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Navigating the printing journey: understanding the process from concept to final product

15 Jan, 2024

You’d be forgiven for thinking that the printing process is simple—just email a digital file to us at Rawson Print & Packaging and voilà, a short time later you’re opening a box of your beautiful, freshly printed pamphlets, brochures or packaging.

 

In reality, print and packaging processes are complex, use intricate machines and technology, and require a team of skilled experts who are great at making it all appear effortless on the surface.

 

Today, we’ll share some “secrets” of each stage of the printing journey, from concept to printing to delivery, so you know what goes into making your job a smooth one.

 

Design and planning

Planning is key! The process starts with your in-house designer or design agency: conceptualising the idea, choosing colours and fonts and designing the final look or layout of your item. While finalising the design, it’s also essential your designer considers technical aspects such as image resolution and colour profiles, to ensure optimal print quality.

 

Well in advance of supplying us—your printer—with artwork files, it’s also important to check in on several factors. A few questions we’ll cover include:

  • When do you need finished prints delivered?
  • Are they going to one location or several?
  • What’s your budget?
  • Do you want any embellishments? More on these options below.
  • What’s your ideal printing material? This might be paper, card, board, vinyl, fabric, plastic, etc., and could include recycled, heavy duty, coated, uncoated, textured/laid stock, and the stock weight (gsm or grams per square metre).
  • Do you want to proof the job digitally (onscreen) or in hard copy before we print?

 

These help us recommend the best printing option for you and create a production timeline to ensure everything runs smoothly and stress-free.

 

You’ll then be ready to send us the digital file of your artwork, ready for the next step: prepress.

 

Prepress

Prepress is the bridge between design and hitting the “print” button.

 

Our prepress process ensures that your digital file accurately translates into the finished piece you expect at the end of production. We’ll check it’s print-ready, colours are adjusted, design finishes are confirmed and printing plates are created (for offset jobs).

 

Modern prepress workflows like ours involve sophisticated technologies, quality control inspections and testing to catch potential issues before printing. This guarantees consistent quality and reduces the likelihood of costly mistakes and waste during printing.

 

Proofing your print job after it’s gone through prepress is also critical. Sometimes, despite all the prepress processes, what you see on screen isn’t always what you get, and we need to make tweaks. We offer options for both digital and physical proofs, depending on your job.

 

So while it may seem like double or triple handling, a thorough prepress process means that when we hit “print”, the result will be exactly what you want.

The printing process

The printing stage is often the quickest of all the steps! The quantity, product type, delivery timeline, budget and finishing process all determine which of our many printers are used.

 

We offer three types of printing, each with different benefits.

Digital printing

Digital printing is quick, high-quality and cost-effective for small and medium print runs of 1–1000 copies. Digital printing can be used for items such as stationery printing, business cards and brochures, as well as larger items such as A2 posters and wrapping paper.

Offset printing

Offset printing produces high-quality work with accurate colour reproduction that’s more cost-effective for volumes of 500 to 1 million copies and beyond, because it has higher setup fees involved in creating printing plates. Ink is transferred from the plate to a rubber cylinder and then onto the paper or other material being printed.

Wide format printing

As the name suggests, wide or large format printing is perfect for large-scale graphics such as banners, signage and exhibition displays.

What about packaging?

We specialise in fibre-based, folding carton packaging used across a number of sectors, from food, pharmaceuticals, beauty and cosmetics, to consumer goods and promotional items. Product packaging is generally offset printed to allow large volumes of high-quality packaging products to be created.

 

Finishing

After printing, any finishing services you’ve chosen during the design stage are added. Examples of finishing processes that we offer in-house at Rawson are:

  • Post-printing procedures:special shapes and tear-away features; holes for attaching tags; die-cutting and tabbing (creating unique shapes and designs by cutting through the material); perforation, scoring and folding; and even padding.
  • Embellishments:metallic foiling, embossing or debossing (raised or depressed textures and patterns) can add a three-dimensional effect; micromotion gives a special moving effect when viewed from different angles.
  • Book binding:transform loose pages into cohesive books and booklets using a variety of stitching and binding techniques.
  • Coatings:add protection through options including gloss and matt celloglazes; scuff-resistant and soft-touch celloglazes; soft metallic finishes; and soft-touch aqueous, UV-resistant or even scented varnishes!

 

Choosing the right finishing options can greatly enhance the look, feel, functionality and durability of your printed materials. The choice can also depend on the intended purpose of your job and your budget.

 

Overwhelmed by the choices? Never fear! Rawson’s experienced team can help you choose the right finishing services. We can even assist with construction design, mock-ups and samples, so you can see and touch examples of what your finished product can look like.

 

Packing and delivery

Your finished job looks great off the press, but what next? Good packaging for transport plays a crucial role in protecting your printed materials during transit so they reach you or your clients in pristine condition.

 

Timely and secure dispatch and delivery also minimises delays. While Rawson Print & Packaging is located in Sydney, we work with and deliver to clients across Australia.

 

Ready to click print?

Now that you understand the whole printing process, get in touch with our friendly team to discuss some of the highest quality printing services Australia-wide at Rawson Print & Packaging!

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Note: This is only a preliminary enquiry form. A Rawson Print & Packaging representative will reach out to you for more information so we can assist you better.

If you have artwork files, print ready PDFs or knifelines that you’d like to share with us, please go to the detailed contact form here.