Graphic Products

Revision cards for Graphic Products



Sketching ideas and designs

  • Sketches and quick drawings record ideas on paper, which can evolve into your final idea and presentation drawing.
  • They help visualise thoughts and communicate ideas.
  • Sketches show shape and form. Annotation explains how it works.
  • Quick sketches are freehand or use basic equipment.
  • It is quick and informal.
  • Pictoral drawings are more precise, and show size and proportion more clearly.

Freehand sketching:

  • Straight lines are drawn with a medium pencil and a ruler.
  • To draw a freehand curve, the wrist/fingers are used as a natural compass.

Pictoral drawings:

  • They are drawn with a ruler. 
  • 3D are used to show length, width, and thickness. 2D are used to draw nets.
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Sketching enhancement


  • Pencils: 7H to 7B. HB for sketching, 2H for formal drawings. Should be sharp. Coloured pencils have many colours and tones. They are used for enhancing designs. Water soluble pencils are used for a colour wash.Paper: Cartridge paper is used in schools. Other types are available. It is described by its size, weight, and thickness. Weight = grams per square metre. Microns measure thickness.
  • Marker pens: Water based - cheap, easy to use, strong colours. Spirit based - expensive, standard colours and tones. Bullet or chisel shaped. Bleed on normal paper
  • Graphic liner pens: Inexpensive and disposable. Constant width and density. Used for general 'lining-in' work.
  • CAD: Sketch and design onscreen. Tablet and pen is more accurate than the mouse.

Improving your sketch:

  • Thin/thick line: Make the shape stand out. If only one surface/face is seen, a thick line is used.
  • Tonal shading: Improves the illusion of 3D.
  • Colour: Makes the design stand out, and makes it more attractive. They can higlight the shape or be used to show the material used.
  • Texture: Effects can show texture. Increases the illusion of a material. Can be made by lines and colour.
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Grids and underlays


  • They are used to improved drawings.
  • The fird helps to maintain the size and depth of the drawing.
  • 3 x 5 grids are used to draw letters.
  • An isometric grid is a 30 degree angular grid, used for drawing things such as 3D shapes.


  • They are used if you are unsure how to draw in 3D.
  • They are often used for simple shapes.
  • They are more complex to use then grids. 
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Enhancement of the design

How to enhance your ideas:

  • Basic line drawings are just the start.
  • A variety of media and graphic techniques can add visual impact. Attention can be drawn to a shape and form by using contrast, tone, and colour. Textural representation can be userd to show different materials and surfaces.

Thick and thin line:

  • This is adding lines around your work that are both thick and thin. They enhance your work.
  • On a simple cube, it is just the outside that will have thick lines.


  • It adds vibrancy, communicates emotions, and also communicates the physical properties.
  • Complementary colours are next to each other on the colour wheel. They create harmony. Opposite colours create contrast.
  • The depth of the colour is its hue. Adding tone (lighter or darker) changes this.


  • The use of tone can show a material. For example, the way light hits plastic.
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How are paper and board made?

Why are there so many different types of paper?

  • Paper and board are made of vegetable fibres found in wood.
  • The wood is crushed, to make a 95% water based pulp. It is then refined to make paper.
  • The factors taken into account when choosing a paper or board are: cost, finish, strength. brightness, and thickness.

How do we get these different properties?

  • Adding a coating, e.g. china clay or chalk.
  • Adding a sizing agent, which increased the paper's ability to accept ink by sealing the paper's absorbency.
  • Laminating layers of thinner card to make a board.

Weight and thickness:

  • Paper is sold in garms per square metre up to 100gsm, which is board.
  • A board's thickness is measured in microns.
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Properties and uses of paper and card


  • Virgin paper makes up 90% of all paper. 10% of paper has some recycled content. Virgin paper is stronger and easier to make whiter. It is normally used for food containers. Paper can be made from: wood pulp, corn, straw, cotton, and hemp.There is a 40% reduction in energy is achieved when paper is totally recycled. 30% of waste in landfills is paper, which makes methane. Deforestation stops the absorption of CO2 by trees.
  • Advantages of recycling - it means less trees are cut down. Less raw materials are used. Greener companies look better to customers.
  • Disadvantages of recycling - harmful chemicals are used to whiten the paper. It is not as strong as virgin paper. It is more expensive to make.
  • Corriflute/correx is a board that is weather resistant but light.It is made of polypropylene.
  • Duplex is used for advertising boards. It is made of foam based board.
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Properties and uses of paper and card 2

  • Newsprint - 50 gsm, cheap lightweight and uncoated, newspapers, low price.
  • Layout paper - 60 gsm, thin and slightly translucent, paper for sketching and tracing, low cost.
  • Tracing paper - 70 gsm, transparent, tracing things, low-mid cost.
  • Sugar paper - 90 gsm, cheap, uncoated, and a variety of colours, for mounting work, fades in sunlight, low cost.
  • Inkjet/laser photo paper - 150-230 gsm, high gloss, photos and presenations, high price.
  • Board (card) - 230-750 microns, more rigid surface, model-making, mid price.
  • Carton board - 230-1000 microns, high quality print surface, packaging, high price.
  • Mount board - 750-3000 microns, thick coloured rigid card, model making and high quality picture mounting, high price,
  • Corrugated card - 3000-5000 microns, strong and lightweight, packaging protection and point-of-sale, mid price.
  • Foam board - 4000-7000 microns, two outer layers of card with an inner foam, point-of-sale and presentation boards, high price.
  • Spiral wound tubing - 1000-3000 microns, high strength and printable surface, packaging, high price.
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 What is cartonboard?

  • It is a material that is mechanically strong. Therefore it is good at protecting products. It can easily be cut, creased, folded, and glued.
  • It allows you to produce functional and creative packaging. Its surface is white and smooth, but can still be printed on. It can also be embossed and hot-foil stamped.
  • It is mostly used for food, drink, and cosmetics. It can also be used for book covers, postcards, calendars, and brochures.

How is cartonboard made?

  • It is a multilayered or laminated material with three or more layers.
  • Its types vary according to the pulp composition and the thickness in microns. It normally has a range of 350 - 800 microns.
  • It can be combined with other materials, such as plastic, to make it waterproof.
  • There are four main types.
  • It can be treated or laminated to make it suitable for unique uses.
  • Aluminium foil can be used for insulation, or as a bacterial barrier. Plastic for waterproofing. Greaseproof paper. Wax coating for waterproofing.
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Plastics are all around you

Try looking!

  • Plastic is not biodegradable, and it is usually dumped in landfills. It takes hundreds of years to decompose.

How plastics are changing:

  • 95% of plastics are made from oil. It is limited and non-renewable.
  • However the other 5% are made from animal and vegetable matter. These are called bioplastics.

Why are plastics used for packaging?

