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Press ready or press friendly

Author: FroQ. Published on 18 July, 2014.

The press file plays a crucial role in Packaging Design Execution. Do we focus on the one specific printing press, or do we go global with a standardised digital press file?

Press ready or press friendly
At FroQ, graphic technology is an everyday part of our activities. One important aspect concerns the creation and delivery of digital press files. For some brand owners these are still press ready files, whilst for others files have been made press friendly. These names indicate the various ways in which a file has been compiled. We would like to exhplore this subject a little deeper here.

Terminology
Press ready is a file that has been created for one specific printing company and even for one specific printing press. Press friendly is a file that has been created to comply with the ISO V2 standard; fully geared to a specific printing technology, but not limited to the one printing press at a specific printer.

Historic perspective
Not so long ago, the printing company was the absolute pivot around which the whole graphic process revolved. They would receive the  artwork from the design agency and take care of the lithography and the print forms. They would then make a proof print, do the printing run and deliver the finished printed material a few weeks later. This was in the days when packaging had a life cycle of three to five years.

These days, the pressure is on the brand owners to switch fast if they are to stay ahead of continuously changing economic, demographic and environmental curve. Purchasers annually put projects out to tender, critical and assertive clients encourage the government to come up with new legislation and sustainability is a serious issue to consider. All of this means the ‘shelf life’ of packaging is considerably shorter than in previous days and changing printers on a yearly basis is no exception.

To remain in the game, brand owners need to be flexible and anticipate developments. The traditional approach has long gone. You can no longer afford to be committed to the one printer or worse, the one specific printing press. Developments in packaging design execution demand a different way of working.

ISO V2
The answer to this situation of permanent flux is standardisation; absolutely vital for both the brand owner and the printer. Since 1996 there has been an internationally accepted standard for offset printing: ISO 12467, better known as the ISO V2 standard. It is a detailed description of the complete chain of actions, standards, calculation values and the materials to be supplied. The artwork studio, lithographer, plate maker and printer all work according to the same proven principle.

This standardised process means that the predictability of the end product is safeguarded and you are no longer tied to that one particular printing press. There are no unpleasant surprises during the printing process and, in addition, the system guarantees you an accurate result both in quality and delivery time.

The ISO V2 standard makes it possible to achieve the highest possible print quality, globally and with a 100% consistency.

The advantages of ISO V2
In the press ready procedure, the printer often supplies specifications with an inbuilt safety margin; this is their leeway within which things technically can be achieved in view of his materials and processes. This of course can still deliver some pretty good results, however the optimum result will probably be missed. This type of file is often ‘closed’; meaning that the printer cannot change or amend anything or is prohibited from doing so.

The press friendly process enables the printer to bring his specialist knowledge and expertise to the chain, ensuring that the print will achieve its maximum quality. After all, the printer is the one who knows the individual characteristics of a press and how he can utilise this to its very best advantage. The ISO V2 standard allows him the space and facility to add his own printer specifications.

At FroQ, we closely analyse every piece of printed material. In our experience, we are much more involved using the ISO V2 process. We get a lot closer to the approved packaging design. Our wish is not to do things within margins, but rather to hit the target bang on by getting a press to deliver a maximum result every time.

This process means the brand owner can go ‘shopping’. The practice of changing printer or supplier regularly can be realised without incurring increased costs. No one is dependent on a single individual printing press any more.

ISO V2 is a internationally accepted standard. In principle, corporate colours can be printed anywhere and be exactly the same; from Italy or Uzbekistan. And not only will the first print run be of the highest quality, the consistency of repeat orders will deliver the same superior level of quality; every time.

FroQ and ISO V2
ISO V2 is well on its way to being firmly established as the world standard for all printing; for offset, flexo and gravure. We actively contribute to the progress of this standard, by among other things participating in groups which aim to stimulate both its development and use. And also of course in our daily contacts with printers across the globe who are hard at work with our projects.

If you would like to know more about what all this could mean for you, please feel free to contact us at any time, obligation free.

We love to talk packaging…