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Raised Ink goes Digital

Posted by on Aug 1, 2013 in Blog, File Prep, Printing Tips |

“Raised Ink makes a tactile impression that stands out on marketing collateral, graphic design and any custom printed piece. Raised Ink is a cost-effective digital print solution giving both designers and marketers another tool to craft interesting collateral that achieves maximum response from a target audience.”
See Jodi Krohn’s blog post entitled “New! Raised Ink

Now I’m going to answer the Question, “But how do I do it?”
The Raised Ink part of the file should be constructed like a varnish as a spot color on its own layer set to overprint. The ink itself is a clear layer that prints right over the top pf the 4-color process art on the sheet. Watermark 1x puts down a single coat of Raised Ink. Emboss 50x cycles the sheet 50 times to build up a 50-coat thickness of ink.

Indigo Press manufacturer Hewlett-Packard tells us that, because of the risk of scratching or cracking, Raised Ink at the etch 15x, engrave 30x, and emboss 50x levels can only be line art or small type – no large areas or fills. Lines should be no more than 2.5 pt and font size should be no more than 12 pt. but we’ll test whatever you come up with.

At the Watermark 1x level the Raised Ink is 1 micron thick, same as the process color inks, and there are no limitations on placement or coverage. Watermark 1x essentially acts as a spot varnish.

Here’s how to achieve the effect in InDesign or Illustrator:

  • Make a new spot color and call it “Raised”. It’s going to print as clear texture on our digital press so it doesn’t matter what it looks like on your monitor – making it a bright visible color can help you see where the raised areas will be.
  • Make a new top layer called Raised Ink. If you’re putting the texture over colored art, select the art or type to be raised and copy it by Option-dragging it to the new layer.
  • Change the colors on that layer to 100% Raised. This is all or nothing, There’s no such thing as a screen of Raised, it has to be 100%. Vector art is your best bet, but if you want to use a pattern in Photoshop you could make it a bitmap and colorize it.
  • Select everything on the Raised Ink layer. Set both Fill and Stroke to Overprint in the Attributes panel.
  • To visualize the effect and to see if it will work correctly, turn the Raised separation off and on in the Separations Preview panel.
  • Raised Ink can only print on one side of the press sheet. The maximum image area is 11” x 15.5”. Only one level of Raised Ink can be used in a single press sheet.
The Dancing Woman is drawn by Oregon Artist Caroline Shirota. Contact info@premierpress if you are interested in Caroline’s limited prints.

Call or email us for samples!


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Die Cuts Get Results

Posted by on Jul 16, 2013 in Blog, Design Tips, File Prep |

Eager to have a client, customer, or friend take a second look at your piece? Perhaps open and close it a few times out of interest? Even take time to assemble it?

Die cutting can turn your printed design into a sculpture, a model, or an irresistible urge to see what’s inside. It can add another dimension of functionality — picture a door hanger, tabbed dividers, a box, the presentation folder that cradles your proposal. Do you need to perforate a coupon or kiss-cut mailing labels?

Here’s a guide on how to digitally add a dieline to a job.



Cutting dies are often made by a computer-guided router or a laser that burns grooves in plywood. The grooves are fitted with razor-sharp blades for cutting, nicked blades for perforating, and dull blades for scoring. Therefore, cutting, perfing, and scoring are all done in one operation as the die is pressed against the printed sheet.

  • Dielines must be created as vector art because the computer-driven machines need mathematically described lines (vectors). When building dielines, use Adobe Illustrator, never Photoshop.
  • The dieline must show on a proof but won’t actually print, so it must be built in such a way that it doesn’t affect the art below it. To do this, make the dieline a spot color – so we can print it on a proof but ignore it when making plates – and set it to overprint – so it will not knock out the art behind it. Given the hundredths-of-an-inch tolerances of die-cutting, compared to the thousandths-of-an-inch accuracy of printing presses, we wouldn’t want a white line along the cut line.
  • A dieline should be a vector line on a layer in your design. It should never be negative space or the edge of a piece of art or the boundary of a mask.
  • If your die-cut piece folds, make a dummy, unfold it, and build your file flat – the way it prints. The art on the pocket of a pocket folder prints on the same side of the sheet as the outside cover. Visualizing this kind of thing is a magical gift bestowed upon some designers; the rest of us make a dummy.


  • Build the dieline in Adobe Illustrator first so you know what size it is, then place it in an InDesign document of exactly that size. The die cut must extend to all edges of the page because the trim marks allow the die cutter to locate the die on the press sheet. For a two-sided piece, imposition software uses the document boundaries to align the art back to back.
  • In Illustrator, make a new spot color called “Dielines”, give the dieline a 1 pt. stroke, and set the stroke to overprint in the Attributes pallette. Be sure the fill is “None” on that dieline shape, because you’re going to place it in the top layer in InDesign and you want everything on the lower layers to show (choose High Quality Display in InDesign’s View/Display Performance).
  • Check the Transparent Background box when you place the die file. I usually make the Dieline’s color 100% magenta so it’s nice and visible, but green or orange might show up better over some art. The on-screen color doesn’t matter because “Dielines” is never going to print anywhere except on a proof.
  • If the job requires scoring, you can indicate that by a dashed dieline, or just make a spot color called “Scores” and add a Score Layer.


