Adding Some BLING to Inkjet
We talk continuously about how important it is to design to the right process. Recently, I had the chance to help a talented designer from Chicago do just that.
Crystal is the graphic designer for Alison & Ivy, a custom jewelry manufacturer in Chicago. She was working on their product catalog and had read "The Designer’s Guide to Inkjet" book, so she had a couple of questions about printing this release with high-speed aqueous inkjet.
It wasn't variable content or the desire to be different that drove Crystal toward inkjet printing. She needed 1,000 catalogs for a Las Vegas trade show that was fast approaching and wanted to reduce the cost. Ordinarily, Crystal would opt for offset printing, but a broker suggested high-speed inkjet as an option to reduce the per-piece cost.
We talked about how important the paper would be when printing inkjet. I encouraged her to bring a sample sheet of the book or a fingerprint containing important color and print quality elements prior to production to establish expectations. After all, I told her, inkjet will look different. Since her catalog contains highly detailed items, I underscored the importance of using quality paper. Also, since the piece was not initially designed for inkjet production, highly detailed images needed to be enhanced by applying image effects, ensuring that important stones were sharp and commanded attention.
Crystal and her team went right to work, meticulously masking out diamond areas, adding Photoshop filters and enhancing color effects. She then contacted her print broker, Steve, at Precise Printing Network and requested a sample proof and a quote for her 10 11x17˝ signatures, finished to 1,000 8.5x11˝ saddle stitched, 40-page catalogs.
Pleased with the color and print quality of her proof, Crystal’s order was placed with Total Printing Systems in Illinois. It was printed on a Screen 520 using aqueous dye ink on 71# Mitsubishi Gloss coated stock.
I received this picture (above) along with the following text: "Thanks Mary for your help. The catalog does print different than offset, but different is good! My price per piece for inkjet is 26 percent less, looks great and arrived on time to the show. I was really nervous switching processes, (but) now I am confident for next time.”
I asked Crystal a little while later, what she would have done differently.
"I would have taken more time in testing the machine, ink and paper combinations to get the best product,” she wrote. “I know now how important it is to prepare the item for inkjet initially and the effects which I can use to enhance my images, as well as getting a fingerprint done on the right paper to be used in production. I am looking at getting the best print quality from inkjet and now understand each machine; ink and paper contribute to that. I would also like to better understand how customizing and versioning could increase sales. I am now hooked on inkjet!”
This is the excitement and education we need to move forward in this industry. Crystal took a chance in moving such a highly detailed catalog to inkjet.
Attention: Designers, print brokers, printers or buyers. Do you have products that you have printed via aqueous dye or pigment high-speed inkjet that you are especially proud of and would like to share? Let’s talk; I would like to see and hear about your successes using inkjet.
It is stories like this that we all should celebrate.