This guide gives designers some basic rules to follow when preparing artwork for Flexographic (flexo) printing. These guidelines help the designer, the customer and LINC work as partners, resulting in a quality end product and high customer satisfaction. Most graphic design software is geared to offset printing. Offset tolerances are tighter and also allow a greater degree of artistic freedom than the flexo process can tolerate. However, flexo can equal offset in most areas and today’s advances in flexo plates are producing quality that rivals offset if just a few things are taken into consideration.
The Flexo Process
Flexographic printing plates are made with a raised image, while offset plates use a flat or planographic plate to carry the ink. As a result, ink dots are produced in halftones; process colour and screens are carried on the tips of the raised cones or pyramids on the flexo plate. This places a limit on the size of the dot that flexo can hold. Another flexo factor is the register tolerance of colour to colour. The raised softer plate, roll-to-roll (web) printing method and spongy self-adhesive paper constructions define these tolerance limits.