…but what ARE reprographics? – Creation

16 Apr 2020

Design is often thought of as the heart of great packaging and labels, but it doesn’t work in isolation. In the packaging industry, we often say that the reprographics process turns great design into outstanding packaging, but to some, the term ‘reprographics’ and its role in the packaging supply chain are a bit of a mystery. 

So, what IS the reprographics process, and where does it fit into the value chain? 

Distilled to the basics, reprographics are set of prepress processes that allow graphic design in one format to be successfully ‘translated’ into anotherAlmost exclusively today that means turning digital artwork into standout physical packaging production. Reprographicsmore formally referred to as reprography, allows packaging designers and converters to combine their market knowledge and brand with a tangible, physical product – and it’s an essential process in today’s competitive omnichannel retail space. 

Reprographics … the first touchpoint! 

As the first consumer touchpoint, packaging is often the initial and most impactful opportunity to communicate the features and benefits of the product. Not only that, with sustainability being so high on the priority list for consumers, being able to promote eco-friendly credentials and the processes that provide them, becomes more important than ever. Therefore, standing out with thorough pre-press operations is crucial.  

Reprography is not one singular process and is often the ‘unsung hero’ of the label and packaging supply chain. It is primarily concerned with translating design elements and direction into tangible user-ready products and so involves everything from initial design creation and artwork processes, through to colour management. Finding the right reprographics partner can utterly transform packaging from a fundamental basic into an active competitive advantage.  

As the operation that is responsible for the artwork quality that the customer holds in their hands, the value of a reliable, authentic and expert reprographics partner becomes very clear. 

Reprographics all about colour! 

For brands wishing to appeal to consumers, appearance is everything. Consumers are believed to make purchase decisions within the first seven seconds of seeing a product for the first time, either committing to purchase or side-lining in favour of known alternativesWhen the scope of impact is limited to the first few seconds, presentation is absolutely critical. 

A core part of the reprographics process is colour management. Branding and long-term loyalty relies of consistency, repetition and replicability. After all, what use is a brand identity if it varies from print run to print run? 

Effective reprography doesn’t just make the packaging or label look great, it’s an essential component to protecting brand equity; and the long-term consumer loyalty that comes with it. 

Reprographics… delivering consistency! 

According to research from WePack, almost 40 percent of consumers state that colour is the most appealing feature of a product’s packaging. When colour is so crucial to the consumer’s decision to purchase, it should be just as vital to the printer and brand too! It’s therefore important to implement reliable colour reproduction processes early in the production stage, to ensure the colour matches the brand standard at every point.  

When multiple substrates are used for different elements of the same packaging or a brand is seeking to maintain its palette across multiple packaging formats – bags to boxes – it can prove to be a real challenge to maintain colour consistency. Inks can behave very differently from one material to another, which demonstrates the value of partner that has the skills and expertise to control the variability. A reprographics partner takes the strain away, ensuring colour consistency is transformed into a competitive edge.  

Reprographics … minimising costs! 

Brands taking a ‘belt and braces’ approach to design use prepress partners to catch and eliminate potential errors in artwork before it even reaches production. Recently, label quality control business, Global Vision, revealed that 60% of product recalls were due to labelling and packaging art errors.  

The benefit of partnering with a reprographics house is that the skills within the business are honed. For example, at Creation, our team is highly experienced in the design and artwork process and can advise on best practice from the outset – from pack to shelf – ensuring right first time printing and minimising waste across the supply chain. Keeping the entire process hassle-free, the team uses its enviable expertise in digital rendering technology and advanced software to translate design into print-ready artwork that delivers consistent, high quality results on time, every time 

Ultimately for printers, working with a skilled reprographics partner eliminates unnecessary costs in errors and print reruns, as well as in the associated lost time and manpower. Think of a reprographics partner as a design safety net, as well as a technical powerhouse. 

Reprographics … driving sustainability! 

For any printer, replicating consistent colour across the lifespan of the print run is no mean feat. The variability in presses, materials, inks, plates, aniloxes, screens …. the list goes on all contributing to variable print performance.  

The ideal reprographics partner combines excellence in several key fields to support the printer manage this variability. The reprographics process entails managing the design and delivering print ready artwork across multimedia formatsas well as screen and polymer plate manufacturing, to ensure the tonal continuity that not only brings the ultimate pack to life but delivers vibrancy and standout shelf appeal every time. 

But more than just eye-catching design, packaging has to reflect the society it exists in, and in today’s retail landscape that means being demonstrably sustainable. As well as the numerous advances in packaging material and design, one of the most efficient ways to boost sustainability in packaging is at the pre-press stage 

At Creation we pioneer a suite of water-washable flexo plates that cut harmful solvents and VOCsout of the prepress equation altogether. Savvy brands and printers are integrating solvent-free eco-friendly pre-press processes into their wider sustainability story – with significant results. 

Reprographics … essential to competitive advantage! 

The reprographics process is a cousin of design – concerned with vibrancy, visual impact and brand identity, but equally invested in the mechanics that translate it into a finished product that truly wows. The retail space is as fierce and crowded as it has ever been, and brands cannot afford to underestimate the importance of an effective and comprehensive reprographics process 

In the context of the wider supply chain, reprographics truly are an ‘unsung hero’ of the packaging and labelling industry. Combining attention to detail with a creative eye that turns graphic design into not just an art, but a science too, and enabling the competitive advantage for brands and printers that understand the huge contribution it makes to efficient and effective packaging and labelling manufacturing. 

At Creation, we understand the complexities involved in creating packaging that thrives, not just survives. Standing out and becoming the preferred choice of consumers is a packaging process that truly springs from a strong reprographics process.  

Contact us on +44 (0) 1327 312444  or info@creation-repro.com
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