What is Commercial Printing Process? 3 Primary Stages

08/07/2024   Views

Primary stages of commercial printing: prepress, press, and post press.

1. Prepress

Prepress is the first step of the commercial printing process, and it's where all the planning and preparation occur. Most of the prepress steps are done via computer. This step includes composition, typesetting, graphic arts photography, formatting files according to industry standards, and image assembly. These prepress operations prepare the concept for a printed image to be converted into an image carrier, such as a plate, cylinder, or screen. The steps also involve converting digital files into a form that the press can understand and using software to prepare the files for printing. During the prepress step, proofing for errors and more is also done to ensure everything looks perfect before printing. The result should be an accurate representation of what the final product will look like once printed.

2. Press

Once the prepress steps have been completed, it's time to move on to the press stage, where the actual printing process occurs. This phase involves setting up the presses and printing the image onto a substrate (such as paper or plastic), using either an offset printing press or a digital press. For each job, the specific press setup is dependent on the type of substrate being used. For example, you might need to use a different printing plate or ink colors than usual in order to achieve the desired effect on certain materials. During this phase, it's also important to make sure everything is correctly aligned, as any misalignment or shifts in color can ruin an entire print run.

3. Post Press

Once the printing is complete, it's time to move on to the post press phase. This stage involves operations such as trimming, folding, scoring, and binding. It includes finishing processes like embossing, die-cutting, varnishing, laminating, and more. These processes achieve a certain look or feel, such as a glossy finish or special shape. Lastly, post press operations involve packaging the printed materials for shipping or storing them until they're ready for distribution. This stage is about making sure your prints arrive in pristine condition, and that they look exactly the way you intended them to.

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