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Pushing the Envelope Beyond Ordinary

Printed Envelopes – Top 5 most common mistakes

Posted by Jerry Velona on Oct 9, 2017 1:33:34 PM

Envelope printing can present some unique problems and issues mostly due to the construction of the envelope.  Here are some of the most common problems that come up and how you can avoid them.

 

Design for your budget - Envelope printing runs the gamut from a simple black return address to full coverage process printing.  Pretty much anything you’d like to print on an envelope is possible – at a price.  And that’s what anyone designing an envelope must keep in mind. Creating a champagne piece on a beer print budget will inevitably lead to frustration.  The best way to proceed would be to involve your envelope vendor at the design stage in order to get a realistic idea of what’s possible and then go from there.

 9d6a7833_-_small_file.jpg

Choose the right print process – You might refer to my three previous blog posts which detail the most common ways to print an envelope.  A simple design at a small to mid-size quantity is going to be best done by offset printing.  If heavy ink coverage is required, you’re probably looking at printing on flat sheets and converting afterward.  Long run jobs with simple copy can be done most economically by flexo printing.  Your needs will be best met by a company that can produce printing in all three styles and has no vested interest in one or the other.

 

Know the limitations of each process

  •  If you’re offset printing on a made envelope, avoid heavy solids which might cause offsetting or seam marks showing through. 
  •  If you’re flexo printing, avoid fine lines and screens and halftones unless you’re planning on a very long run and a budget that can support the state of the art flexo technology that exists.
  • If you’re digital printing, you need to understand that the look of digital can be different than say offset. That means if you’re trying to match a couple of components, say custom letterhead and custom envelopes, you might need to print them both in the same process.  Also, if you’re printing digitally on window envelopes, you’ll need a special window material that is resistant to the heat caused by most digital presses.
  • If you’re printing on flat sheets and converting, areas of heavy coverage may need a coat of varnish to keep the ink from smudging during the converting process.  You’ll also need to make sure you factor in “knock-out” areas where the glue is applied so the envelope will seal properly.  “Knock out” simply means areas where there is no ink on the paper.

 

Incorporate variation in your planning - One of the most popular designs for an envelope is the flap that is flood-coated in a solid color.  Most customers however are surprised that they cannot get every flap to print right to the score line.  The reason for this is laid out in my previous blog piece on the variation which is inherent in the process of printing and making envelopes.

 

Take everything into account

  • If you’re printing a piece on flat sheets with heavy coverage, understand that it takes at least a full day for the sheets to dry to the point where they can be converted.
  • If you plan to run your printed envelope through an ink jet printer for addressing, you might need to use a type of ink which can withstand the high heat of the digital printer. 
  • Rather than stamping or metering your mail, you might consider printing a postage-paid indicia right on the envelope to save time.

 

It’s always best to consult with an envelope converter before making any final design decisions.  A converter will be able to give you the proper advice based on their expertise in making and printing envelopes.

Topics: envelope printing, envelope printing mistakes, envelope offset printing

Custom Envelope Variation – part two

Posted by Jerry Velona on May 5, 2017 11:40:45 AM

In our last blog we presented the issue of variation in envelope converting and the reasons why it happens. In today’s piece, we’ll add the third and final reason for variation; jet offset envelope printing.

Envelopes can be printed in 3 ways (that topic to be fully discussed in a future article). The type of printing where variation can come into play is Jet offset printing. This is when the envelope is made and then printed after the fact.  In the typical Halm jet offset printer, a stack of envelopes is placed on one end and through vacuum pumps is fed through the printing cylinder over the plates and printing blanket and out the other end.  Like the envelope folding machine which forces the envelope to travel over a distance to its final destination, the printing press brings the envelope through various stages which cause it to move slightly.

_MG_0147-1.jpg

If the envelope is being printed with the same copy for each item and going through the press once, the amount of variation is so slight as to be virtually undetectable. However if, say,  you have a company logo that has been pre-printed onto the envelope and you are then feeding those “shells” into the press to add a certain return address next to the logo, you could see some variation or “bounce” in the placement of the return address in relation to the logo.  As in folding, the variation is generally within 1/16” of an inch but it could be more on a larger envelope like a 9 x 12.

Which brings us to things you can do to minimize the variation in your custom printed envelopes or custom envelopes in general; here are a few ideas you can put to use:

  1. Be realistic with your design – Certain designs for envelopes are almost sure to be a problem. Perhaps the most common one is designing the flap to be fully covered in a certain ink color. This looks cool but unfortunately the variation inherent in the process will cause there to be either some white on the flap or some color folding over of the color to the front of the envelope. The best way to avoid this is to either end the color 1/8” below the score line or wrap-around the color to the front 1/8”. It might not look as sharp but you’ll get a much neater and more consistent look.
  2. Avoid gloss coated stock where possible – Yes, it’s shiny and looks and feels great but it is also much more difficult to handle and the slipperiness of the coating causes more movement in the paper both in cutting and folding which can bring about greater variation.
  3. Deal directly with an envelope converter – Those of us who do this type of thing on a daily basis will be more familiar with the potential pitfalls and how to avoid them.

Have you had any problems with envelope variation on your printed pieces?  Contact us and we will provide an analysis of the problem at no charge or obligation to you.   

Our commitment to customer service never varies!