  • For small die-cut pieces, add .125″ bleed beyond the trim edges; for packaging, especially when we’re printing something that laminates to corrugate, allow .25″ bleed; and for large-format printing, where the cutting is done by our computer-driven flatbed cutter, add .25″ bleed for a 1-side-only piece, and .5″ for a 2-sided piece.
  • If there is an inside cut, like the hole on a door hanger or a cutout for a plastic blister on retail packaging, outline that area with the dieline and run the art right across it. Bleed is necessary inside those internal cuts too.


  • Glue tabs are almost always .75″ wide and on a pocket folder they should extend from the body not the pocket. Ink should bleed no more than .125″ onto the face of the tab, leaving the rest ink-free for gluing.


These are 3 important points that will save you money and speed your die-cut job through our shop: 

  • Make your document size exactly the same size as the dieline.
  • Make the dieline a spot color vector line that overprints.
  • Put the dieline on its own layer.


Maybe you could start with an existing dieline and save yourself some time. We have hundreds of digital templates for pocket folders, DVD sleeves, envelopes, tabs —ask your salesperson!

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True White Ink

Posted by on Jun 20, 2013 in Blog, Design Tips, Featured, File Prep, Fun Printing Facts, Printing Tips, Why Print? |

Indigo Digital Printing

White ink is here. Digital printing is rapidly morphing into a quality creative marketing avenue. No longer quick and dirty–expect high-quality reproduction, G7 certified color accuracy and utilize creative substrate and ink options. Short-run, highly targeted and personalized print pulls some of the best marketing returns of all communication channels. High-quality design and reproduction is imperative to get the full value—maximum response—out of marketing campaigns. Quality, not quantity, characterizes results-driven direct marketing programs.

Now add white to the
design palette.

Create and design an entirely unique sensory experience. Pick a paper rich in color and use white ink for a message. Try a white halftone on black paper. Use clear synthetic papers with a white message or a white panel under a photo for a translucent but clear message. White on metallic substrates makes for a strong and bold presence. Alternatively, go for a soft look on a pastel paper or light metallic colored paper. Print labels, invitations, direct mail, corporate marketing, point-of-purchase, greeting cards, postcards, business cards and more.  (Flag is printed 4CP on Environment Desert Storm)

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Print-Ready PDF/X-1A AND PDF/X-4 Files

Posted by on Jun 11, 2013 in Blog, Design Tips, File Prep |

PDF/X is a special sub-pdf standard that meets ISO standards. All details and specific information required for print production is embedded into the graphic file.  For instance, PDF/X-1A requires all fonts to be embedded and images to be designated as cmyk or spot colors. PDF/X-4 takes it a step further accepting calibrated rgb color and cielab colors, but the file must still meet the basic requirements of the standards of a  PDF/X-1A.

Why use the PDF/X format? Pros & Cons


Pro. Simple single file is now available to upload or email to the printer easily.
Con. If changes need to be made to the file, the file will have to be updated by the originator as the flattened file most likely will not be able to be corrected by the prepress department.

Save Time.

Pro. The file is ready to rip and therefore runs through the process very quickly saving prepress time.
Con. Any errors made in the design and production of the file may not be caught until after the project is printed, negating time and cost savings.

Quality Assurance.

Pro. The designer is specifying all the details in the PDF/X file. So print production is defined and no other person is entering that information. Information cannot be lost as all is included in the PDF/X.
Con. If a designer enters misinformation or omits information, it may not be caught until the project is printed/produced.


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Resolution Recommendations

Posted by on May 23, 2013 in Blog, File Prep, Large Format |

Since we offer such a wide variety of printing technologies customers aren’t always sure what is the correct file resolution for their project. There is no single answer, I always ask:

  • Describe the finished product.
  • How is it being printed?
  • What kind of art?”

The required resolution depends on the size of the final product is and how it will be viewed.

Both Photoshop and InDesign use PPI (pixels per inch) to describe image resolution. This is different than the resolution of a printer or other output device which is measured in DPI. “Effective PPI” in the InDesign links panel is the number you want to keep your eye on.

We have two very different mechanisms for laying down ink: digital and offset printing and large format inkjet printing. Inkjet output is a nearly continuous-tone compared to printing on an offset or digital press and that tends to push resolution requirements down.

Ideal resolution is based on viewing distance.


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Pantone+ CMYK Conversion Issue in CS6

Posted by on Apr 2, 2013 in Blog, Design Tips, File Prep, Printing Tips |

Pantone® and Adobe have made a fundamental change in the way color is defined in CS6, resulting in different – and unpredictable – CMYK builds if you start with the default spot colors and change them to process colors. The CS6 default Pantone+ spot colors are now defined as Lab values instead of CMYK builds. Pantone’s thinking is that the device-independent Lab color space is more consistent across a range of media – web to print, iPad to billboard, computer screen to silkscreen.

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