  • They are tough, so the product is well protected,
  • Lightweight, so the product is not too heavy.
  • Clear, so the customer can see inside.
  • Economical, they are easy to make and easily available.
  • Aesthetically plesaing, so they look good and can be printed on.
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Types and properties of plastics

Thermoplastics can usually be recycled, with the addition of heat.

  • Bioplastic - biodegradable, based on plants, clear or coloured; all sorts of food packaging.
  • Cellulose acetate - partially biodegradable, based on plants with added chemicals, clear but not tough; photocopiable clear film and film for cameras.
  • Acrylic - stiff but brittle, can shape and polish all edges to a high gloss, wide vaeriety of colours; point of sale stands, available as rods tubes and sheets.
  • PET - tough, good at keeping the 'fizz' in; fizzy drinks bottles.
  • PS - not tough, cannot be vacuum formed; shell forms for packaging, CD jewel cases, yogurt pots.
  • Styrofoam - very light, impact absorbing; protective packaging, block modelling.
  • PVC - tough, resists scratching; blister packs, games pieces.
  • PP - flexible; crisp packets.
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Shaping and forming plastics 1

Vacuum forming:

  • It is the process used to create hollow shapes by 'sucking' a heated plastic, such as PVC, over a mould. It is used to make: blister packaging, plastic trays in chocolate boxes.
  • 1 - an accurate mould is made with draft angles and rounded angles, with appropiate air holes, so that the air can be sucked out. 2 - the mould is placed in the bottom of the vacuum former and polystyrene is heated up until it softens. The heating elements in the vacuum former must not be touched. 3 - the mould is raised into the heated soft polystyrene and the air is sucked or vacuumed, so that thep plastic takes the shape of the mould. 4 - the polystyrene is allowed to cool so that it becomes rigid again. 5 - the mould is lowered and the impression is removed so that the flashing or excess material can be cut off.

Injection moulding:

  • It is the most common process used in shaping thermoplastics into complex shapes. It involves the heating up of solid thermoplastics granules into a liquid form. The hot plastic is forced into a high quality strong metal mould, then it is allowed to cool and solidify. The shaped item is then ejected. Most of these can later be recycled. This is a good process for mass or large batch production.
  • 1 - an expensive mould is made, normally from steel. 2 - granules of plastic are placed in the hopper. 3 - heaters melt the plastic into a thick liquid which is pushed towards the mould by an Archimedean screw. 4 - a hydraulic ram forces the plastic under huge pressure, into the mould. 5 - the mould is cooled and the object is released.
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Shaping and forming plastics part 2

Blow moulding:

  • It is the process of heating up thermoplastics which are placed in a mould.
  • Air is blown into the hot plastic, which expands into the shape of the mould. This is used to make hollow forms such as bottles.

Line bedding:

  • It is used to bend straight lines in a thermoplastic.
  • A ***** heater is used.
  • It is used to bend acrylic.
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Smart materials

They are materials that behave in a unique fashion to give some special effects. They can help the function and aesthetics of a product. They give it a unique selling point.

  • Thermochromic materials -  they change colour depending on their temperature. They use inks. They attract or warn the customer. They are easy to print on. This is often used in thermometers.
  • Photochromic materials - the change colour depending on the amount of light hitting the surface. This is often used in light-sensitive glasses, like sunglasses.
  • Electrochromic materials - they change colour depending on the amount of electricity applied. This is used in car rear-view mirrors, to reduce glare.
  • Hydrochromic materials - the change colour depending on the amount of water applied. They are use in plant pots to see if they need to be watered.
  • Phosphorescent materials - they absorb light energy during the day, and give off this light energy at night. This is used in fire exit signs and watches.
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Modern material

Modern materials have been made within the last 50 years.

  • Cornstarch Polymers - they are used to replace some oil based thermoplastics. They are made from crops. They therefore have a high starch content. It aslo means that they are biodegradable. They are not as versatile as oil bsaed thermoplastics. They are used in food packaging and film used to cover crops.
  • Paperfoam - they are an alternative to some thermoplastics. They are made from a combination of starch based polymers and simple paper fibres. They are scratch resistant and can be moulded to protect products and keep them in place. They are fully biodegradable and can be coloured with vegetable dyes. They are used in CD and DVD cases.
  • Lyocell - it is a high strength paper fibre produced from wood pulp and is totally biodegradable. It is used for tea bags, coffee filters, and strong envelopes.
  • Polymorph - it is a special plastic used for modelling in technology. It stays hard and white at room temperature. It is softened at 60 degrees celsius. It can then be moulded into any shape.It is used to construct complex models, especially ergonomic shapes.
  • PMC - precious metal clays are 99.9% metal, and are 0.1% clay. They can be shape at room temperature. They are very expensive and are mostly used by jewellery designers.
  • Nano technology - it is a method involving changing the atomic structure of metals to make them better. They are less expensive, stronger, and more precise. Carbon can make diamond, and silicon can make computer chips.
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Harry Beck

  • He is famous for designing the London Underground map.
  • It is a non-geographical map - it does not take distances into account.
  • Beck designed it as he realised that passengers only wanted to know what stop they were at now, and what stop was next.
  • Before Beck, only geographical maps were used.
  • Different colours represent different lines, and there are seperate symbols for stations and interchanges.
  • Since then, it has been updated, adapted, and used by other countries.
  • (
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Alberto Alessi

  • He did not design the products himself. He took in designers and manufactured their designs.
  • He wanted to combine mass production, creativity, good design, and craftmanship.
  • This meant that well designed products would be available to everyone.
  • The designes are not simply based on function, as they must also be visually attractive.
  • (
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Jock Kinnear and Margaret Calvert

  • In the 1950s, road signs were not standard despite the increasing number of drivers in Britain.
  • Finding your way was often confusing and dangerous.
  • It was important that the signs could be easily seen and understood, but not distracting.
  • They developed a typeface - sans serif - that was easy to read and appealing to drivers.
  • They tried to use pictograms instead of words, where possible.
  • Specific colours were used for different types of road.
  • Smart materials have been incorporated to make them easier to see, for example at night.
  • (
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Wally Olins

  • Brands make products easily recognisable.
  • A brand has a visual identity such as a logo, however it is also about the relationship between the customer and the product.
  • Companies often creat a corporate image, which uses a logo, initials, and a simple phrase.
  • (
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Robert Sabuda

  • He uses paper engineering to make pop-up books.
  • He believes that both adults and children should enjoy mechanical books.
  • It is the application of basic card engineering that allows images and storied to be applied to books.
  • (
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Mock ups, models, and prototypes

  • A model is a graphical representation of the item being designed. It is often scaled-down.
  • A prototype is a life-size working model of the design. It is used for testing, development, and evaluation.
  • A mock-up is a model, which is often full size, to allw evaluation. It is a working model built for study, testing, or display.
  • A scale is a larger or smaller version of a design:
  • 2:1 twice full size, eg earring.
  • 1:1 actual size, eg handheld object.
  • 1:2 half size, eg smal electrical device.
  • 1:10, eg furniture.
  • 1:100, eg house/garden.
  • 1:1000, eg large building.
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Sheet and block modelling materials