Topics: envelope printing, envelope printing mistakes, Envelope variation, custom envelopes, envelope variation solutions

Envelope Printing – is my design OK?

Posted by Jerry Velona on Mar 12, 2012 10:56:00 AM

Graphic designers are the muse behind printers. They provide and execute the creative ideas which the printer then takes and brings to life on paper.  In the new age of printing, designers must not only be creative but also adept at using the vector-based software and other digital tools necessary to provide a quality, print-ready image.

At Elite Envelope, we work with graphic designers all the time. Usually the designer will work for the customer to come up with the image they want and after the customer places the order, he will allow us to deal directly with the creative talent.  Most times, we receive art files that are ready to go.  However, sometimes that is not the case. The reasons can vary but the one I’ll focus on today has to do with practicalities.

Yes, I know that taking the practical approach is sometimes seen as the bane of the creative process. It involves all sorts of compromises and replaces the emphasis from the exciting “what is possible” to that ever more bland and boring “what is doable.”  How many times did our parents tell us to “be practical”; advice we probably ignored to our eventual peril. And that’s the point – ultimately being practical is going to succeed far more than not. And while we love to read about those that figure out a way to get beyond all that, they are few in number so emulating them is just not, well…, practical!

envelope printing design problems

One of the more common examples of this in the world of envelope printing has to do with heavy coverage that prints over the envelope seams or folds.  When paper is folded, that area is relatively higher to what is on either side.  Offset printing on envelopes is done with rollers that exert pressure on the printed surface.  If the press is printing a solid which covers a fold, the result will be a white mark running directly down the fold itself. This is because of the different height of the folded area.  

This is a pretty easy one to prevent by doing one of several things: You could simply move or shrink the solid so that it doesn’t cover the fold. Or you could use a screen of the color to make the solid lighter so that the white line would be less pronounced.  Depending on the design and size of the mail piece, it may also be possible to switch from a diagonal seam envelope to a side seam which would provide a larger unfolded area for printing.  You could also simply re-design or, if cost is not a major factor, print the envelope on a flat sheet and convert it after the fact which effectively elminates the problem altogether. 

Ultimately, the process works best when the envelope printer is in touch with the graphic designer early in the process.  That ensures a harmony between what can be done and what works best – beautiful music for all concerned! 

Tell us about your envelope printing problems. We'd love to hear from you. Also, if you’re looking for free, expert advice on a future design, click here http://info.eliteenvelope.com/free-envelope-consultation/ and we’ll be happy to provide it.

Topics: elite envelope, envelope printing, envelope printing mistakes, printed envelopes, graphic design problems for envelopes

Printing Envelopes – the most common mistakes to avoid

Posted by Jerry Velona on May 24, 2011 11:10:00 AM

Elite Envelope jet offset printingPrinting envelopes presents some unique problems and issues mostly due to the construction of the envelope and its subsequent use in mailings. Here are some of the most common problems that come up and how you can avoid them.

Design for your budget - Envelope printing runs the gamut from a simple black return address to full coverage process printing. Pretty much anything you’d like to print on an envelope is possible – at a price. And that’s what anyone designing an envelope must keep in mind. Creating a champagne piece on a beer print budget will inevitably lead to frustration. The best way to proceed would be to involve your envelope vendor at the design stage in order to get a realistic idea of what’s possible and then go from there.

Choose the right print process – You might refer to my three previous blog posts which detail the most common ways to print an envelope (just scroll down). A simple design at a small to mid-size quantity is going to be best done offset. If heavy ink coverage is required, you’re probably looking at printing on flat sheets and converting afterward. Long run jobs with simple copy can be done most economically by printing flexo, in-line. Your needs will be best met by a company that can produce printing in all three styles and has no vested interest in one or the other.

Know the limitations of each process - If you’re printing offset on a made envelope, avoid heavy solids which might cause offsetting or seam marks showing through. If you’re printing flexo, avoid fine lines and screens and halftones unless you’re planning on a very long run and a budget that can support the state of the art flexo technology that exists. If you’re printing on flat sheets and converting, areas of heavy coverage may need a coat of varnish to prevent the ink from smudging during the converting process.

Incorporate variation in your planning - One of the most popular designs for an envelope is the flap that is flood-coated in a solid color. Most customers however are surprised that they cannot get every flap to print right to the score line. The reason for this is laid out in my previous blog piece on the variation (below) which is inherent in the process of printing and making envelopes.

Take everything into account

• If you’re printing a piece on flat sheets with heavy coverage, understand that it takes at least a full day for the sheets to dry to the point where they can be converted.

• If you plan to run your printed envelope through an ink jet printer for addressing, you might need to use a type of ink which can withstand the high heat of the digital printer.

• Rather than stamping or metering your mail, you might consider printing a postage-paid indicia right on the envelope to save time.

At Elite Envelope, we consult with customers all the time before the fact to make sure their mailings are a success. As always, your comments are much appreciated.

Topics: elite envelope, envelope printing, envelope printing mistakes

Yet Another Blog Post

From Jerry Velona - co-owner,

Elite Envelope & Graphics, Inc.

Jerry offers pertinent, often useful information on envelope converting and printing, web printing, direct mail, the post office, songs that have to do with mail and letters, digital overload and much more!

(Non-spam) Comments always appreciated.  Spread it around!

 

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