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Tech Talk & Templates

Tech Talk is an area to provide brief explanations of some of the terminology used in the plastics and printing industries.

CMYK The 4 base colours used in 4 colour process printing, or full colour printing. Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black.  Cyan = blue, Magenta = red.
Debossing The process by which an image is depressed into the substrate (plastic). Generally achieved by a mixture of heat and pressure.
Foil Blocking A printing process that using metal plates etched with the desired image. These plates (blocks) are heated and press a piece of coloured foil onto the product. The heat transfers the the foil onto the product.
Full Colour Process Printing Otherwise known as 4 colour process printing, this process uses 4 basic colours (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow & Black - CMYK) mixed in various proportions to achieve photographic quality images.  Cyan = blue, Magenta = red.

Full colour process printing can be achieved by various printing methods: 


Offset Printing:  A commonly used technique in which the image is transferred (or 'offset') form a plate to a rubber blanket, then to the printing surface. The modern "web" process feeds a large reel of paper, or sheets of plastic through a large press machine in several parts, typically for several meters, which then prints continuously as the paper / plastic is fed through.


Screen Printing:  Is the process of using a mesh based stencil to apply ink onto a substrate, whether it be t-shirts, posters, stickers, vinyl, wood or other material.


Digital PrintingA method of printing from a digital based image directly onto a variety of media. It usually refers to professional printing where small-run jobs are printed using large-format and/or high-volume laser or inkjet printers.  Digital printing has a higher cost per page  than traditional offset printing methods, but this price is offset by avoiding the cost of all the technical steps required to make printing plates.  It also allows for on-demand printing, short turnaround times, and even a modification of the image (variable data) used for each impression.

PMS Pantone Matching System is the international printing, publishing and packaging colour language.  The Pantone formula guide provides an accurate method of selection, specification, communication, reproduction, matching and control of solid Pantone Matching System colours.  Printing inks in Pantone colours are available pre-mixed, or can be faithfully reproduced / matched using the Pantone guide's mixing formulas. Each colour is identified by a unique Pantone name or number - the PMS number.  click here to view PMS colour chart   Please note however, that colours displayed here are being generated by your computer monitor, and may NOT be a TRUE representation of the PMS colour.  Computer monitors generate colours in RGB (Red, Green and Blue) and can achieve over 16million colour subtlties. Only around 1200 PMS colours are available.  Always refer to a Pantone Book to view TRUE colours.
Poly The common abbreviation for polypropylene material. Polypropylene is a non-toxic material and contains NO chlorine, cadmium or other heavy metals. It is an evironmentally responsible material that is 100% recyclable.



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