  • Styrofoam, block modelling, file/rasp/abrasive paper/filler/acrylic paint, 3D models, difficult to achieve a high quality finish, when cutting use in a well ventilated area, no.
  • Balsa wood, block modelling, file/rasp/abrasive paper/acrylic paint, stronger than styrofoam/mould for vacuum former, takes longer to shape/more expenssive than styrofoam, none, no.
  • Clay, block modelling, fingers and wooden shaping tools, very quick to shape in 3D/can be vacuum formed/easily recycled, difficult to achieve a good finish, none, yes.
  • Foam board, point-of-sale stands, craft knife/safety rule/laser cut/die cut, rigid board/easy to draw on to/easy to apply a printed image using spray adhesive, difficult to hand cut curves without ripping/not recyclable, take care when cutting, no.
  • Acrylic sheet/rod/tube, point-of-sale stands/architectural models, hacksaw/laser cut/wet or dry abrasive paper/polish, excellent finish/rigid/variet of colours/ easy to cut complex shapes with the laser cutter, expensive, wear goggles when cutting, no.
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Sheet and block modelling materials continued

  • Card, packaging/nets/cardscraft knife/safety rule/CAMM cutter/laser cutterquick to shape/easy to apply graphicseasily benttake care when cutting, yes.
  • Boardarchitectural models/point-of-sale stands/hardback covers for bookscraft knife/safety rulemore rigid thann thinner card/easy to apply graphicsmore expensive than cardtake care when cutting, no.
  • Plastazonecard covers/medical supportscraft knife/safety rule/scissors/laser cutter/die cutter, flexible colourful plastic foam sheets/can be vacuum formed for a slightly raised surface, difficult to cut, take care when cutting, no.
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The designer's role in the manufacturing process

  • By making mock-ups of ideas, you can decide which one to carry forward.
  • You can aslo survery your target audience to help make decisions.

A CAD machine is good for:

  • Easily produce a range of views, colours, and textures.
  • It is easy to get feedback without making it.
  • It ensures that the product is really needed, so it saves unnecessary time and money.
  • It is easy to change small aspects of the design.


  • Modelling materials must be quick and easy to use.
  • They can be 2D or 3D.
  • A visual model can be helpful, as it helps you judge the product to develop it further.
  • It is also more cost effective than making a mistake in your final product.
  • A prototype will be made at the end of your coursework, which is just the same as a professional company would.
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Target marketing

  • You should always be thinking about your potential target market, as they are the ones who will buy your design.
  • You should ask your target market questions before you begin designing.
  • For example, net books are smaller versions of laptops. Therefore they are cheaper and lighter. They can be carried around. However, they are not as powerful as laptops. Future developments will solve this issue.
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  • Typography is used to set a theme and a mood.
  • Typorgraphy often reflects a company's brand.
  • A font consists of UPPER CASE and lower case.
  • Letters consist of the: stem (vertical stroke of a letter), serifs (short lines added to the ends of letters), bar (an arm joining two parts together), curve (any curved shape), and a continuous curve (a line which shows no join). 
  • Fonts can be made narrower or wider, finer or darker, and can be justified to the left, right, or centre.
  • Letter spacing/kerning is the space between letters, and can dramatically change the presentation.
  • Line spacing is the space between two consecutive lines.
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Use of ICT and encapsulation

  • DTP: DTP means desktop publishing - examples of this are Photoshop and CorelDRAW. They are used to design things such as magazines, newspapers, leaflets, and flyers.
  • ScanningWith an image that you have gone over with fine liner, you can scan it onto a computer. Then, convert it to black and white, trace around it, and import it into a DTP. This allows you to devlop it with many colours and textures.
  • CAD: You can use CAD (computer-aided design), to developing an idea and change it. CAD saves time and money, it is better for producing an ideal product, it gives an exact representation of the product, without it actually being made. Designs can be modified, reworked, and developed. Once the product is designed, it is much easier to produce a working drawing.


  • Initial set up costs are high. You need special training to use the technology, which requires time and money. Other equipment can be used for cheaper.


  • Encapsulation protects a printed product. The product is encased on both sides by a thin layer or plastic. It provides a high gloss finish which can be wiped clean, and although it is expensive, it lasts for longer.
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Isometric drawing

Basic rules of isometric drawing:

  • Drawing in 3D is called 'pictoral drawing'.
  • 'Isometric drawing' is a way of presenting a design in 3D.
  • Lines are at thirty degrees to the horizontal.
  • Isometric drawing can be used to produce sequntial diawgrams of the assembly process. This method requires no words.

Making more complex shapes:

  • Isometric drawing can also be used to produce round objects, and other more complex ones.
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One- and two-point perspective sketching

One-point perspective sketching:

In perspective drawing, all lines appear to converge at a vanishing point.

The point where all the lines meet is called either the vanishing point or the horizon.

'One-point perspective' is created with a single vanishing point.

Both methods are excellent for producing 3D drawings

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Third angle orthographic projection drawing

  • It is a 2D method of drawing items or products.
  • It is used to show sizes and details of a design.

They are used to produce the following three 2D views:

  • Front view: produced by lookinng at the front of the product.
  • Plan view: drawm directly above the front view.
  • End/side view: drawn by looking at the side or end of a product.

A third party should be able to lookk at the drawing and interpret them.

To draw them:

  • 1) Draw the front view with a scale you are familiar with;
  • 2) Project these lines up to produce your plan view, and across to produce the side view.
  • 3) Dotted lines should be used to show hidden details.
  • 4) Add the outside lines in bold.
  • 5) Add the sizes and dimensions.
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British Standard Conventions

  • They are standards set by the British Standards Institute, and apply to working drawings so that they can be recognised throughout the manufacturing industry. Due to this, they can be recognised and understood anywhere in the world.  For example, a product can be designed in one country, annd manufactured in another.
  • All CAD packages will have this design standard built in.
  • Dimensions should read from the front or from the right; The leader line should not touch the object; The leader line should extend past the dimension line a little, but reach to the edge of the object to be measured; The dimensions should be in the middle of the line, but not touching it; Arrowheads should be solid and to a point.
  • Outlines are the outside edges of an objct, shown as a continuous thick line; Dimension is a specific length. It can be a whole or part of an object, and is usually measured in mm. These are shown as continuous thin lines; Projection lines are taken from one view of an object, and are used to create another view; Hatch lines are usually at 45 degrees, and are used to fill an area in; Hidden details are the parts of the object which you cannot see but you know are there. They are short dashed lines; Centre lines define the centre of a circle, and are a short dash followed by a long dash, normally drawn in red; Section lines define where an object will be cut, usually with a letter at each end; Short break lines are used when an object is long, or has the same cross-section, so you do not have to draw the whole shape.
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Sectional and exploded drawings

Sectional drawings:

  • Sectional drawings show the inside of an object, as if it was cut in half. Sectional drawing can be a very complex technique.
  • You can either cut it along its length or diameter. The dimater would give you the cross-section.
  • The technique of cutting objects is called sectioning. The areas where it is cut is called 'hatching', and is made up of equally distanced straight lines, at a 45 degree angle. Different parts of an object are hatched differently.
  • A line is drawn across the view you want to section, and arrows are used to who the direction of the view you wish to produce. These arrows will then be labelled (A-A, B-B, etcetera).
  • Where the axe touches the surface, it is hatched. Where it does not touh a surface, it is left clear.

