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FLEXO Magazine : July 2012
Plants & Processes The Role of FIRST in Prepress Production Bringing Brand owners’ Vision to Fruition By Marshall Hogenson Prepress is the intermediary between design and press that ensures that the package the brand owner and designer envisioned is accurately represented when placed on a store shelf. This process requires an under- standing of the flexo printing, finishing processes, and timely dialogue to assure a positive result. (FIRST 4.0 section 10.1) Furthermore, the prepress provider is the keeper and enforcer of the standards, while at the same time allowing for the manipulation required in a complex flexo job. The prepress house and printer must work together to under- stand the capability of the printing and converting processes being used. From that information the prepress provider must provide the designer with accurate and timely information that is compatible with these processes. This may include films, files, proofs and plates. The prepress provider is also responsible for producing a contract proof to calculate the printed result. The goal is to make the product on the shelf match the brand owner’s vision. THE PROJECT PLAN The first step is developing a project plan. This plan is to ensure that the prepress provider thoroughly understands the requirements of the job as noted in FIRST 4.0 Section 10.2 . In every case, even when dealing with a very print-savvy design house, prepress will still form a team and confirm all specifications previously defined and agreed upon. The team consists of: • Team lead • Account manager • Sales • Production operator • Platemaking • Relevant specialists. This team will design and implement a project plan that includes delivery date and milestones, create and/or confirm price quotations and deliverables, proofing requirements and print specifications. Regardless if these have all been discussed in previous design meetings, they must still be confirmed. LEARN AND CONFIRM Now is the time to determine and confirm all of the job’s specifications. Picking up these details after the job has gone into production can only lead to delays and errors. These specifications include: • Substrate • Inks • Print technique • Finishing FIRST Time, every Time • Prepress requires an understanding of the flexo printing, finishing processes, and timely dialogue to assure a positive result • The prepress house and printer must work together to understand the capability of the printing and converting processes being used • The goal is to make the product on the shelf match the brand owner’s vision • The specifications and tolerances detailed in FIRST 4.0 give us the guidance to produce a complex, printed flexo job Flexo Plate analyzer measures halftone dot size on the finished plate. 46 FLEXO july 2012 www.flexography.org