Changes in production methods are occurring with such magnitude, and so rapidly, that it is almost impossible to keep apprised of the latest technologies. This often leaves designers in a quandary, wondering what production direction to go. Dynamic changes in the industry have taken place before, are happening now, and will continue into the future.
We offer a full range of color digital proofs. For those clients requiring off-press contract proofs, we provide our own unique custom-color proofs.
The production options can be combined with post-press finishing including foils, varnishes, embossing, debossing, shrink-wrapping, laser cutting and die-cutting.
The advent of digital color has been a breakthrough for designers and print production in general. We can now accurately (what is your level of accuracy?) proof color efficiently and cost effectively without going on press. There are multiple ink technologies being used today, and the three most common, Inkjet, Eco-Solvent, and UV curable are supported at A2A Studio.
Digital color gets tricky in understanding how CMYK proofing is done when the colors in a printer can include Light Cyan, Light Magenta, Orange, Green, Violet (and others!). The key is to limit color gamut on the proofing end to match that of the final press output. Why show vibrant blues, greens and oranges that cannot be reproduced within the CMYK gamut?
A2A sets out to match the Lab values of all spot colors in a file to a standard dE <2. All new colors are matched, profiled, and added into our library. We recognize that this is often a challenge, but producing the finest quality and most accurate work is our goal.
Our eco-solvent printer has the ability to print both White and Metallic Silver inks without any downtime as they are always in the printer and ready to go. White is critical, especially in packaging, when printing on a clear substrate such as shrink film, polybags and labels. The Silver can vary in reflectivity from the look of an ink to a replication of a foil. A silver base provides the capability to create a full family of metallics through digital ink mixing.
Our UV flatbed printer has been configured with an inline primer, clear ink and two channels of white. These inks, in addition to CMYK, allow us to print combinations of colors and effects including directly printing to a variety of substrates including metals, glass, plastics, wood and stone.
Additionally, with our kebab accessory we can print rotationally onto cylindrical objects. The opportunity to prototype directly onto cans and glass bottles with color and texture opens up a new level of creativity while shortening time to market.
While things have been shifting to digital production, we continue to make Rubdown Transfers daily for comps and prototypes. Rubdowns are a simple and easy way to apply any color (including metallics and fluorescents), varnish effects (matte or gloss) and even foils to virtually any substrate.
Rubdowns can be basically any number of colors (remember, the more colors you use, the costs will increase.) We can make continuous tone (4C process) rubdowns, which require a white or clear membrane behind them. Why you ask? Otherwise you would be rubbing down dots that are 150 line screen!
Have any questions? Just ask. We stock many foils from the major suppliers (Kurz, Crown Roll Leaf, Infinity, etc.) and can turn them into rubdowns for your application, or if you prefer, we can apply them to your projects. This is a very cost effective (no stamping dies necessary) and efficient (no time lost waiting for the dies) method of prototyping.
Direct imaging offers the most high fidelity means of proofing and prototyping today. This is a film-based analog printing method featuring an unlimited number of custom mixed colors up to 200 line screen (If you are not printing at 200, our standard is 150, just like most printers).
Colors are matched to a standard with a dE <2. Printing actual mixed inks as opposed to digital representations makes this the most accurate off-press proofing method. We can integrate foils, varnishes, metallics and fluorescents, as well as custom inks to match specified press densities if desired.
One of the biggest benefits of the shrink sleeve is its ability to conform to virtually any structure. Shrinks offer full-color covering even if the material isn’t perfectly cylindrical. Because shrink sleeves are activated by heat, the shrink wrap conforms to the product packaging, meaning you can use every inch of the product surface for marketing purposes.
Shrink labels offer great flexibility when it comes to changing product packaging without changing the whole container. Designers can create a variety of designs, prototype and test them cost effectively and efficiently. Different shrink wraps can be applied to suit different products, changes in seasonal offerings, and specialty branding designs.
Due to the material and printing technique of shrink wrapping, shrinks are extra-durable making them ideal for products that see wear and tear or condensation that could jeopardize the designs of certain exterior packaging. Reverse printed, shrink labels have their ink protected by a clear film. This prevents scratching and scuffing during shipping and protects label designs from condensation and other environmental stressors.
