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FLEXO Magazine : July 2011
story, particularly if the shadow sits largely offset from the object casting it. While advanced screening tech- niques or flat-top dots might lessen the printed effect of “puddled” shadows, they ’re not perfect solutions. Both designers and CPCs should be aware of how these shadows will print without fading into minimum dot coverage. Similarly, a common design tech- nique is to have a depth of field photog- raphy shot fade into white or another color without a minimum dot percent- age. Once again due to flexographic dot gain, a fade is going to look very artificial and create a hard, “puddled” edge around a blurred object. In order to be effective, photography that contains depth of field, should fade into a background color that carries some of the same minimum dots used in the image. It’s a lot to ask of designers, because it can be limiting to their cre- ativity, but in these instances, you want them to think like a separator. Another common consideration that I’ve seen numerous times is the use of combination colors. By this, I’m refer- ring to instances of a color that prints as both a solid and a screen, but is treated as the same separation. It requires the designer to think like a separator and have a basic understanding of anilox rolls. Because fine screens and dense, full coverage solids require different anilox roll counts to transfer the correct amount of ink, they often need to be thought of as unconnected separations. Designers may innocently screen an instance of color or apply a transparen- cy to an object without considering the effect that this may have on the printing, unknowing that it may add a separation to the design. One of the more unsuspecting design hiccups for some printers is the use of large horizontal bars or stripes of color in a package design. Think of it as a chunk missing from your tire: as a plate turns around the cylinder during printing, the areas without the stripes of color can bounce as it goes around at high speeds, much like a car tire as it drives along the road. Bounce can be limited by staggering jobs across the wide web, but it’s not a perfect solu- tion. As a result, the print may “band” or “ghost,” and the printer will have to lessen the effect by slowing down the press. These horizontal stripes can be major speed inhibitors for some press operators. Designers should also be aware of the unpredictability of overprinting spot color reproduction. As prepress providers generally do not color profile spot colors, they will not be able to ac- curately simulate the appearance that a process or spot color overprinting on top of another spot color takes on the proof. Onscreen, the colors may take on the general appearance desired by the CPC, but the printed output us- ing ink pigments may take on a vastly different appearance, one that cannot be predicted with a proof without some significant pre-work from the printer and prepress provider. EXPANDED GAMUT When released into the world of flexography and adopted by major CPCs, expanded gamut became a total game changer for designers. It eliminat- ed restrictions on the number of colors that a package could have. It made overprinting colors a concern of the past. It alleviated worries over combi- nation colors in printing. More impor- tantly, it introduced a whole new series of design considerations and made it even more imperative that designers think like separators when creating new designs. To be effective, they must fundamentally understand that all spot colors will eventually break down into multi-channel separations. One commonly overlooked mistake when designing for expanded gamut is having small, colored type or strokes in the file--generally, anything less than 12-point type or 2-point strokes. As that colored element gets refined in the workflow, it will process out into percent- ages of color in different separations. These separations become plates, and those plates will need to register on press. Type and small strokes become much more legible and clear when made from a single base color instead- - a black or a blue, for example. It’s best www.flexography.org July 2011 FLEXO 31 Harper has devoted an entire division to help flexographic printers and converters achieve unprecedented levels of consistency, quality and profitability. Using our exclusive SHarper SystemTM we eliminate variables that impact quality and increase predictability of press results. Call 800-438-3111 for a free copy. Smart. To learn more, call 704.588.3371 or Toll Free at 800.438 .3111 Or visit our website. Graphicsolutions DiVision harpE riM a GE.coM Americas • Europe • Asia ©2011