What does “creep” mean and how can you avoid it?

cautionThe word creep conjures up all sorts of negative images and that’s not really much different in print.

Is there actually a positive sense in which the word can be used? Although not sinister as such, creep in print has been the ruin of many a catalogue or brochure.

So, what exactly is creep?

Creep generally only affects work that is stitched, where printed sections are inserted inside each other and then bound. By inserting sections, the centre section will be naturally “thrown-out” towards the edge of the pages, due to the thickness of sections it is inserted into.

If any live matter is positioned close to the outside edge of the page it may be in danger of being trimmed off when the job is trimmed to size. Coloured bars bleeding off at the edge of the page may also differ in thickness on the centre pages due to some of the matter being trimmed off.

There are 3 ways to remedy this:

·         Allow plenty of space between the trim marks and live matter.
·         Allow for the possible effects of creep when the pages are designed, ideally in consultation with the print provider (known as shingling)
·         If the neither of the above have been done, at the binding stage we can over-trim the publication, although this isn’t an ideal solution as pages designed to bleed off may not do so if the publication ends up larger than originally designed for across the width.

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