The dangers of going against the grain

against the grainSurprisingly, (perhaps!) It’s actually not that interesting or captivating, and a dedicated blog about it might be pushing the boundaries of creative writing, but a little knowledge about this might at some point save a great print job from being ruined.

When paper is made, and the pulp spreads across the wire, the grain or fibres align themselves in a direction parallel to the sheets longest dimension.

When paper is exposed to the printing process, the fibres can expand, but they only expand in width not length. This is something that as a print company we need to be aware of. Paper folded against the grain is less likely to suffer from structural damage.

However, folding against the grain on heavier weight papers, more especially where the job is stitched, can cause the paper surface to crack. Scoring will certainly help to avoid this.

If you are specifying heavier weight papers (170gsm and above) it is worth checking with your print company about the effects of cracking.

Having a wonderfully designed and printed brochure can easily be ruined by the spine and possibly text pages cracking, so it’s always worth checking if they are folding against the grain direction and  if so are they are scoring it, or ordering paper with a different grain direction?

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