Exploded drawings:

  • Exploded drawings are 3D drawings which show how an object has been constructed.
  • They are drawn seperately from one another, although they remain in relation.
  • This method would be used for flat-pack products, in the instruction booklet. 
  • The drawings would also include joining methods.
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Self-assembly, scale drawings, site plans and maps

  • Self-assembly products are produced by a company in pieces, and are sold as flat packs. They come with detailed plans for the customer, so that they can construct the product at home.
  • The plan must be good quality, and the instructions must be easy to read. They are often drawn in 3D, as this makes them easier to visualise, and contain few words.
  • Benefits include: more products can be stored in a given space, so the company can make more money; the customer pays less for an item, as the company has not had to pay for professional assembly; 3D-drawn instructions are simpler and cheaper to produce, as they require less, and often lower quality, paper.
  • Scale drawings are used when an object is too big or too small to be drawn. A scale is ratio, and therefore has no units. The size/dimensions must still be drawn on the scale drawing,
  • Site plans are drawings which show a project site from above. They are used at public meetings before building begins, by local councils to judge planning permission, and by sales people to show potential buyers what their house will be like. Floor plans are scale down drawings used by architects and designers, to show exactly how the inside of a building is layed out. Details of windows and doors should be included, so the viewer can understand space. Schematic drawings are drawings used for a specific practical function, usually electrical or mechanical.
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3D containers and surface developments

  • Surface developments are the flat, 2D versions of an item that will eventually be assembled into a 3D object. They are made from a range of different materials. Each surface development is scored, creased, and often glued, before being turned into its 3D brother. This method is often used for easter egg packaging or fast food packaging. They are designed using CAD, which means that less waste will be produced. Different sized nets can be made from the same design.
  • Paper and card with straight edges can be cut to shape with a guillotine. For irregular shapes, die cutting is often used. However, this is an expensive option. Because of this, it is often used when producing many objects. Narrow blades are shaped to the outline, and then fixed to a board. When this is pressed down, the outline of the object will be cut out. Any finishes, such as embossing or varnishing, must be applied before it is die cut to its final shape. Tessalation is a method used to reduce waste to a minimum. Round ended steel strips, called creasing bars/edges, squash the fibres of a board where the fold is needed.
  • Card can be glued together using a variety of glues, or in such a way that it becomes self-locking. These designs can quickly be assembled.
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Use of CAD/CAM

  • Computer-aided design - CAD - is about using computers to assist you in the design process. It helps you to produce a design in a variety of materials, and you can rotate your design anyway, on a 360 degree axis. Designs can be manipulate or mirrored with a simple click of the mouse. Any area of the design can be viewed in a variety of magnifications.
  • Computer-aided manufacture - CAM - is about crosslinking the manufacturing process to a computer system. This method ensures that each design is exactly the same.
  • These two computer aids can be linked by numerical data. These sets of data are usually referred to as G- and M-codes. Most systems offer this automatically.

To draw a 60mm X 60mm surface development for a cube:

  • 1) Set your grid up to 10mm units.
  • 2) Lock to grid.
  • 3) Draw a 60mm X 60mm square.
  • 4) Copy and paste 5 times.
  • 5) Add tabs.
  • 6) Convert the fold lines into dotted lines.
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Representing data in graphical form

  • Once data is collected, it must be collated and analysed. Data is often converted to a graphical form, as it is easier to understand.
  • Bar charts are often used for showing comparisons between different data. They shows the relative size of each catagory in a visual way, so it is often used for questionnaire results. The bars can either be drawn vertically or horizontally.
  • Pie charts are often used for showing proportions within the data. To work out the size of each segment, divide the number of people asked by the number who gave that answer, times 360. Each slice should be shown on a key.
  • Line graphs are often used to show changes in data. The constant data should be displayed along the bottom axis, whilst the variable data should be displayed along the vertical axis.
  • Pictographs are similar to bar charts, but use pictures to show the data. This makes it easier to understand, as the pictures show what the bar is referring to. The overall value of each symbol must be the same.
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Signs and labels

  • Signs are used to give instructions or warnings. For example, road signs. They may include symbols to help you to understand what the sign is about. This method allows people who cannot read/speak a different language to understand what it means.
  • The signs must be clear and eye-catching, so that they can be easily seen. The images used are often pictograms, and can often be recognised all around the world.
  • Labels are attached to everything we buy. They explain what a product is, how to use it, and how to care for it. This may be directly attached to the product, or handed to you as a leaflet. They often give you information about the materials, and any recycling information.
  • On food, you see the following information: name of the food, name and address of the manufacturer, storage instructions, use/sell by dates, preparation/cooking instructions, weight/volume of the product, a list of ingredients, allergy warnings, and nutritional information.
  • Clothes labels tell you what can and can't be done with them, to keep the item of clothing in the best condition possible.
  • Kitemarks show an object is at a certain safety standard.
  • CE marks show the product can be sold anywhere in Europe.
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Corporate identity

  • Corporate identity is the main method of making an organisation identifiable, by using easy to remember visual methods.
  • Logos given an impression of the company, and the quality of goods or service provided. The corpoate identity is often based around its logo, as well as: company uniforms, advertising, public relations, information, and its ethical position.
  • Logograms use the initial letters of an organisation.
  • Symbols use a simplified image.
  • Logo types use a distinctive typeface.
  • Background images communicate the products or services offered.
  • Factors to take into consideration when designing a logo are: is it clear and eye-catching (contrasting colours, simple shapes)?; Will it transfer to all types of material used by the organisation (still effective)?; Does it tell you enough about the company to be a trademark for them (suitable for everday use)?
  • A corporate identity is widely used by the company. It is the way they look and behave. It tells you what you are likely to expect from them.
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Symbols, ideograms, and pictures

Symbols are used to help communicate information, whether it be instructions, or an aid to something. The three types of symbol include:

  • Enactive or action symbols - these symbols show that something is happening.
  • Iconic or pictoral symbols - stylised versions of ideograms. They use block, contrasting colours, and are wordless. Therefore anyone from any walk of life can understand them.
  • Symbolic or abstract symbols - these symbols are used to represent something that we can recognise from the concept they are portraying.

Ideograms are simplified pictures which convey a message to people. Examples of these include hieroglyphics.

