Print Finishing covers every process that takes place after your job has been printed to get it to the completed and boxed stage. These can include but are not limited to, binding, varnishing, die-cutting and foil blocking. Below we chat about some of our favourites.
Die cutting – is process of cutting shapes into your paper or card after the job has been printed. It is created by using a sharp steel blade which is formed into your specific shape fitted in a special machine where pressure is applied as paper runs through to cut out with a crisp smooth edge. The shapes that can be cut are boundless from the simple to highly complex with each die being customised for the piece it is creating. Die cutting can be done on either flatbed or rotary presses.
Embossing and debossing – are the processes of creating either raised or recessed words or images onto your paper or card. With embossing the embossed pattern is raised against the background, while a debossed pattern is sunken into the surface of the material. You will most probably see this visually striking 3D effect of embossing or debossing on letterheads or book covers.
Foil blocking – applies a very thin layer of foil or metallic pigment to your paper using a heated die and pressure. This combination ensures that the foil is adhered permanently to the paper giving you a super metallic end result. There is a wide range of foil finishes available to choose, from standard colours to iridescent and holographic each one giving that extra special finish to any printed project.
Lamination – a thin film of plastic is heated onto your paper, either for additional protection or to add a decorative finish. Lamination comes in gloss, silk and matt finishes.
Varnishes – an alternative to lamination, liquid varnish is applied via the printing press to either the whole side of your paper or in specific areas. It can be used to highlight words or images to give them that extra standout. Varnishes come in matt, gloss, satin or textured finishes. Textured varnishes are able to replicate the sensory element of the printed image.
As you can see all of the above are machine finishes, so what about all those other fiddly jobs that are too customised to go onto a machine? That’s where hand finishing comes in. A team of highly dexterous (usually female, sorry guys but it’s the truth), skilled finishers do what machines cannot. This can include counting, collating, packing, strapping, affixing, tieing, glueing, wrapping and packing, binding, sewing – here the list is endless.
Once you understand the benefits and mechanics of each print finish it will add a depth and confidence to your design . A word of caution however, too many print finishes can ruin detract from your design or worse still make your finished piece look cluttered or too busy.