Creep in printing is a phenomenon that affects the accuracy of printed materials, leading to misaligned pages and unusable products. As a printing professional, understanding what creep is and how it can affect your projects can make all the difference between success and failure. So, what is creep? How does it occur? And, most importantly, how can you prevent it? These are just a few questions we’ll answer in this blog post.
Creep is an issue that has plagued printers for decades, yet many still don’t fully understand it. However, with the increasing demand for high-quality printed materials, getting a handle on this issue is more important than ever. Whether you’re printing books, brochures, or any other material, understanding creep is essential to produce accurate and professional-looking products.
What is Creep?
Creep is a common phenomenon in the printing industry that can cause headaches for printers and publishers alike. Essentially, creep occurs when multiple pages are nested inside one another, causing the innermost pages to protrude further than the outer pages. This can be a problem for saddle-stitched books with over 24 pages, which require adjustments to account for the creep.
Creep is also known as shingling and feathering, and it is a result of the thickness of the paper and the way it is folded and bound. As the book is printed and bound, the pages are nested inside one another, creating a stack thicker in the center than on the edges. This can cause the innermost pages to protrude, creating a noticeable shift in the margins and alignment of the text.
So why does creep happen? When multiple pages are nested together, the thickness of the paper causes the inner pages to be slightly shorter than the outer pages. This means that when the pages are folded and stacked together, the inner pages will stick out slightly further than the outer pages.
How Does Creep Affect My Job?
It’s important to understand that creep is more likely to occur in saddle-stitched books over 24 pages or printed on thicker paper. When the printed signatures are folded down and nested within each other, the thickness of the sheets will cause the inner pages to push out slightly, resulting in a difference between the book’s final size and the inner pages’ size.
This can cause several issues, particularly for designers working with elements close to the edge of the page. For example, if incorrectly positioned, page numbers or borders may be trimmed off. This can result in an unprofessional-looking final product, a major issue if you print marketing materials or other important documents.
To avoid issues with creep, it’s important to consider it when designing your document. This means ensuring that design elements are positioned correctly and leaving enough margin space for any potential trimming. It’s also a good idea to work with a printer experienced in dealing with creep issues, as they can advise you on the best way to avoid any problems. Hire professional to design and print your book (find in Norway – Design til bok).
How Can I Plan for Creep?
As you fold and bind the pages, the innermost pages are pushed outward, causing the outer pages to shift inward. This can cause the design elements near the outer edge of the pages to be trimmed off during the finishing process, resulting in an unprofessional-looking final product.
So how can you plan for creep in your design? Here are some tips:
- Leave space: When designing your saddle stitch book, avoid putting any important design elements too close to the outer edges of the pages. Leave at least a 1/4 to 1/2 inch space between the design elements and the edge of the paper to ensure that they won’t be trimmed off during finishing.
- Avoid crossovers: If your design includes crossovers that span across two pages, try to avoid placing them too close to the centerfold. As the pages shift during binding, the middle of the crossover will look strange and misaligned.
- Design without borders: Square box borders may look great in your design, but they can cause issues with creep. As the pages shift inward, the spacing on the left and right sides of the border will be off-center. Try to design your book without borders or with borders that are flexible and can adjust to the shifting pages.
- Keep page numbers simple: If your saddle stitch book includes page numbers, keep them simple without any design elements that could be trimmed off during finishing. Center the page numbers to avoid shifting issues.
Planning for creep in your saddle stitch book design may seem minor, but it can make a big difference in the final product. By leaving space, avoiding crossovers, designing without borders, and keeping page numbers simple, you can ensure that your book looks professional and polished.
How Can I Adjust for Creep?
The first step is determining the thickness, or caliper, of the paper you’ll print. Once you have this information, you can use a simple formula to calculate the total amount of creep for your pages. Take the number of pages in your document, divide it by four, and subtract one. This gives you the number of spreads in your document. Multiply the number of spreads by the thickness of the paper, and you have your total creep.
For example, let’s say you’re printing a 48-page book on 70# offset paper with a caliper of .005″. Using the formula, we get: 48/4-1=11 spreads. 11x.005″=.055″ total creep.
Once you have your total creep, you must adjust each page individually. The adjustment required for each page will depend on its position in the document. Pages closer to the book’s center will require more adjustment than those at the beginning or end.
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For our example, 48-page book, pages 1, 2, 47, and 48 will stay the same. Pages 3, 4, 45, and 46 will need to be moved in .005″ (.36 pt), pages 5, 6, 43, and 44 will need to be moved in .01″, pages 7, 8, 41, and 42 will need to be moved in .015″, and so on until all the pages have been adjusted.
It’s important to note that adjustments should be made to each spread’s left and right sides. This will ensure that the text and images are centered and that nothing is cut off or too close to the gutter. Read our previous article on Global 3D Food Printing Market Size.
To sum up
Creep in printing is a problem that can cause misaligned pages and unusable products. It happens when the inner pages of a booklet or brochure shift slightly outward from the center. It occurs due to the thickness of paper, which causes each subsequent page to be slightly larger than the previous one. Fortunately, various techniques and strategies can be used to prevent creep, such as adjusting margins, using creep compensation, and carefully selecting paper thickness. By understanding what creep is and how it can affect your projects, you can produce high-quality, accurate, and professional-looking printed materials that meet the demands of your clients.