Hot dog, jumping frog, Glastonbury

I’m sure it will come as no shock to many of you to learn that I am not particularly partial to summer. I much prefer – as the great influential leader, Moz, once sang – spending warm summer days indoors. However, this is not because I enjoy composing rhyming couplets for the orthodontically challenged maidens of the Benelux. Being an amphibian sort of chap, the dry heat plays havoc with my skin, so I find it’s a great opportunity to spend some time thinking of great new offers for customers, like this week’s fantastic deal of 2500 x A5 full colour leaflets for only £44.

As you can imagine, being a frog, I much prefer a good downpour to anything too scorchio, so I’ve been catching up with the comings and goings at Glastonbury over the weekend. Glastonbury is fantastic if you’re a frog because it’s pretty much guaranteed that you’ll see rain. What isn’t usually guaranteed is that you’ll see a great influential leader. Not Morrissey this time, but the Dalai Lama, who visited Glastonbury on Sunday, to talk about the importance of happiness (rather than the cost of the cheeseburgers) and introduce the great and influential Lionel Richie, who stole the show with hit after sing-a-long hit. It struck me that Lionel and Leafletfrog have something in common. Yes, Leafletfrog and Lionel both begin with the same letter so we have alliteration in common, but we both work all night long. So if you order 1 or 2 sided leaflets by 12 noon and approve your PDF proof by 5pm, our 24-hour printing means that your order will be despatched next day. Now that’s worth singing about! Just email roddy@leafletfrog.co.uk for more details, and to tell me your favourite Lionel – or Morrissey – song (I don’t think the Dalai Lama sings but if he did …….).

So, whatever makes you happy, make sure you do more of it this week. I’ll be busy being a great influential leader here at Leafletfrog - printing orders, checking quality, and sending out orders, as well as keeping out of the sun and thinking of more top offers. That what makes me happy. Happy Monday everyone!

Technical Tuesday No.5: The Paper Plight

 

We are often asked about paper, so we’ve put together a blog post to answer some of your most commonly asked questions…

 

What is FSC?

FSC stands for the Forest Stewardship Council. The paper we use as our house sheet is certified by FSC as being responsibly sourced. You can find out more about Leafletfrog’s pledge to be green here 

 

What is silk paper?

Silk paper has a smooth coating which has an attractive, upmarket sheen that gives vibrancy to your print. Examples where silk paper is used are leaflets, flyers, posters, newsletters, programmes, reports, folders and brochures.

 

Why choose silk paper over gloss paper?

Gloss paper can mark easily as it tends to shows up fingerprints and dust. It is very shiny and reflective, which can make it hard to view printed contents in strong light. It is also difficult to write on with a biro pen. Gloss paper is commonly used for low quality leaflets, flyers and brochures.

 

135gsm or 300gsm?

Our website offers leaflet printing in a choice of two different paper ‘weights’. The heavier the weight of paper, the thicker and more durable it is. If you are ordering print for a leaflet drop or to hand out at a trade show, you would most likely be happy with 135gsm (please note that our 135gsm is a bulky paper and similar in feel to most 150gsm paper). This is the most commonly ordered paper weight. If you are printing postcards or require your leaflet to feel sturdier or have a longer shelf life, 300gsm is probably the one for you. The 135gsm can be described as paper and the 300gsm is a lightweight card.

 

Still not sure?

You can request a sample pack by emailing roddy@leafletfrog.co.uk so you can see and feel the difference for yourself.

 

Why don’t your offer a wider range of paper stocks?

By limiting our stock we can offer the most competitive pricing as we can buy it in bulk and pass on our savings to you.

 

What if I want to use a different sheet to the ones you are offering?

We are happy to provide you with a bespoke quote on the paper stock you require. Please email us at roddy@leafletfrog.co.uk

 

 

Technical Tuesday No.4: The Deal with Seal

How do you send my leaflets out so quickly? Don't they need time to dry?!

Seal is especially important to our print due to our fast turnaround times...

Our presses are sheet fed presses, meaning our paper is supplied as single sheets in large stacks. There are other similar machines which are web-fed, rather than sheet-fed, which have their paper supplied on large rolls.

As the paper feeds through each unit of the press, the ink for each of the 4 colours is applied to form the complete printed side, so the first 4 units apply the ink, whilst the fifth unit applies a seal over the print so that the ink doesn't smudge as it comes off the press. Once the paper has passed through the fifth unit the paper is flipped so that the other sides is printed with 4 colours and then a seal is applied to that side too. 

As you can see below, the paper starts from the right, and by the time each sheet has passed through once it has been fully printed both sides, with a seal applied.

The max speed of this Heidelberg SM72 is about 12,000 sheets per hour. Wow!

The sheets exit the press at high speed and form another stack at the end of the press with all the printed sheets lying on top of one another.

Once your proof is approved by 5.30pm all that day’s normal print jobs (A5’s, A4’s etc.) are plated and are printed overnight. We need to send these (flat) leaflets out to you the next day so they need to be trimmed and boxed straight away. If we didn’t seal the print then we’d be trimming with wet ink, and the force of the guillotine would transfer ink from one side of one sheet to the back of the next all down the stack. 

And that is the deal with seal!

Roddy x

Roddy’s quick guide to Litho vs. Digital Printing

The majority of the jobs we print are printed on our Heidelberg Litho presses, but there are some occasions where they are better suited to our digital presses.

Here's a breakdown of the main benefits of each...

Why print litho (offset)?

  • Suitable for long run high volume as out presses are capable of printing up to 15,000 sheets per hour
  • Can print a large range of paper weights from 0.03mm - 0.6mm thick
  • Produces very high quality printing from very high resolution artwork
  • Can produce graduated tints and solid blocks of colour effectively
  • Ink suitable for overprinting at a later date on a laser printer
  • Suitable for special inks and finishes, such as spot colours (highly vivid, solid colours which can be unachievable out of 4 colour process), fluorescents or metallics
  • Accurate colour reproduction as uses actual Pantone® inks

Examples of jobs we would print litho: A5 leaflets, A6 leaflets, Stationery, Brochures (large quantities)

 

Why print digital?

  • Cost effective for short runs due to minimal set up
  • Accurate proof - identical to finished print
  • Very little wastage as we can print the exact number of sheets needed rather than having to run the press to ensure the water and ink balance is correct beforehand
  • Uses less materials than litho printing - water, dyes and solutions and the image is printed directly to the paper without the need for printing plates
  • High quality printing
  • Can print from slightly lower resolution (quality) artwork
  • Suitable for personalised jobs (variable data printing)
  • Can colour match to Pantone® colours (industry standard colours)
  • Every print is identical - due to not having to balance ink and water

Examples of jobs we might print digitally: Business cards, Greetings cards, Brochures (small quantities), Banners, Large format posters

 

 

 

Roddy's Friends: FujiFilm


Leafletfrog use Fuji Film printing plates, a product first developed by Fuji Film in 1996, however the company produced it first plate making film long before this in 1934.

Perhaps best known to the general population for photography products, did you know that Fuji Film have produced a whole range of innovations such as...


Motion picture film (1934)
X-ray film (1936)
• Colour negative film (1958)
• Non-carbon paper (1963)
• Videotapes for broadcasting (1963)
• PS plates (for offset printing) (1965)
• Tapes for computers (1965)
• High-speed colour negative film (1976)
• Digital diagnostic X-ray imaging system (1983)
• Floppy disks (1984)
QuickSnap, the world's first one-time-use recyclable camera (1986)
• Digital endoscope system (1999)
• Skin care cosmetics (2006)
• Antibacterial, antivirus, multi-function biofilter (2008)

Find out more here! 

Technical Tuesday No.3: Offset Printing

What is offset printing and how does the ink get on the paper?

Once the printing plates have been processed (Technical Tuesday No.2), they are attached to the plate cylinders on the printing press. There is one of these in each single unit of the press as shown in the photograph below. Each of our Heidelberg printing presses has 10 units.

8 plates are required for double sided printing and it is essential that they are correctly positioned on the cylinder so that the final print is accurate and 'in register'. Tabs are punched out of one edge of the plates so that they can be inserted and slowly wound into the correct position on the cylinders.

Once the plates have been added onto the cylinders, it’s time to ink up! Ink is fed into reservoirs by overhead pipes to provide a consistent level of ink to the press.

The diagram below shows a (very) basic layout of a single unit on one of our offset litho press. 

Ink is stored in the ink train where it is transferred to the printing plate by a series of rollers. Once on the metal printing plate, the image is transferred onto a rubber blanket on the offset cylinder. The ink is pressed onto the paper as it passes between the blanket on the offset cylinder and the impression cylinder. This is where the name 'offset printing (lithography)' comes from, as the metal plate doesn't actually touch the paper. 

After the image is transferred onto the offset cylinder from the plate cylinder, the plate cylinder continues it's rotation and is cleaned by the water rollers, before more ink is applied and the process is repeated.

Each units adds a single colour (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow or Black), so a 10 colour press can print both sides of the paper in a single pass (called perfecting) and add a coating to both sides (on the other 2 units) that means the ink is dry by the time the paper reaches the end of the press.

 

Technical Tuesday No.2: From Plate to Print

Following on from 'Why CMYK?', here's how your artwork continues it's journey from plate to print!

Our RIP (Raster Image Processor) splits your artwork into its component colour parts Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black (CMYK), the 4 inks used by offset litho presses.

The images below show how the full colour example is split into the four component images ready to be transferred to printing plates.

We need 4 plates to produce single sided leaflets and 8 plates to produce double sided leaflets.

How are printing plates produced?

We use Kodak Sonora XP process free plates. They component images are created using our Kodak Magnus Q400 platesetters. These use a laser to create an image on each of the 4 aluminium plates, (one each for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black) by using heat to create microscopic pits in the plate which the ink can adhere to.