Effects like tactile varnish, spot gloss, foil, and more can be added to shrink sleeves. The possibilities are endless for specialty design features and neat extras that can really make your product stand out.
Laser machines can cut or engrave wood, paper, plastic, fabric, foam, and much more with such high precision and speed, giving lasers a clear advantage over other types of cutting technologies.
Laser cut intricate designs from paper, acrylic, wood and more with A2A’s CO2 laser. You can laser cut layers to create 3D models, paper invitations, wood inlays, and much more.
Additionally, the laser’s ability to engrave high-resolution graphics into a variety of substrates, including metals glass and ceramics provides our clients with a greater variety of design and production options.
Embossing adds interesting texture to your concepts and can make any design project look polished and finished. It’s a simple way to add a new visual element to your design without worrying about incorporating new colors, patterns, or embellishments.
Debossing is basically the opposite of embossing. Instead of creating a raised pattern, debossing creates an indented pattern. People often confuse the two. An easy to way to remember is D is for down.
Either technique can be produced with multiple levels. A multi-level emboss or deboss creates a very unique visual and tactile effect.
Foil embossing is basically exactly what it sounds like – an embossed foil pattern. You can achieve this luxe look by simply stamping a specified foil and embossing it using an embossing plate.
Design, prototyping and consultation for the manufacturing of secure financial cards is a unique service of A2A.
As an industry innovator in the design and manufacturing of secure financial cards, Adam, Creative Director of A2A has been recognized for his knowledge and expertise as a leading professional in the card manufacturing industry by speaking internationally, featured in The New York Times on the evolution of credit cards and earning the Advanced Card Education (ACE-M) Accreditation from the International Card Manufacturing Association (ICMA).
Over the past 25 years, A2A has been involved with financial institutions, card associations and branding companies in the design and production of their financial cards and accompanying collateral. Our projects have included Mastercard, Visa, Discover and American Express to Coin, PayPal, Venmo, Nubank, Capital One, Barclays, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and Citibank.
The printing press check is a step in the printing process. It takes place after a printing press is set up but before the print run is underway.
While errors should have been corrected during the Color Proofing and development stages, the main purpose of a press check is to make sure that the color on press comes as close as possible to the color proof. Color proofs are valuable guides, but due to the inherent differences between color proofing techniques and printing itself, proofs will match the printed sheet with varying degrees of exactness.
A2A offers this service on-site at our clients' printers and manufacturers. We work directly with printers around the globe and can provide consultation on all types of printing, from offset, to silkscreen, flexography as well as secure card manufacturing.
Don't have a printer in mind? We can offer recommendations as well for book, periodical, poster, and packaging printers and manufacturers.
Working on files everyday in a variety of markets, A2A is often tasked to provide not only color accurate proofs, but the final production files as well.
With over 30 years experience in typography and prepress, A2A has produced several award winning books, packages, and secure financial cards.
We will work directly with the selected vendor, discuss color profiles and various stocks and finishing techniques.
Often we are asked for recommendations and we have a very select roster of vendors which we will share based on the project, location and budget.
A2A works with a variety of designers, photographers, and museums to produce short-run fine art prints.
These prints are produced first as samples on different substrates in varying sizes. Any adjustments in size or color are taken care of in the sample stage.
Upon approval, A2A produces these fine art posters using inkjet technology, proprietary color tables, and 10 channels of color. With a combination of 10 colors, the vibrancy and accuracy of color gives artists the opportunity to create work that was previously too expensive or time consuming.
All of our prints are produced on-demand. The minimum run size is one. The files reside on a server with locked in color profiles. Prints are constantly monitored for color accuracy by spectrophotometer. Repeatability and production time are non-issues. A print today will look like a print produced next week, next month, even next year. Since all prints are produced on-demand, there are no startup costs (screens or plates), carrying inventory or storage of unsold prints.
A2A is proud to offer fulfillment services for many of our clients. The majority of our fulfillment is for our on-demand fine art posters.
Our clients offer their art prints through their websites. These orders will come through to a dedicated server with the order and all shipping details. A2A will print the order, place the pieces into polybags, roll and ship in double boxed packages (tube + carton) to ensure the pieces will arrive in pristine condition to their final destination.
We ship internationally for all of the artists we represent. Our range of deliveries extend from North America, South America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. We primarily ship FedEx or USPS, but will defer to the client if they have a preferred courier.