The flexographic printing process has been used for package printing applications since the late 1800's. Recent improvements in the flexographic technology have enabled flexographic printers to compete in new market areas that have historically been served by roto-gravure or offset lithographic printing. Occurring simultaneously with the flexographic printing improvements has been the infusion of personal computer-based graphic design capabilities. Designers can optimize quality only when they understand the strengths and weaknesses of the printing process that will be used to mass produce their design. Desktop design capabilities and the need for flexographic print quality to match or exceed lithographic and roto-gravure print quality are both factors that accentuate the need to understand the process in an effort to create a design that will be of high quality when printed flexographically. Designing package graphics for the flexographic process is unique for a number of reasons, ( the "master image carrier" (printing plate) is significantly different from roto-gravure and offset lithography, the inks used in flexography are significantly different form those used in gravure) and a wider assortment of substrates may be printed by the flexographic process than by the offset lithographic process. Each substrate has its own printing characteristics. This thesis will inform those who may be interested in designing for flexographic printing of the unique considerations that should be addressed when designing a package graphic for flexographic printing. Considerations specifically addressed are; variable repeat length capabilities, reverse-side printing, trapping, typography halftones and dot-gain screen ruling and substrate, step-and-repeat and flexographic plate elongation.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Department, Program, or Center
Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering Technology (CAST)
Lee, Barry, "Design characteristics unique to the flexographic printing process" (1998). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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