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  • All systems have inputs, which are then processed into outputs.
  • The process involves the steps involved. For example, the process is the method to make a CD case, and the output is the completed case.
  • Feedback informs the operator any information used to control what is happening in the process.
  • The operator is the person controlling the process.
  • Operations are individual processes and functions.
  • A feedback loop gives you a decision, resulting in a yes or no answer.

Flow charts are use to show this. A flowchart is a way of illustrating a sequence of operations undertaken when manufacturing a product. When creating them, take the following into consideration:

  • Always sketch the flowchart out first, to see if it is logical and clear.
  • A flowchart should be drawn either downwards, or from left to right.
  • Arrows should be used to indicate the direction of flow.
  • Do not cross the lines. All symbols should be a similar size.
  • Flowcharts can easily be produced on computers.
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Sequental illustrations and schematic maps

  • Sequential illustrations are a series of drawings, which show you something in steps.
  • They are used in flatpack furniture, so that the customer knows how to assemble the product.
  • Points to consider when drawing them: they should be clear outline drawings, which are not coloured or rendered; they should be 3D, but not too small; they should be sequenced - with numbers - to help the customer read them; written instructions should be kept to a minimum.
  • Schematic maps are used to show the connection between places, but are not geographically accurate.
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Pop-ups and card mechanisms

  • Pop-ups are used in greetings cards and children's books. They are made with a mechanical action, and are designed to be eye-catching and dynamic. They are easy to make using paper and card. To create a simple pop up, only basic classroom materials are needed.
  • Card mechanisms are basic mechanisms that are used to create a movement. Most types of mechanism use either a fixed pivot and a floating pivot.
  • A fixed pivot involves attaching the moving part to the base card, usually with a split pin. The moving part of lever will then pivot around that specific point.
  • A floating pivot is a pivot that is allowed to move, and is usually attached to another type of lever, with a split pin. 
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Bought-in components

  • Graphic products are often combined with other materials and components to produce a product for a particular purpose. They can be something you have made yourself, or bought in. Example of bought-in components include wires and bulbs.
  • Anything added should be used to enhance it or to add structure. Products on the mmarket today often use a combination of graphic product, materials, and fastenings.

Components are brought in for one of two reasons:

  • To physically support the product.
  • To enhance tthe appearance and attract greater attention.
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Ergonomics, anthropometrics, and fitness for purpo

Ergonomics; most products are made by machines. Sometimes designers are too easily influenced by how easily a product can be made, rather than its actual design. Ergonomics is the study of how efficient a product is when used by humans. It deals with issues such as ease of use, comfort, and safety. Designs which are shaped and sized to the body are ergonomic.

Anthropometrics; this is the study of varying sizes of all parts of the human body. This can then be used to help designers make ergonomically designed products, as they will have the correct sizes. They use surveys to record a variety of measurements across a broad section of the population. This information is then used to find an average, so that their design will fit the average person. The top 5 and bottom 5 percent of the population are ignored, as they are often the extremes in size.

Fitness for purpose; humans have four basic needs: food, water, shelter, and warmth. We cannot survive without these. Once we have them, we begin to want. Factors that effect this are opinions of our friends and family, where we work, and how we spend our spare time. Every product has been designed to use in a specific way, and during the testing it was tested on that target market. Fitness for purpose refers to the quality and the fulfilment of certain promises, meaning if it does what it is supposed to do.

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Product lifecycle

The product lifecycle are the stages that a product, which is on sale to the general public, goes through. If a designer knows which stage of its life a product is in, they will know when to release an updated version of it. Products usually make more money in their early stages.

Introduction to the market; a period of slow sales when the product is launched. Profits are small.

Growth; its popularity increases, as more people want to buy the product, whch therefore boosts profits.

Maturity; demand and profit reaches a peak. Competitors will have released their version of the product by this point.

Decline; the sales begin to slow down, and the profits reduce.

For example, Lucozade started as a product to help people get better. When sales began to decline, it was rebranded as a sports drink. Since then, many improvements and changes have been made, to make the product what it is today. And all this time it has been in the public eye.

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Disassembly of products

A disassembly of a product is vital for research. This helps in both the construction and aesthetics. It helps to gain knowledge of processes.

When disassembling a product:

  • You must first list any materials involved, and how they fit together.
  • Note how the product has been cut out.
  • Then, look for folds and scores.
  • Finally, make a note of glue tabs, self-locking mechanisms, and where they are located on the box. 
  • After this, you can look at the graphic content. 
  • Note how the colours are used to promote the product, and to attract the potential buyer.
  • Consider the style of any text, and how it fits into the overall design.
  • Also look at anyother written information, such as product information and legal information. This includes the size, and basic ingredients and chemicals. 
  • Lastly, include the barcodes or any other pricing/stock methods. 
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Testing and evaluation

Formative evaluation is ongoing evaluation, which helps to continue to improve and modify your work throughout the design process. This is done by referring to the specification, and checking how close you are to it. Some results from the testing may lead you to update certain points from the specification.

Summative evaluation is carried out at the end of designing and making the product. The product is compared against the specification. If your product does not meet certain points, you should comment on this and say why it doesn't. This allows you to make sure the product suits its intended purpose. You also need to include how it could be improved.

The best known form of commercial testing is the crash test dummy. This allows the crumple zone, internal roll bars, and side panels to be tested.

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Evaluation against your specification

A detailed list of needs for your graphic product, called the design specification, should be created. It should include some information found in your research.

Once the product is complete, it should be compared against the specification. The evaluation should also include: product testing, an evaluation against the specification, modifications required, and changes needed for the commercial product.

When thinking about the changes needed for a commerical product, you should include:

  • Would you use the same material as you have used for the prototype?
  • Would the printing method the same?
  • Would the construction methods be the same?
  • Could design changes be made to reduce production costs?
  • Could you reduce the number of parts or different components in the design?
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Moral, social, and cultural issues

Moral issues are points the designer has to consider, as to whether the product will be either dangerous or controversial. They are not covered by any laws or design requlations, but are instead usually related to a specific target market.

Social issues are points to consider when the product is being promoted, to make sure it is in the best interest of customers. They are usually related to the wider public.

Cultural issues are points to consider when advertising or making product decisions. Such issues are changable, and depend on the target market.

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Environmental issues

Most packaging that is used isn't needed. It is thrown into landfills and takes many years to degrade.

Most plastics are not biodegradable, although some are. Paper based products should be used, as they degrade much more easily. We can recycle to save both materials and energy sources.

Renewable materials, such as wood, should be used where possible. When trees are destroyed for products, new ones can be grown. However, non-renewable materials take millions of years if we want to create a new source of the product.

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Sustainablity issues

When products are designed now, designers must think of some key questions: can we use more enviornmentally friendly ways of producing energy? Should industrialised companies be using their knowledge of technology to design alternative energy sources? How can a product be friendlier to the environment?

