An image on packaging is decisive for the overall impression. Our fruits become more crispy and freshly. We work with pictures produced by our photographers or with motifs supplied by outside parties. We produce a perfect shine through creative retouching and composing all in accordance with technological printing demands.
We place great importance on technically advising our customers in the early development stage. Our early participation ensures that a good design is interpreted for the print process in the most efficient and cost effective manner.
We make practical proposals on the innovative use of printing processes. We create detailed technical drawings that highlight the design, colours and varnish areas for the later packaging. We offer a technical guide for agencies that summarises all the information relevant for the further prepress process.
We use packaging simulations in a targeted way to correct incorrect estimates and false expectations early. The more realistically we reproduce the impression of the later packaging, the more precisely our customers can assess its impact. We simulate the later packaging with great fidelity to detail and in realistic colours with mock-ups. We generate both static and animated Packshots with the help of professional 3D software solutions so one can investigate very specific characteristics of a package through a three-dimensional view on a screen.
A close cooperation with designers and art workers is an essential moment in our prepress process because photos play an important role in packaging.
The production of a Master artwork is a creative technical process for us. This involves developing a reproducible model for a new packaging design in a particular format. We take great care to request all of the relevant information in advance so that all text and image elements match the later original 1:1.
We view an artwork variant as a technical creative process. We adapt a master artwork to particular variants of the same product range. Independently of whether we develop a language, taste or size variant, we always try to find the ideal balance between the special requirements of the individual variant and the generally applicable design guidelines.
We adapt text and graphics elements with respect to different country and language clusters. The taste orientation and packaging size stay identical here.
Different variations can occur in a product series depending on the taste. In this case we exchange a picture, for example, or supplement a line extender. We do not make any changes to the language or container size.
The challenge here is that we must modify the artwork for a different container size without essentially altering the proportions. This is because the fundamental design architecture should continue to survive across all of the artwork variants.
We use special software solutions in artwork for rapid and reliable quality control. On the one hand, this involves a comparison with the design file released by the customer and on the other hand, version comparisons in the development process of an artwork.
We use additional software solutions, to ensure that the artwork and reproduction match exactly and on the other hand to compare repro data on a separation basis. Our software supports quality control works in a very targeted way, reliably and quickly.
In Repro we prepare the artwork for industrial printing so that we can guarantee reliable results. We produce digital reproductions for packaging printing using the flexo or offset process. Depending on the customer’s requirement, we prepare the artwork information relevant for printing process or printer. For the process reproduction we take into account all parameters which are inherent in a certain printing process. The printer reproduction is comparably more time-consuming, but guarantees the highest quality standards. By taking account of all technical parameters as far as printer-specific criteria, we can safeguard unchanging results and optimum quality.
In the early phase of the prepress process we produce a target proof to define uniform standards and reliable objectives for the next phases. To do this, a file is printed with a targeted colour space conversion on a calibrated printer. This simulation of the expected result under reliable conditions must be released by the customer and subsequently acts as a binding model.
It is the result of colour separation in reproduction. We transmit the calibrated repro data electronically and we are able to present contract proof on monitors. Once the soft proof has been present on calibrated monitors and our server, little room is left for surprises. The only prerequisite for an absolutely reliable result is a calibrated monitor and suitable software solution. For this, we first calibrate the monitors. We are able to control calibration of monitors with intergrated sensor and our network theoretically every day.
All printing forms produced by 5M are carefully checked. The Step & Repeat Proof exclusively targets technical parameters. We check the distribution of use as well as the overall layout of the printing form. We also safeguard the correct placement of printing and control marks with this proof.
The contract proof is the result of colour separation in reproduction. It involves simulating the real printing conditions as exactly as possible. We gauge all contingencies for each individual printing project based on our many years of experience and the greatest of accuracy and use our comprehensive Print Colour Management. This means that we can optimise the entire process early in the digital phase. Once the contract proof has been printed, little room is left for surprises. Contract proof can be presented as HardProof or SoftProof.
There are no definite industry standards in packaging printing due to the huge spectrum of substrates, ink systems and refinement processes. If printing is done at different sites, or if different printing processes are used, minimising colour variations represents a major challenge. In the past, optimisation occurred through adjustments to the printing press, but we can now safeguard the consistency of the print result through fingerprint-based targeted print colour management in the digital phase. As a result we work with an individual profiling process, which includes all of the relevant process parameters (up to 20 variables) in flexo and offset printing. This means that we can guarantee maximum colour consistency from design to print on varied substrata.
It is no longer possible to imagine prepress process without a remote proof, especially for companies with extensive communication over long distances. The time and cost saving is huge as the proofs neither have to be printed nor sent. Instead we transmit the calibrated repro data electronically as a compressed ZIP file to our customer. The only prerequisite for an absolutely reliable result is a calibrated printer and suitable software solution. For this, in addition to well-known standard products from highly-reputed software providers such as GMG, we also use our in-house developed ‘prn’ application, which controls colour precision in the entire workflow.
Flexo printing is a widely established printing technology. We manufacture printing forms for packaging printing, which are tailored for the widest variety of applications. The printing forms can be manufactured by using different processes:
1. Analogue plate manufacture
Analogue plate manufacture is the oldest process for producing flexo printing forms, which we now only use in a few individual cases. The flexible printing plates are imaged using analogue repro technology, washed with solvents and then dried.
2. Digital print form manufacture/digital film
Digital printing form production is the method most commonly used in the market. The printing plates are imaged directly by a laser with an imaging resolution of up to 4,000 ppi. The digital flexo printing form has outclassed the analogue form in terms of printing quality and furthermore offers a clearly extended tonal value spectrum with fine vignettes, exceptionally good reproduction of highlights and shadows as well as very good repeatability. Depending on our customers’ requirements we can implement screen resolutions of up to 74 l/ cm. We are able to produce “digital film”. This file is prepared with step and repeat, and all smart marks. It is ready for direct imaging and can be sent to any place in the world.
We achieve extremely precise, sharp printing results with HD-Flexo imaging technology. During digital plate production it allows the combination of high-resolution optics of 4,000 ppi with unique screen technologies. With HD-Flexo we can obtain an excellent printing quality with glossy highlights, stable middle tones, even full tones and higher full tone densities across the entire tonal value spectrum.
4. Direct gravure of elastomer sleeves
Elastomer printing forms convince through their high life spans and a better colour transfer. These are complemented by the advantages of endless printing forms, plus, for example, higher printing speeds and better matching. We prepare files for endless printing forms as sleeves or rolls by using direct gravure. Here the laser removes all non-printing areas of the printing form in a single-stage gravure process.
Close cooperation with the printers is essential for us, independently of whether we are working on their instructions or directly for a brand owner. The first decisive interface already lies in the digital phase. This involves thinking through all details of a pending printing project together, to safeguard via reproduction the highest-quality results in production printing. The link between prepress and print expertise is very valuable in this stage for exploiting the full potential of a printing project for the client.
This exchange is also very valuable shortly before printing. As we have already tested all of the ink formulas thoroughly in advance and have extensive know-how at our disposal, we can save the printer valuable time and expense in production printing. That also applies to the brand owner if we take over onsite print approval in his name. As professional printing support and print approval are highly important for the consistency of a brand’s appearance, we make this service available to brand owners for all printing processes, independently of the printing form production.