Prior to this, plates would have been produced using photographic film and chemicals to expose a light sensitive coated plate, in a similar way to a traditional camera and film exposure. Our chemical free platesetters are far more environmentally friendly and create less waste.

How do the plates create the printed image?

The plates are attached to the plate cylinders on our litho printing presses. Printing ink is transferred from the printing plates onto rubber blanket cylinders, which in turn transfer the ink to the paper, the four colours being printed on top of one another to create your full colour leaflets.

Can the plates be used again?

No. Once we have completed the print run the plates are taken off the press and sent for recycling so they can be made into new plates, or something completely different!

If you want to see one of our Magnus platesetters in action, there is a short video below (unfortunately you can't see any lasers!)

Who’s Roddy?

We often get asked 'who is Roddy'? 

Roddy is the ethos behind Leafletfrog. He makes sure that Leafletfrog delivers on its values of quality printing at low affordable prices. 

Roddy ensures that every leaflet we print meets his high standards and his influence can be seen throughout the processes we use to print your leaflets. 

He makes sure that our Customer Service Team have the knowledge and skills to answer your questions efficiently. He makes sure our litho printing presses are printing up to half a million leaflets on environmentally friendly paper with vegetable based inks every night. He makes sure that we accurately trim up to half a million leaflets every day so they are ready for DPD courier collection at 5pm. 

And when (very occasionally) we fail to deliver on his quality standards, Roddy makes sure that we resolve the issues quickly and effectively because we value each and every customer.

So no matter what you may be told – Roddy is not 'just the frog on the website'!

Technical Tuesday No. 1 - Why CMYK?

Are you fed up with the colours of your finished print looking different to how it looks on screen when you design it? Do you know the difference between CMYK and RGB?

TRY THIS!

Download and print this PDF on your colour printer

and compare the printed colours on paper to the colours you see on your screen.

Notice how the RGB (Red, Green & Blue) colours in the top row are luminous and vibrant on screen but less vibrant when printed.

This is because standard screens and monitors produce colours in RGB and are not colour callibrated, but all printers print in industry standard CMYK, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow
& Key (Black).

For us to print your RGB artwork we will have to convert it to CMYK for you, the effect of this you can see here. The colours have changed, but now look similar on screen to on paper.

The colour blocks in the bottom row are originally created in CMYK. You should find that the printed colours are a close match to those on screen.

To avoid a colour shift make sure you create your artwork in CMYK.

Read on for the detailed guide, how to create your artwork in CMYK and for reasons why your colours may still not look quite as bright as on screen.

 

What is CMYK?
CMYK stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key (Black), the 4 different inks used by print suppliers to print your artwork and most desktop colour printers.

You can make up the standard colour spectrum or ‘gamut’ available to printers using these 4 colours, similar to the way your computer monitor or TV makes up the colour on your screen using the RGB (Red Green and Blue) pixel mix to make all the colours you see.

Do RGB and CMYK colours look the same?
No. Although you would imagine that the same colour range can be produced, these two colour spectrums can look very different when viewed on a computer screen when you are checking your proofs. The diagram below shows the differerences in the range of colours available in the visible, RGB & CMYK spectrums. There are far fewer colours availabe for reproduction by the CMYK printing process.

 

Diagram: myworldofcolour

Although basic desktop publishing software (such as Word and Publisher) will allow the use of luminous shades of green, pink, cyan and blue, it is IMPOSSIBLE to reproduce these colours in the 4 colour printing process.

How can colour issues be avoided?
The best way is to use a commercial design program like Adobe InDesign, Photoshop, Quark etc. or a good free program such as Scribus, which allow the creation of print-ready artwork in CMYK.

I don’t have access to those, programmes I only have Word. How will you help me see what my printed leaflet will look like?
If you supply artwork to us in RGB format, we will convert it to CMYK so that the proof we send you is as closely matched to your finished print as possible. This way there will be no surprises for you or us!

Why do the colours still look ‘wrong’ when I check my proof on my mobile device?
Unexpected colour effects can occur when your CMYK proof is viewed on a non-calibrated RGB screen, particularly when viewed on iPhones, iPads and tablets.
For peace of mind, check your proof on a desktop computer for the greatest level of accuracy.

It is also worth bearing in mind that every monitor views colours differently. This can simply be down to the brightness setting of your monitor, or the calibration of your monitor, plus a back-lit screen will always look more vibrant than CMYK print on paper.

 

Thanks for reading!

Roddy x

 

Half Term holidays are coming... get ahead with your printing

It may seem like the kids have only just gone back to school, but at here at Leafletfrog we’re already thinking ahead to holiday time again. 

Are you running a Half Term club? Do you need to spread the word about any activities that you are putting on during the school holidays?

Our A5 leaflet printing costs remain low and our best prices are on 5000 single or double sided leaflets. Why not hop over to this link and check them out for yourselves?

http://www.leafletfrog.co.uk/collections/frontpage/products/a5-leaflets

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