What Is Print Finishing? A Quick Guide

The print industry has come a long way since 1436 when Johannes Gutenberg invented the first “modern” printing press.

It’s more than just putting ink on paper — now there are endless aspects involved in the print finishing process. Some of these services happen while the paper is still online, but most printing finishing happens after the pages come off the press.

Are you curious about what a print finishing company does? Here’s a brief print finishing guide to give you an overview.

1. Cutting & Binding

The most obvious thing that happens after printing is getting the pages to the desired size. Printing companies use a sharp blade or shear to reduce the printed item down to the correct size. This same process removes excess paper located on crop marks and creates evenly aligned pages for books and magazines.

Die-cutting is closely related. The printer uses a sharp, thin blade to create a specific shape or pattern in paper or cardstock.

If necessary, the printer then gathers the individual pages and fastens them to create books, booklets, or ringed binders.

2. Folding or Creasing

The exact method depends on the size and thickness of the printed item, but the idea is the same. Creasing (sometimes called scoring) makes folding easier, so the printer may use a blunt blade to create a uniform crease that ensures consistent folds.

Folding serves a variety of purposes, making the printed items easier to ship, handle, and distribute. You’ll find many options including a mini-fold, gatefold, c-fold, and z-fold.

3. Laminating

Another helpful finishing service you’ll find at companies like New Era Print Solutions is lamination. Laminating a printed item greatly improves its durability and also makes the ink colors appear more vibrant.

Perhaps the biggest benefit of lamination, though, is the amount of protection it offers. Laminating protects printed items from spills, tears, creases, smudges, and stains. This print finishing service is ideal for heavy-use items such as restaurant menus or classroom materials.

4. Sequential Numbering

Although it still involves printing, sequential numbering is considered part of print finishing. This process adds numbers to items such as:

  • Invoices
  • Contracts
  • Checks
  • Purchase orders
  • Raffle tickets

Sequential numbering is helpful for organization and easy reference. It also makes accounting easier and more controllable.

5. Varnishing

You might automatically think of wood when you hear the word “varnish,” but the same concept also applies to paper products.

For example, printed photographs usually have a gloss varnish to reflect light and make the colors more vivid. Meanwhile, you’ll find an easy-to-read matte varnish in magazines or booklets.

And for items with a lot of sun exposure, there’s also a UV varnish that protects them from fading and boosts durability.

Do You Need Print Finishing Services?

As you can see, printing doesn’t end when the paper rolls of the press. From cutting and binding to laminating and varnishing, there’s an endless amount of print finishing services to choose from.

Now that you know more about the print finishing process, what happens next? Keep browsing our site for other interesting articles like this one!

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