Offset printing issue: see-through

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Frode Bo Helland's picture
Joined: 26 Feb 2007 - 1:03pm
Offset printing issue: see-through
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For a client we’re considering die cutting their logo on a magazine cover, but the press gives us severe restrictions on the die shape. The problem is that the process of gluing the cover sheets to the body includes a high-speed 90 degree rotation as the sheets are pulled from the pile that has a tendency to get things tangled up. I wonder if any of you have done similar things earlier? Can you give me some advice?

I have also considered the option of printing on a translucent/transparent paper, but I have yet to figure out if it is possible with offset, folding and gluing.

Are there other ways to achive a see-through effect?

Riccardo Sartori's picture
Joined: 13 Jul 2009 - 4:20am
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Maybe a lace-like see-through pattern instead of a full cutout could lessen the chance of paper jamming.

Frode Bo Helland's picture
Joined: 26 Feb 2007 - 1:03pm
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Hmm, yeah. An option.

Kent Lew's picture
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Joined: 21 Apr 2002 - 11:00am
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I don’t know what the intent of the see-through is, so this idea may have no value for your specific situation this time — but what about just perforating the logo and letting the readers interact by punching it out themselves?

Frode Bo Helland's picture
Joined: 26 Feb 2007 - 1:03pm
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The first page of the body has an image that we wanted to reveal through the cover. I’ll make a note of that, Kent, but I’m not sure if it would work for this.

Nick Shinn's picture
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Joined: 8 Jul 2003 - 11:00am
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Just fake it: print the front cover with what looks like the next page showing through a hole.

Or, depending on the size of the print run, have the die cuts done manually after the piece is bound.

James Michaels's picture
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Joined: 6 Mar 2010 - 12:54am
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I've used both both die cuts and translucent paper on jobs I've designed, but always with saddle-stitched binding, not glued. Your printer would probably be the best source of technical advice IF they have previous experience with these techniques on glued covers. Can they show you examples of similar pieces they've done? If so, then they would probably be the best source of advice. But if not, then perhaps you should be looking for a different printer for this job.

From a design standpoint, my concern about translucent paper is that the entire page would show through, not just the area you'd planned to die cut. Unless maybe you have large inked areas to cover what's on page 2.

Nick Curtis's picture
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Joined: 21 Apr 2005 - 8:16am
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Either use translucent paper or follow Nick Shinn’s suggestion and fake it. Even if the cover comes out of binding okay, you still have to contend with automated mail processing equipment—unless you go to the additional expense of poly-bagging the magazine before mailing.

Nick Shinn's picture
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Joined: 8 Jul 2003 - 11:00am
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A “screen” of multiple mini-perforations might prove more robust, and yet still transparent enough to make the effect.

Joshua Langman's picture
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Joined: 14 Nov 2010 - 12:22am
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Glue the die-cut cover to an uncut sheet of clear plastic?

Bert Vanderveen's picture
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Joined: 13 Jun 2004 - 8:19am
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You could use a loose dust-cover, eg not glued to the book. Fold over the first and page of the book, with these being a thicker weight of paper, maybe.
This may involve some handiwork (do it by hand instead of automated), but is a guarantee that you achieve the desired effect.

Used to be that esp French books were sold this way (promotional dustcover on simple book block).

Frode Bo Helland's picture
Joined: 26 Feb 2007 - 1:03pm
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Thanks guys. All good ideas. If I come up with a viable (automated and not too expensive, since the print run is rather big) solution I’ll let you know.

James Michaels's picture
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Joined: 6 Mar 2010 - 12:54am
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Perhaps the solution is just to look for an alternate design that doesn't involve real or simulated die cutting.

Theunis de Jong's picture
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Joined: 22 Apr 2008 - 5:06pm
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The 21st century equivalent of die-cutting is laser cutting.

The publisher I work for has done this for several books -- rather small print runs, though. But much to my surprise, this could even be done after a book was perfect bound. In that particular case it had to be done after binding, because it had those colored inside pages that get glued to the cover (uh, I cannot recall the English term for this) and the idea was to see the colored page through the cover, rather than the original white "page 1".

James Michaels's picture
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Joined: 6 Mar 2010 - 12:54am
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Theunis, that sounds fascinating. I didn't realize that was possible. Do you have links to any photos of those books?

Theunis de Jong's picture
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Joined: 22 Apr 2008 - 5:06pm
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James, quite annoyingly I only have a link to its e-pub version. We did ask, but laser cutting iPads was not recommended by its manufacturer ...

To get the idea, though:

This is the front cover design. The front was printed in black only; the text "insight" and the red Wolverine slashes were cut out to show the red of the inner cover pages.

Joshua Langman's picture
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Joined: 14 Nov 2010 - 12:22am
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Lucky you weren't laser cutting a word with any O's.

Theunis de Jong's picture
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Joined: 22 Apr 2008 - 5:06pm
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We did for another job!!

But we used a Stencil-like font for that title ;-)

Kent Lew's picture
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Joined: 21 Apr 2002 - 11:00am
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those colored inside pages that get glued to the cover (uh, I cannot recall the English term for this)

Theunis — I believe you are referring to what we call the “end papers” in English.