  • Rethink - designers can choose to use packaging made from a single material, so it is easier to recycle. Is all the packaging needed? Could alternatvie solutions be found?
  • Refuse - when a new and improved version of a product is bought out, we are encouraged to buy it and throw the old version of it into a landfill site. Should we accept the new product, or refuse it.
  • Reduce - designers are looking to create products which reduce the amount of material, and energy needed to create it, while customers are looking to buy products that use less energy.
  • Reuse - customers are now encouraged to reuse their plastic bags. Other examples of these products are printer cartridges and glass milk bottles.
  • Repair  - many products are designed with a built in component which fails after a few years, meaning that you have to buy a new one. This means they sell their latest ranges and get more money. These old items cannot be reused or recycled, so often end up in landfills.
  • Recycle - certain products can be recycled, whioch means that they will be made into a new product. This conserves raw materials, and requires much less energy.
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Component parts of an ICT system

A computer is made of hardware (anything that you can actually touch or move, such as the computer, keyboard, and mouse), and the software (this includes programs that you use on the computer). There is another type of software, called the operating system, tells the computer how to use the devices conected.

There are two types of hardware:

  • An input device is any type of device that allows data to be entered into the computer. This includes a graphics table, digital camera, and keyboard.
  • An output device is any device that allows information to be downloaded in the form of a hard copy. This includes laser cutters and vinyl cutters.

Throughout the making process, it is important to take many photos. There are four reasons for this: it enables you to justify any decisions made; it can help to expalin why decisions were made; it shows where your work was done, and who it was done by; it shows the development of an idea.

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Advantage and disadvantages of CAD

CAD is the process of producing designs with the aid of a computer.


  • Once you are familiar with the layout and shortcuts, it is fact and easy to use. 
  • It easy easy to include variations of a design, and they can easily be altered without erasing and redrawing.
  • Standard components can be combined to make new designs quickly.
  • Designs can be seen in 3D, rotated, and magnified.
  • Once a design is finalised, a standard orthographic projection can soon be produced.
  • Presentation drawings can look almost like photographs.


  • The initial expense is very high.
  • Staff require training first, and unless you are familiar with it, it is difficult to use.
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Advantage and disadvantages of CAM

CAM is the process of producing products and designs using computer-controlled technology.


  • Components are made exactly the same, with no variation.
  • Machines can work non-stop, stopping only for scheduled maintenance.
  • Machines can produce a range of products.


  • Repairs can be expensive, and specalist engineers are needed.
  • If a machine breaks down, all production is stopped.
  • If your design is flawed, the product will also be flawed.
  • Without regular checks, mistakes will be repeeated in large numbers, therefore wasting materials and money.
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Advantage and disadvantages of CNC

CNC describes the machines that are controlled by a number system. They are a type of CAM, and are controlled by G- and M- codes. These codes tell the computer what to do.


  • It has all the advantages of CAM.
  • They can be continually updates with new software updates.
  • They use modern design software.
  • The training offered means that less skilled people can use them.
  • Once a machine has been programmed, it can run of its own.


  • Initial costs are high.
  • If they break down, the whole process must be halted whilst it is fixed, and outside help must be sought.
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Using tools and equipment safely

When using certain tools, safety precautions must be taken. It is important that the correct materials and tools are used, otherwise this creates problems. Personal protective equipment should also be worn. You should completely understand how to use tools before you use them. We should also make sure that we manage the environment. If we spill anything we should clean it up, and warn others of the danger.

 The basic rules to follow when using tools, materials, and equipment:

  • Protect yourself with personal protective equipment.
  • Ensure that you know hwo to use the equipment correctly.
  • Listen and act on any given advice.
  • Do not get distracted.
  • Ensure that tools are well maintained and ready for use.
  • Always read the given instructions.
  • Use solvents in a well ventilated area.
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Safety for cutting tools found in a graphics room

 Tool/equipment - What is it used for? - Safety advice

  • ScissorsCutting paper, thin card, and thin plastic - Scissors should be sharp enough, and strogn enough to cut through the material. Keep fingers away from blades.
  • Scalpel/craft knife - Cutting or scoring paper, card, thin plastic sheet, and thin board - Use a safety ruler. Cut away from yourself.
  • Cutting mats - Gives a suitable suraface for the craft knife - Mat should be on a flat surface.
  • Rotary cutter - Cutting paper, card, thin plastic sheet, and thin board - Use a safety ruler. Cut away from yourself.
  • Compass cutter - Cutting circles in paper, thin card, thin plast sheet, and thin board - Use with a cutting mat.
  • Safety rule - Helps to cut straight lines with a craft knife - Hold the ruler down firmly, with fingers away from the edge.
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Safety for tools found in a workshop

Tool/equipment - What is it used for? - Safety advice

  • Reciprocating saw/fretsaw - Cutting plastic sheet, thick board, and wood (easy to cut intricate shapes) - Wear eye protection, make sure the machine guard is positioned correctly, and keep hands away from the blade.
  • Coping saw - Cutting plastic sheet, thick board, and wood (easy to cut intricate shapes) - The material should be firmly held, and keep hands away from the blade.
  • Hot wire cutter - Cutting rigid foam - Use in a well ventilated area, and wear a mask.
  • Laser cutter - Cutting most materials with a laser gives accuracy and a good finish - Fpllow safety advice printed on the machine.
  • Vinyl cutter - Accurate cutting of card amd sticky vinyl - Keep fingers away from the cutting blade.
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Risk assessment

A hazard is something that could harm you if yo do not pay attention to the danger.

Every step of an industrial process will be identified as either a high, medium, or low risk. This is called a risk assessment. The risks should be controlled.

Risk - Reducing the risk

  • Bags or equipment on the floor - Everything should be put away, and walk ways should be left clear of obstructions.
  • Using a craft knife - The blade should be sharp, and used with a safety ruler and cuting mat.
  • Eye strain from a computer - Take a break every twenty minutes.
  • Dust from a sanding machineUse a dust extractor.
  • Loose clothing while using a machine - Wear the correct protective clothing.
  • Using spray adhesive - Use in a well ventilated area.
  • Using a glue gun - Do not touch the nozel, rest the glue on a stand when not in use.
  • Using portable electric tools - Cables should not obstruct walk ways.
  • Carrying tools around the room - Tools should be carried in a safe manner, and all rectractable blades should be retracted.
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Safety and the law

The Health ans Safety Executive are the government body that are responsible for health and safety. They ensure that all workplaces are safe to work in. They can inspect anywhere at any time, and have the power to immediately shut down anywhere where the workers are at risk. Employers must identify possible risks, and warn emplyees about it. Because of this, there is a certain set of symbols, set by the British Standards Institue, which should be easily recognisable.

High-risk danger signs are usually yellow and triangular, with black lettering. They are warning signs.

Signs with red circles are prohibitive. Diagonal lines are used to make it clear that something must not be done. These are do not signs.

Signs with blue circles and rectangles give positive instructions. They tell you that you must do something.

Green signs indicate where things are. They are safety signs.

