Design/Artwork for Flexo


New Member
Hi everyone

Just a quick, generally question really!

Flexo is a relatively new thing to me this year when I've been involved with the rebrand a clients old labels, which get printed Flexo.

Firstly, does anyone have experience designing for Flexo and do you approach it in any other way?

I was completely upfront when dealing with the label printers and told them I had no experience of the Flexo process. They explained it in brief to me, however the timescale did not allow for me to learn the full process of artworking for Flexo and I let them do the final set up.

I created the artwork in Illustrator, saved in the normal PDF/X way I would for digital and sent it over. All way well and they had no issues.

Really, what I'm trying to ask is: is it worth my time learning to artwork for Flexo or should I just leave it up to the printers artworking team?
There are a few things.

Firstly, flexo is done a lot for packaging, so familiarising yourself with packagaing, dielines, image placement, text sizes, etc., folding, gutters, gussets, packnets, tesselation, and all other things are essential if you're going to be really good and familiar with developing pieces that will printed on flexo.

These are things I've bookmarked that I thought was useful to show people what is involved -

Packaging Nets
Developments and Nets

The other thing to consider is colours - a maximum of 10 colours - including your white and varnishes. (Unlike Litho where it's not impossible to print white but rather difficult, flexo can print white quite easily)

CMYK is used in flexo - but spot colours are highly recommended over CMYK where possible. This keeps it consistent. Check with your flexo printer on what Pantone book they have and purchase the same one - then you'll literally be on the same page when it comes to colours used :)

As far as I remember Spot colours can only be printed up to 12% (someone correct me if I'm wrong) :help:

Screens can be used anywhere from 85 - 135 LPI - but if you have a different screen some Flexos can help you out.

Spot colours and gradients - there's no such thing really as 0% or 5% in Flexo - it's around 10 - 15% is the smallest dot they can produce.

Familiarise yourself with trapping - although some places will ask you not to Trap your files - you will need to know how if ever asked.

Font sizes
Minimum point size - depending on font - is about 5 pts, when printing dark on light.

When printing light on dark you need to up your point size to about 7 pt (depending on font) and I always use a slightly bolder version like Scene Pro Medium - then I would loosen the tracking slightly. (If too close together and such small type the photopolymer plate might join letters together if the plate breaks down too much during processing)

Familiarise yourself with minimum sizes and colour combinations.

Key advice
When it comes to colour/gradients/spots/fonts/barcodes etc.

It is always advisable to talk to your printer first - they may have key requirements for you, specific file formats, and specific PDF specifications.

Where colour is critical - you need to be in touch with your printer before you start the designing (where possible).

Most printers are happy to run offcuts to show percentage breakdowns of colour. Or to print some images on offcuts so you can sample the quality and colour.

Always speak to your printers.

Always think finishing before you start (that's how it's printed, what material, how many colours, where the folds are, etc the finishing of the product)

Always get a colour sample(s) before you start a print run.