It’s often easy to overlook all the ways that printed documents can be transformed in what commercial printers call the ‘finishing’ stages. There is an incredible array of finishing techniques and services available. Such processes can do anything from augmenting your document, for example adding rounded corners or spot varnish, to converting flat sheets into something completely different, for example pads, pop-up greetings cards or folded cartons. So, we thought we’d highlight many of the options available at Firstpoint Print.
Scoring, Creasing & Folding
Starting with the most simple, obvious finishing services, we first come to folding, scoring and creasing. These are extremely inexpensive techniques to turn things like flat sheets into folded sheets — perfect when making booklets, brochures, newsletters, greetings cards and so on. Whether we score or crease depends upon the thickness of the paper/card being used but, rest assured, you can leave such decisions to us.
When you need to be able to easily tear your documents along a predefined path, we can perforate the sheets to make it easy and accurate. We can also ‘micro perf’ on thinner sheets so that the path of the perforation is virtually invisible. Perforation is great for things like tear-off reply cards, tickets and vouchers and is one of those inexpensive finishing processes that simply make life easier. We can perforate in straight lines or, through use of a special tool, in curves and shapes of your choosing.
Keeping with the simple finishing processes first, we come to guillotining. Our guillotines can accurately and quickly cut whole reams of paper and card in one quick action. They’re even laser guided! So if you need something cut down to a smaller size, just let us know. Guillotining is another very inexpensive process.
Whether it’s permanently gluing tabs during the assembly of cartons, or using removable glue to temporarily hold a business card into a folder, we have many gluing processes available. We can glue multiple sheets of paper along one edge to form pads and we can add peel-off glue strips to items you may later want to seal (bespoke envelopes for example). We can even ‘print’ glue that allows the recipient to fold a document in half and seal the edges together with a little moisture – great when sending documents that need to double as a response form.
If you need your documents to sit perfectly in a 2 or 4-hole ring binder, simply ask us to drill the documents. It’s fast, neat, accurate, incredibly convenient and very inexpensive. Other uses for drilling printed documents include the production of swing tickets and hanging pads or displays.
If you’ve ever seen business cards or postcards with rounded corners, chances are they had standard corners originally but were punched, in a later finishing stage, to make the corners rounded. This is yet another simple and inexpensive finishing process that will make your printed document a little out of the ordinary.
Die-cutting takes it all a stage further and allows you to have documents that are cut to any shape imaginable. So, if you need folders for example, we can die-cut the flat sheets so that they end up with flaps that can be folded in and glued to form pockets, to hold inserts etc. The manufacture of cartons and boxes is another example of the use of die-cutting. If you need stationery with a wavy or shaped edge, we use die-cutting. Die-cutting can really transform printing into incredible things. Pop-up cards are a perfect example of how intricate the shapes can become. We covered die-cutting in greater detail in our recent post (you can read about it in full here).
Foil blocking or ‘foiling’ for short, allows us to ‘print’ shiny, metallic ‘foil’ graphics and text on paper and board. So if a logo has a lifelike silver, ‘mirror’ finish, then chances are it was foil blocked. We can foil silver, gold, black, white, transparent foil (for a subtle look) and a whole host of other colours. We can even foil block using holographic foil like you see on banknotes and the like (great for greetings cards, vouchers etc.). Foiling looks a million dollars and makes your printed document look high quality. Learn more about foiling options and the technique itself in our previous blog post here.
If you like the idea of part of your document graphics or text literally standing out, then consider our embossing service. Embossing uses metal dies, shaped precisely, to ‘push out’ your logo, graphics or text so that it stands forwards from the surface of the paper or board. Like foil blocking, embossing adds a real feel of quality to a document so is great for use on things like annual reports, brochure covers, stationery and greetings cards. Learn more here.
Varnishing is a great way to both protect your document (e.g. from finger printing and, in some cases, moisture) and give it an attractive sheen or high gloss. There are various types of varnish available (learn more about those here), ranging from the subtle (machine varnish) to the highest gloss imaginable (UV varnish). We can ‘flood’ varnish (varnish over everything) or ‘spot’ varnish (e.g. only varnish over photos or logos etc.).
Thermography is a traditional process, used less often these days than it used to be, but still has its place as it can look quite funky and even organic. It uses a technique involving thermographic powder and heat to raise the surface of the items printed on the paper. It is cheaper and faster than embossing but has a completely different feel. One benefit of using thermography rather than embossing is that thermography does not affect the reverse side of the printed sheet (embossing does). Read more about thermography here.
Encapsulating & Laminating
Encapsulation and lamination are techniques used during the finishing stages to ‘seal’ your printed sheets with a thin layer of what is essentially transparent plastic. Lamination can have a high gloss, matt or ‘soft touch’ finish. It is not only attractive but it also protects your documents from moisture. Encapsulation is similar but also has the tell-tale sign where the plastic extends beyond the edges of the printed sheet to form a transparent, sealed border. More information about the differences between lamination and encapsulation, and their respective uses, can be found here.
Collating & Assembling
Printers like us also offer collation and assembly services. So, for example, if you’re mailing out thousands of copies of a marketing pack or sales folder and each copy needs to have multiple inserts, all in the correct order, then that’s where our collation service comes in. Similarly, we assemble the folders themselves, including folding covers and flaps, gluing ‘tabs’ and even positioning business cards into folder slits. It’s the same for the manufacture of cartons – we can do all the assembly too.
Inserting & Envelope Stuffing
In a similar way, we are happy to offer an envelope stuffing service. So, if you’re doing a big mail-out and printed letters, leaflets and the like need to be stuffed professionally into envelopes and then sealed before being posted, we have it covered.
If you need a large print-out mounted to something like board or Foamex, it’s no problem. We can make a printed sheet suitable for hanging or display in no time at all.
Need invoices or order sheets made into multi-page pads with a hard back and protective cover? No problem. Need multiple page NCR (no carbon required) order pads made for your café or restaurant? Again, no problem. Marketing departments may also benefit from supplying branded scribble pads to their visitors and prospects – in fact we make and use those ourselves. Padding is simple, quick and inexpensive at Firstpoint Print.
Taking padding a stage further, we also offer document binding services, for example, wiro binding, which is neat and attractive, saddle stitching (staples in the spine – great for brochures) and perfect binding (think ‘soft-back book’ just like a novel) amongst many other types. Let us know if you’d like to discuss the many options.
A Perfect Finish From Firstpoint Print
So you can see that there are many additional ‘finishing’ processes that can and do totally transform your documents, whether it’s simply to enhance their appearance and appeal (e.g. varnishes, embossing, foiling etc.) or to make them into something else entirely (folders, cartons, pads, greetings cards etc.) … Firstpoint Print can do it all, with professional flair and attention to detail.
Firstpoint Print are commercial printers in London – please contact your nearest branch for further details or a no-obligation quotation: