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FLEXO Magazine : July 2012
FILE NAMING FIRST provides guidance on file naming because even a minor error with files can cause a major issue during produc- tion. File naming conventions may take into consideration SKUs, job numbers, or UPC references. Suffixes identify and distinguish formats and variations of working files, such as: abcdefgh.tif; abcdefgh.eps; or abcdefgh.psd TYPES OF PROOFS Since proofs are integral at key stages in the process, FIRST describes the benefits of each —Concept Proof, Color Target, Comp/Mock Up or Profile Proof — and when to use them during workflow milestones. TYPOGRAPHY Font selection is critical for flexographic packages. Dur- ing the printing process, text that prints positive will tend to flatten, while text that is reversed out will tend to fill in, lose fine lines and serifs, and become plugged. The FIRST Design Guide contains helpful tables (an example appears on this page) with tips for minimum type sizes when using serif and sans fonts segmented by press type and substrates. Other important considerations for typography include registration tolerances, process color type, drop shadow, spaces and tabs, text wrap and fonts. DESIGN ELEMENTS Key design elements are custom and special colors, bar code design, screen ruling, tints and ink colors. The Design Guide states custom colors in a file should represent only the actual inks, or tints of those inks, that will be printed. Several pages in the Design Guide are dedicated to bar codes since it’s such a critical element of the package. The nu- merous bar code types are listed, along with illustrations and descriptions for determining the optimal size and location. DOCUMENT STRUCTURE In the Document Structure section, the FIRST Design Guide details the importance of naming conventions; document size; working in layers; auto-traced/revectorized art; blends, vignettes, gradations; imported images; electronic whiteout; image capture quality and scanning considerations; scaling and resizing; and color space. FILE FORMATS Using consistent file formats is essential to the success of packaging production. The FIRST Design Guide covers specified formats, Portable Document File (PDF), clip art, FPO images, special effects, image substitution, file transfer recommendations, and program applications. PREFLIGHT To make certain all components of a design have been sup- plied and received as intended, FIRST requires preflight. The process entails documenting, collecting and testing files prior to release to another production partner. 64 FLEXO july 2012 www.flexography.org 9 FLEXOGRAPHIC IMAGE REPRODUCTION SPECIFICATIONS & TOLERANCES 3.0 TYPE AND DESIGN ELEMENTS 3.1 Typography: Know the Print Process Capabilities Due to the nature of the flexographic process, text that prints positive will tend to fatten while text that is reversed out will tend to fill in, lose fine lines and serifs, and become plugged. Therefore, when selecting fonts, care and attention is critical. Tables 3.1a and 3.1b provide general guidelines by flexographic print segment. Because the minimum type size and rule width are print system dependent, the designer should confirm rule width and type style & size with the print provider. When attempting to increase the weight of a serif font, it is not always effective to use the bold, heavy, black, or ultra versions. When fonts are changed to a heavier version, verify the text did not reflow. Type can be stroked to increase its thickness, but the “counters” (holes in letters such as a, d, o, e and R) may fill in, so care must be used. Table 3.1a Minimum Type Size: General Guidelines Minimum type size is print system dependent; determine minimum type size with a press fingerprint. Segment Substrate Positive Reverse Printer Specific Positive Reverse Serif (ex:Times Roman) Sans Serif (ex: Helvetica) Serif Sans Serif Serif Sans Serif Serif Sans Serif Wide Web Preprint Linerboard All 8 pt. 6pt. 10pt. 8pt. Combined Corrugated White Top 8 pt. 6pt. 10pt. 8pt. Coated Paper 6 pt. 4 pt. 8pt. 6pt. Folding Carton All 6 pt. 4 pt. 8pt. 6pt. Multiwall Bag Coated Paper 8 pt. 6pt. 12pt. 10pt. Uncoated Paper 10 pt. 8pt. 18pt. 12pt. Film Products Polyester 8 pt. 6pt. 12pt. 10pt. Polypropylene, Polyethylene, & Metallized 8 pt. 6pt. 10pt. 8pt. Newsprint Uncoated Paper 10 pt. 7 pt. 11 pt. 10 pt. Narrow Web Paper Products All 6 pt. 4 pt. 8pt. 6pt. Film Products All 6 pt. 4 pt. 8pt. 6pt. Envelope All 6 pt. 4 pt. 8pt. 6pt. DESIGN