Printing Tips via BertCo
Photo of packaging boxes students created in "Printing: Special Topics" with Shirin Raban.
On Friday, March 4, 2011 students enrolled in “Printing: Special Topics” visited BertCo, an L.A. print manufacturing facility. There, Brandt Wynalda gave a complete tour with in depth explanations. Here is instructor Shirin Raban's recap:
BertCo works with a variety of industries to create custom packaging and promotions utilizing specialized methods and materials such as foils, metalized & soft touch laminates, die cuts, inline and offline UV coatings.
“Every project has custom specs here. We print very high quantities. A short run for us would be minimum of 5000… We have 250 tons of paper in gigantic roles. This is very effective since we don’t have to run to the mill for each project. We usually use solid bleach surface paper (SBS) and laminate it. This paper is best for packaging in ink absorption, folding & other properties.” Brandt said. They also use news pack, which is newspaper pulp recycled in China.
When we asked Mr. Wynalda about sustainability and paper waste issues he explained to us that the SBS paper they use is FSC Certified, which means for each cut tree, ten are replanted, and that older trees emit more carbohydrates than younger trees. Also, the news pack paper that comes from China has environmental issues of fuel use and waste creation and so when you look at the big picture, there are a multitude of variables in how sustainability issues can be at work.
We got to see the 8 color giant presses in action with the inline & offline UV coating units. We learned about differences of coatings & witnessed the automated assembly of packages that are diecut, glued & folded. We visited the “Special Projects Group”. This is a team of professionals working with companies and designers to help them come up with innovative & out of the box solutions for promotional items and high visibility shelf packaging. Anything goes. From a pirate box made out of wood to use of unexpected materials to very smart but low budget ideas…
Actual die lines folded by master pressmen & positioned in paper saving pattern configurations were very complicated & awe inspiring. The visit to the pre-press area was great too. We saw some very interesting & creative use of materials in design. The pre-pressman explained all the details about trapping colors, file prep and printing plates. Here are some of the points we discussed:
• Keep open communication with your printer & ask them how they want files to be prepared. For example, what file format do they need: InDesign, Illustrator, PDF, etc.
• Send clean & organized files. Take care of your layers
• In trapping, some colors cancel each other out & need no trapping. Others have to be processed in a particular order. So, allow your printer to take care of trapping
• Create type in your layout program
• The printer may need your layered files to make changes
• Always save your version with fonts even when you send printer outlined files
• When client asks to rework an old file, it may be best for printer to do so since they have already done prep on the previous files & this will prevent mistakes and reworking
Last but not least, we visited the comp cutting machine that would follow cut & fold lines to create die cut shapes that could then be folded & pasted as prototypes for prospective projects & clients. We were given large sheets of paper for our own mock up project for our following session!
Thanks BertCo & thank you students for being there & making this happen!
Go to our Facebook page for the photos (with thanks to Jared Millar).