A press run (or print run) is the actual printing of the artwork once the pre-press has been finalised and the proofs have been approved. In this step, sheets of paper are fed through the printer and the ink is transferred onto the surface of the paper. During print runs our technicians will review the printed artwork and cross reference for colour matching.
Ink – What we use
Most full colour digital printers use 4 colours of ink; cyan, magenta, yellow, and black (CMYK), which are applied together in the printing process to produce millions of colours. Here at Q Print Group we use industrial size laser printers that use toner ink. In addition to the standard CMYK inks we also offer speciality inks that include opaque white, gold, and silver.
Read our Colour in printing article for a full explanation on how inks create colour in printing.
Paper and Cardstock
Paper and card stock come in a large range of weights and finishes to choose from for your printing. This variety is important because different printing products have varying specifications for stock to reflect their purpose. For example, a flyer will be on different stock to a A0 poster, and a poster will be different stock to a business card.
Paper weight is the thickness of the paper stock, often measured in gsm (grams per square metre). Copy paper (the paper you most likely use at home for personal printing) is quite thin and is usually 80gsm. Thicker stocks (250gsm and up) tend to be classed as cardstock due to the fact that they are sturdier than thinner paper stocks.
For examples of some paper stock weight uses; typically, the inside of books and magazines will be a thinner paper stock (80-100gsm) while the covers will be anything from 250gsm and up. Business cards are usually 300-350gsm with some specialty business cards even going as high as 600gsm.
Paper coating is applied to the paper before the printing process. Coating affects the way the inks are absorbed by the paper and help to keep the images looking sharp. Coating can be applied to any paper weight which makes its use dependant on what the designer thinks will go best with the artwork. The three most popular coating options are; Gloss, Matte, and Uncoated.
Gloss is a very reflective finish with a deliberate shine that helps colours to pop off the page. It is often used when the printing has photographs in the artwork as it helps to make the images look really sharp and vibrant.
Matte coating has a more subtle shine than gloss and as such can also be referred to as satin, silk, or semi-gloss. Matte works well with illustrations that are flooded with colour as it keeps the lines sharp while not being obscured with too much shine.
Uncoated is pretty self-explanatory as it stands for uncoated paper. It has a rougher texture when compared to gloss or matte and is ideal for printing projects that need to be written on (like notepads and workbooks). The only real downside to uncoated is that it offers less protection to wear and tear than coated paper.
Because temperature does affect the ink in our printers, our print technicians will collaborate the colours before and during any print runs and adjust the print settings as needed. The paper thickness and coating are also taken into consideration as they can affect how the ink is applied onto the paper.
Everything is set up and in place, the printer can now run the job through the printers. They will monitor the printing during the printing process to quality check the ink and make sure that the colour remains consistent throughout. Once the job has finished printing it will be taken away for the post-press process.