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Joining materials

Adhesive - What does it join? - What does it look like? - Advantages - Disadvantages.

  • Glue stick - Paper, card - Solid white stick - Cheap, easy to use, safe - Not a strong bond.
  • PVA - Card, wood - Thick white liquid - Strong bond, safe, sets within two hours, colourless when dry - Can ripple card if too much is applied.
  • Spray adhesive - Paper, card - Clear spray - Quick, can reposition easily - Not a strong bond, must wear a mask, expensive.
  • Balsa cement - Balsa wood - Clear and smelly - Quick-setting glue - Use in a well-ventilated area.
  • Acrylic cement - Acrylic - Water - Very quick, applied with syringe - Use in a well-ventilated area, can leave marks where excess is applied.
  • Epozy resin - Everything, glue shows up on paper and card - Gloopy light brown - Very strong, two hours to set, will join different materials to each other - Difficult to apply as it is thick, use in a well-ventilated area.
  • Hot glue gun - Most materials, but not expanded polystyrene - Thick, clear, stringy - Very quick to set, will join different masterials to each other - Difficult to use on a fine model, take care not to burn hands.
  • Double-sided tape - Paper, card, foam board - Clear or white - Immediate strong join - Difficult to use as you cannot reposition.
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Quality assurance and quality control

Quality assurance are plans built into a project to ensure that the best choices are made throughout the design process, to make the outcome the best possible standard. It creates a product which is safe, value for money, efficiently produced, and economical for the user.

Quality control measures are put into places to check that quality standards outlined in the plans are maintained. These are checked at critical points throughout production. A range of processes are used to ensure this.

Tolerance is the range of acceptability of accuracy.

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Industrial practises and production processes

The approaches to making a product are different depending on the scale of production.

The machinery required to turn a raw material into a finished product is called the production line.

  • A one off product makes just one product. Advantages make it easy to set up, and easy to change. However, the individual cost is high. The cost of setting up the production process is low, but the cost of making the individual item is high. This is used for painting and sculptures.
  • Batch products are used to make one to ten thousand products. It is an adaptable process of making, so it is quite easy to change. However, machines are expensive to buy and make up. Both the cost of production process and the cost of making the individual item are high. This is used for books, perfume bottles, and their point of sales.
  • Mass production is used to make over ten thousand products. The cost of individual items is low, but it is more expensive than batch to set up. The cost of set up is high, but the making of the individual item is low. This is used for cars.
  • Continuous is used to make millions of products. It is easy to make the same item cheaply to a very high standard, but you cannot change it if the demand falls. The cost of set up is very high, but the cost of making the individual item is very low. This is used for glass making, paper production, and blank packaging.

Just-in-time is a method of controlling stock, where a company only buys materials needed at that time. This reduces storage costs, production run can be changed more easily, and reduces over-stocking of a product.

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How the printing process works

Pre-press are the stages needed before the actual printing takes place. This starts with checking that the artwork is suitable for the print chosen. This will be checked by the printer. It checks for font types, colours, and the quality of the pictures. 

The process of colour seperation then takes place. Four colours, cyan(c), magenta(m), yellow(y) and black(k), are used for a higher quality. The black gives the image depth. Each ink is printed over others in different densities to give the image its colour. Some special colours have to be pre made, as the inks cannot make them.

A printer with a higher dpi will have more dots, forming the image. This means that it will be a better quality image. However, an image with a lower dpi will be lower quality.

There are four pre-press stages: check artwork, colour separation, add quality control measures, and plate or screen production.

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How to keep the print quality

Special marks on the edge of pages check different aspects of the quality print. These are called: registration marks, colour bar, and crop marks.

Most print processes make a printing plate for the four main colours. They have to align exactly with each other, as if not, the image may be out of focus. The print adds registration marks to each plate in exactly the same position. The printer then checks the alignment of each plate by its colour. 

Colour bars are added to the side of the image to show the density or tints in percentages of the individual colours. This makes sure that the colours are perfect. A densiometer checks this, and makes any neessary adjustments.

Crop marks are also added by the printer. These are locates by the four corners of the printed sheet. They show where the outline of the finished image should be, and guide the printer where to cut. A little extra area, called the bleed area, is left, to allow tolerance of error.

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Types of printing

  • Offset lithography is used for newspapers, magazines, and books. It is the most common method, is high quality, fast, and prints onto paper well. However, it has expensive set up costs. The cost to print is 5/10, and the print quality is 9/10.
  • Flexography is used for packaging, corrugated boxes, shopping bags, and certain 3D surfaces. It is very fast, however it has expensive set-up costs. The cost to print is 6/10, and the print quality is 8/10.
  • Screen printing is used for short print runs, especially on t-shirts and big posters. It is good for short print runs, and can also be used to print on absorbent surfaces. However, the quality isn't as good as other print processes, and it is slow. The cost to print is 4/10, and the print quality is 6/10.
  • Gravure is used for expensive, high-quality magazines and stamps. It has the best quality out of all the processes, and is very fast. However the set up costs are very expensive. The cost to print is 8/10, and the print quality is 10/10.
  • Laser printing is used for one-off items. It prints immediately, and there are no set up costs. However, to print individually it is very expensive. The cost to print is 10/10, and the print quality is 7/10.
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Summary of printing process

Pre-press: Stage 1, artwork scanned into computer, sent to printer via e-mail/CD. Stage 2, printer colour seperates image. Step 3, printer adds registration marks, colour bar, and crop marks, for quality checks and cutting. Step 4, printer makes four printing plates, one for each colour. Step 5, plates aligned to machine, normally around cylinder.

Print: Stage 6, job is printed with regular quality control checks on plate alignment and colour density.

Finishing: Stage 7, any print special effects are added. They are all expensive. Stage 8, print is cut to size. Stage 9, print is packed and sent to distribution centre, so the item can be sent to a shop and sold.

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Offset lithography

  • Offset lithography is used for 70% of printing. It is mostly used to print onto paper and thin card. It is fast and high quality, and can only be bettered by gravure.
  • It is printed by shining UV light through a photo for each colour onto seperate plates. A coating on the plates reacts to the UV light. This reaction causes the printing ink to be attracted to the area where the UV light hits the plate. This is called photomechanical transfer. The plate used are made of aluminium as it is flexible and durable. However, they can also be made from card for shorter print runs.
  • The paper is supplied to the printer by either being sheet fed or web fed. Sheet fed is when individual sheets are fed into the printer. It is slower, but it is easier to change the print job. Therefore it is usually used for shorter print runs. Web fed is where the paper is on a huge roll. It is faster, and is usually used for longer runs.
  • Once the printing plates are made, they are placed onto offset lithography cylinders. The four ink colours are applied to the plates by rollers. Some water is added, to help the ink stick to the image area. Each plate transfers the image onto the blanket plate. Once the paper has passed all four plates, the image is complete.
  • There are two types of printing inks. Oil-based inks used oils, usually vegetable. They are environmentally friendly, as they are biodegradable. Water-based inks are even better for the environment, as they are easily broken down.
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Flexography, gravure and screen printing

