers are marked Totally Chlorine Free (TCF) when talking about virgin fibers, or Processed Chlorine Free (PCF) for recycled papers. The distinction is made because the origin of the content in recycled paper and the way it was bleached is not known and can't claim to be TCF.

Another option is to look for paper that is FSC-certified. This means that the fiber content in this paper, even though virgin, comes from plantations that are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council for sustainable forestry practices.

But, let's not forget about the paper's on-press performance. Today's recycled papers have come a long way, from what you might have heard about years ago, and run as smoothly on press as any virgin sheet. In addition, they are even known to score, fold and emboss better because recycled fibers are softer and allow these processes to be performed with ease.

Presented By
MI Printing
Phone: 623.582.1302

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Tips on Choosing Paper: Part I

Choosing paper is more complex than just picking the least expensive sheet and hoping for the best.

In fact, you shouldn't think about choosing paper based on the lowest or highest quality available, or even the highest quality you can afford. Rather, you should figure out the appropriate quality paper for your needs because the most appropriate equals the best choice.

The point is -- no one paper stock fits every project. Paper stock is complicated. It is three-dimensional and, in addition, no two print jobs are ever alike. The ink coverage, batch of paper, and moisture in the air -- all will affect the production of a printed piece.

We've compiled our top nine tips to help you find the right paper for your projects and we will prsent them three at a time over the next three days.

1. Choosing the Paper is Step One

As soon as the preliminary design is done, spec your paper and get quotes from printers. Tell your printer you are open to suggestions, not substitutes, but suggestions.

Depending on the sheet size we plan to use, small changes like 1/16th of an inch in the width of your piece can sometimes make a big difference to allow the job to fit better on the sheet. At this stage, you can still make small adjustments to the design.

Getting your quotes early will also make you aware of any turn-around times you should consider in your deadline. Make adjustments if the paper you have specked is readily available from your local merchant (1 day) or has to be shipped from the mill's warehouse (2-5 days).

2. Personality

Consider the life span of your printed piece. Is it a direct marketing piece, that on a good day, 5% of the recipients will look at? Or does your piece have a longer life span like an annual report, a marketing brochure or catalogue?

The personality of your piece, its life span, texture, color and coating determine the price range and quality of your paper, in addition to your budget.

Ask yourself what impression the piece should make. A non-profit organization asking for financial support sends a mixed message when its mailer is printed on a premium stock. Premium paper suggests luxury and the recipient may think, "why bother, they seem to have enough money anyway."

If you are printing a job that reflects environmental issues, choose papers with recycled content, visible fibers or a mixed composition with a lower brightness and a texture that conveys the environmental feel.

For projects that suggest luxury, metallics, iridescents, suede, leather and other specialty papers create a stunning first impression.

3. Finish

When designing a piece, we designers have a very clear idea of what kind of finish will enhance our design. Some designs ask for gloss, some need a matte finish -- don't mess with us, we know what we want.

If color and crisp image or photographic reproduction is your concern, a coated gloss, matte or silk sheet is always a great and safe choice. But, there is definitely a trend toward uncoated sheets.

Large corporations are aiming to portrait a softer, more understated image. With fluorescent inks and knowledgeable prepress technology, the natural surface of uncoated papers is an ideal background for four-color process printing.

The paper is not only there to give the ink a foundation, but to enhance the design of the image you want to portray. A great example is the Eddie Bauer piece that fits the company's personality to a "T." The texture and feel of the uncoated Neenah stock gives the impression of a sketchbook or diary kept while on a relaxing trip through the great outdoors.

Create a special interest even with a one-color print job. Don't shy away from trying something new, like unusually textured or specialty papers that already are a trend in Europe and are gaining more and more popularity here. The new generation of production techniques make it easier to convert, print and finish these sheets.

Don't be stuck with the same few paper choices over and over again. At MI Printing we can help you choose from hundreds of different paper stocks -- why limit yourself?

Presented By
MI Printing
Phone: 623.582.1302

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

How To Choose A Good Printer

How To Choose A Good Printer for your business?  Try running that question by Google and you will get thousands of answers and recommendations.

But, what if your questions is how to choose a local company to do printing for your local business ??? Not which laser or inkjet printer is the best!

You know what I mean now, right?  You want business cards, forms, letterhead, envelopes, brochures or anyone of hundreds of different “printed” paper products you need to conduct everyday business.

A Google search may not be the quickest way to get that answer.  You can ask around of other businesses in your area.  Who does a good job, on time, fair pricing and is on your budget.

This is one of those times when “Word-of-mouth” is a very good idea.  Many of our business contacts come from people we do business with that recommend us to their friend and business contacts. 

So, if your local area is the Valley of the Sun ( Metro Phoenix ) please give MI Printing a call and let us talk over your business “printing” needs.  That is 623.582.1302 and ask for Paula.

Presented By
MI Printing
Phone: 623.582.1302