Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Holidays—Bringing Back a Classic

Bringing back a classic .... Gingi!!! in Recipe for Love... from your friends at MORRIS!

For the full video, outtakes and behind the scenes footage:

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Happy Holidays From the Crazy Crew at MORRIS

One Nutty Family—MORRIS.

For our holiday card this year we decided to take pics of our team in the classic, but not so flattering "Olan Mills" style with some character twists—figuratively and literally. We find this annual holiday card a great opportunity to share the personality of our team. If it's not obvious, we're... having lots of fun too. And while we take our work seriously, we don't take ourselves seriously. The photos here are all taken by our staff photographer "Flash" and carefully chosen for your viewing pleasure.

Best wishes from all of us here at MORRIS for a happy holiday and a healthy, peaceful and prosperous new year!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Package Design and Flexography—Printing Limitations

To my knowledge—at least since I've been the Print Production Manager at MORRIS—we haven't used flexo printing.

Recently we were asked to design a ticket that would be printed using this method. The difference between offset printing and flexography is that the image is transferred directly from the plate to the substrate (no blanket), in this case paper. It's used most often for packaging. A flexo press can print on a variety of materials, including plastics, labels, cardboard, etc.

Here are some tips and limitations to consider when designing packaging. This info came from

Although many of the recent improvements in flexo printing have broadened its capabilities, specific factors need to be understood when designing graphics for this process. ­According to Terri McConnell, director of brand strategy for Gravity, a subsidiary of Phototype, flexo has a several important limitations that must be considered. These include:

• Dot gain is a problem, especially when creating drop shadows and soft gradients, blends, and vignettes;

• Minimum line weights and type sizes are more difficult and traps are often heavier, making small type areas and more elegant, fine-line aesthetics challenging;

• Registration limitations dictate the use of outlines around reverse copy and graphics on backgrounds made from more than one color;

• Having to run separate plates for tone/screen and solids of the same color can significantly impact the number of ink stations available for design, notes McConnell.

“There’s no question that designing for flexo requires special consideration and forethought,” observes Rick Murphy, creative director for Gravity. “Just as an artist has to understand the unique characteristics of watercolors versus oils, package designers must understand the differences between the flexo and offset or gravure mediums in order to conceptualize a winning package that won’t disappoint when it comes off the press onto the shelf.”

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Press Jargon 101—So exciting.

After reviewing my goals, I realize I've been really slacking on my responsibility here! It's probably best I post something that you can learn from—I know it's been awhile!

This particular installment is for folks JUST getting into print production. A little lesson on print jargon, most of it straight from the folks at Mohawk, Wikipedia, and

In 2007, Mohawk put out a little flip book called Vital Information. I have used that item as a resource since (especially when I'm proofing and the age-old em and en dashes vs. hyphens issue comes up!). As I perused the book, I ran across some press lingo that's widely used. Knowing the vernacular will give beginners a leg-up when dealing with print vendors.

Plate: Printing processes such as offset lithography (see definition below) use printing plates to transfer an image to paper or other substrates. The plates may be made of metal, plastic, rubber, paper, or other materials. The image is put on the printing plates using photomechanical, photochemical, or laser engraving processes. See image below for an example of a typical plate, printed on metal (or aluminum).

Typically, printing plates are attached to a cylinder in the press. Ink is applied to the plate's image area and transferred directly to the paper or to an intermediary cylinder and then to the paper. The printing plates used depends on the type of press, the printing method, and quantity of the print run. A plate is prepared for each color used, or four plates in the case of 4-color (CMYK) process printing.

Offset: Short for "offset lithography." A commonly used printing technique where the inked image is transferred (offset) from a plate to a rubber "blanket" (essentially, a rubber plate) to the printing surface (paper, etc.). It is the most common form of printing used for quantities between 1,000 and 100,000. See image below.

Sheet-fed: Method of printing on sheets of paper. See image below.

Parent Sized Sheet: Most mills offer their paper in "parent-sized" sheets. A typical parent sized sheet is approximately 35" x 23" or 35" x 40." These are the sheets the offset presses typically use. Your print vendor's pre-press team will figure out how to layout your design on the parent sheets of the paper you specify.

Gripper Edge: The leading edge of the paper as it passes through a printing press.

Sheetwise: To print one side of paper with one set of plates, then turn the sheet over and print the other side with another set of plates, using the same gripper and side guide.

Web: A method of printing on rolls of paper (vs. parent sized sheets). This method is typically used on items that require you to print large quantities (100K+). See image below for an example of a web press.

Hope this basic lesson in press jargon was helpful. Now, print with confidence!