Proficiency in print processes is pressing
Print is far from dead. In fact, printing techniques are changing and growing at a rapid pace.
As the gaggles of swatch books and stacks of postcards, posters and packaging samples collect dust on our office shelves, it’s as important as ever to stay abreast of printing capabilities and trends.
As such, the creative team at Mottis has been bolstering its knowledge of the print world. Here’s how we’re doing it — you can too.
- Refresh your resources.
As the paper industry changes, so do papers. Get in touch with paper sales representatives in your area and request the latest samples. And, though doing so can be expensive, make sure your Pantone swatch books are up to date as well — especially because our favorite color powerhouse just released 336 new colors. Store all your samples away from direct light and in a temperature-controlled environment to keep the colors crisp.
- See what your printer can do.
Ask your current print vendors, as well as others in the area, to show you their best work. Our team recently sat down with one of ours, and it was so insightful to see some of the cool stuff other organizations are putting together, especially through the eyes of the printer. They’re experts, and they can always help you figure out the best way to put together your next complex print project.
- Learn some new techniques.
It’d be silly for a designer to pretend like she knows everything about printing techniques, so it’s good to look to other resources. I recently purchased The Print Handbook, a design bible I keep at my desk. It’s a guide to printing processes and pointers, offering examples of paper types and file types, colors, foil stamping and binding and folding techniques. What makes the book even better is that it utilizes Mottis’s Pantone Orange 021, so it comes in even more handy at my desk. (You’re not out of luck, though, if your brand uses another PMS — the book is still very educational.) There are oodles of printing resources online, too, such as Designer’s Toolbox, Foldfactory, Prepressure and Printernational, for starters.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Make use of the vast knowledge and experiences of your creative team. Call up your printer. Ask the Twitterverse. You can also check out the “Ask the Experts“ section on the blog FPO (For Print Only). These press-savvy pundits answer reader-submitted questions on topics like foil stamping, letterpress, paper, plates and varnish. The blog itself is also a great resource for inspiration: Readers submit production details and project overviews for completed printed matter, from annual reports to business cards to packaging, providing much visual stimulus.
Whether you’re an account exec or a creative, having a little savoir-faire when it comes to the press can only prove utilitarian to your team and to your clients. Do yourself and your team a favor and brush up.