  • Flexography is similar to offset lithography, however, the printing plate is instead made of flexible rubber. The image slightly sticks out, which means it is good for slightly uneven surafces. It is also faster, and the plates last for much longer.
  • Digital printing is used in typical class room printers. Printing plates do not have to be made, yet it is still possible to achieve a high quality print. There are no set up costs, except for purchasing the printer. However, the unit cost of each print is expensive compared to other commercial print methods.
  • Gravure is the most expensive, however it is the highest quality. The image sticks out from the background, like flexography, but instead the plate is made from brass. It is used for full-colour magazines, stamps, and special high-quality reproductions of photos. It is used for the longest print runs, as the plates are expensive to make. It has the highest set-up cost out of all the print processes.
  • Screen printing prints onto many different surfaces. It is good for short print runs, due to the cheap set-up costs. The image is made into a stencil. The ink is then forced through it into the product. The stencil is made of a fine gauze or mesh. The usual colours and quality control marks are used. The images is not the best quality ever. However, it is simple and cheap to set up, it is good for short runs, and can print onto many surfaces.
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Varnishing, foil blocking, and laminating

Print finishes are used to help sell a product. They enhance the image, however they make the product more expensive. They are used for two main reasons. Aesthetics, as they make the product look better. Protection, as they protect the surface from wear and tear.

Varnishing is the process in which a surface is coated with varnish, then put under a UV light to allow it to set. It is immediate, and gives a smooth, glossy finish. Spot varnish is where the varnish is only applied to a certain spot, to make it shiny. It gives three finishes: matt, satin, and gloss.

Foil blocking makes a product look expensive. Pre-glued metallic foil is stamped onto the printed surface using heat and pressure. It is used on cards and expensive packaging.

Laminating a product gives it greater protection than varnishing. It involves heat sealing a thin layer of a clear polymer, such as PET, onto the printed surface, using heat and pressure from large steel rollers. It also improves the strength, appearance, and makes a wipe-off surface.

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Varnishing, foil blocking, and laminating

Print finishes are used to help sell a product. They enhance the image, however they make the product more expensive. They are used for two main reasons. Aesthetics, as they make the product look better. Protection, as they protect the surface from wear and tear.

Varnishing is the process in which a surface is coated with varnish, then put under a UV light to allow it to set. It is immediate, and gives a smooth, glossy finish. Spot varnish is where the varnish is only applied to a certain spot, to make it shiny. It gives three finishes: matt, satin, and gloss.

Foil blocking makes a product look expensive. Pre-glued metallic foil is stamped onto the printed surface using heat and pressure. It is used on cards and expensive packaging.

Laminating a product gives it greater protection than varnishing. It involves heat sealing a thin layer of a clear polymer, such as PET, onto the printed surface, using heat and pressure from large steel rollers. It also improves the strength, appearance, and makes a wipe-off surface.

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Embossing and die cutting

Embossing is an expensive effect. It raises part of a surface by applying five tonnes of pressure onto a steel fie or stamp onto the printed surface. It gives an effective but subtle visual and textural effect. It increases the price of the product, as it is expensive to set up.

Die cutting is the process of cutting out an item. The outline of the object to be cut out will be made by inserting sharp blades called press knives into a sheet of thick plywood, called the press forme. This is placed on top of the card, then pressed down to cut the shape out. Round edged or serrated blades are used to produce a crease line or a serrated edge. The press forme is made by cutting the slots into the plywood by using a laser cutter. The cutting and creasing knives are then inserted into the slots in the plywood base. Finally, rubber blocks are placed around that blades, to push the product away from the blades, after it has been cut out.

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Packaging and the environment

  • The main functions of packaging are to protect and promote the product. Primary packaging protects the product, and provides any information about storage and the contents. Secondary packaging contains the actual product. It is usually made of card or plastic, with bright printed graphics, which gives detailed information.
  • The main questions a designer should ask are: what material should the product be made from? What will happen to the packaging once the product is finished with? Can it easily be recycled or reused? Is the product over-packaged?
  • To help combat the issues of plastics which are not biodegradable ending up in landfills, two new packaging materials have been created. Both are made from potato starch. The first, PaperFoam, is recycable and biodegradable. The second, Potatopak, acts like polystyrene. Therefore it is usually used for food. Again, it easily degrades.

The waste hierachy pyramid goes as follows:

  • Prevention is the best option.
  • Minimise the amount of packaging.
  • Re-use packaging.
  • Use recycled material.
  • Use the waste material to power a power station.
  • Dumping the packaging into a landfill site is the worst option.
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Why do we use packaging?

  • Stacking and storage is what the name implies. Over packaging is where excessive packaging is used. This is often due to display purposes. Under packaging is where not enough packaging is used. This means that a fragile product may not be well protected. Deceptive packaging is where the packaging misleads you as to what the product actually is.
  • Barcodes convey three pieces of information: the first two numbers (converted from the bars) show the product's country of origin. The next five numbers show the manufacturer's reference number. The last five or six numbers show the specific product number.
  • An RFID tag is a microchip combined with an antenna, which is very small. A scanner uses this to find out additional information about the product.
  • Information includes: ingredients, weights, safety precautions, best before dates, and how to use.
  • Protection is important, so the customer gets the product in the expected condition. It usually includes: corrgated card, expanded polystyrene, and bubble wrap.
  • Preserving is specifically for food products, which may go off if they are exposed to air.
  • Promotion is done through the graphics seen on the packaging. Brand names often have a specific style. This pulls customers in, and makes them buy the product.
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Packaging materials




Common use

Paper, card

Cheap, light, easy to print on.

Not as strong as other materials, and not waterproof.

Games, cereals.


Waterproof, light, transparent, can easily make complex shapes.

Least environmentally friendly product in the table.

Drinks bags, insulation, protection.


Strong, waterproof.


Tin cans, fizzy drinks.


Waterproof, transparent.

Breaks, expensive.

Drinks bottles.


Cheap, strong, reusable.


Engineering boards

Very strong.

One-off use.

Packing cases for transport of machinery.

Spiral wound tubing is a method which provides a structurally sounds tubular support.

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Patents and copyright

A patent is a legal protection granted by the country to the designer, which gives that person exclusive rights to the design, so no-one can copy it. The product must be new, inventive, able to be industrially made, and a physical item. A UK patent costs £200, and lasts for 20 years. However, the designs must be made public, so that people will be encouraged to take the design further. Once the patent is granted, the designer can continue making the product, sell the patent, or sell the right to make it for individual companies.

A copyright is similar, however it is used to protect text, music, films, and computer generated works or drawings from being copied.

Registered design protects the design's shape, pattern, or colour. The aesthetics are protected.

Trademarks are distinctive symbols or logos that contain the company name or slogan, and cannot be copied.

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