In printing, Finishing refers to value-added operations that are performed after the ink has been applied to the paper. Some finishing operations can occur before the printing comes off the press (inline), but many finishing operations are performed after the printing comes off the press (offline).
Because bindery operations make up a large subset of finishing work, many printers use the catch-all term “Finishing and Bindery” or “Finishing and Binding” to describe all post-printing activities.
Some of the more popular print services that fall under the category of Finishing include:
Collating – the gathering and arranging of individual sheets or other printed components into a predetermined sequence. Collating creates consistent, logical sets from multiple parts.
Cutting and Trimming – using a sharp blade or shear to reduce a printed piece down to its desired size. Common examples include removing excess paper along crop marks, separating pieces that have been printed as multiple images per sheet, or trimming the open edges of a book to create evenly aligned pages.
Scoring – the process of making a crease in paper so it will fold easier. Helps improve the appearance of the fold because it provides a consistent guideline. It is used mostly on heavyweight papers and cardstock.
Folding – a procedure that bends over a printed piece so that it lies flat upon itself. Folding serves many functions, one of which is to reduce the physical size of a printed piece. This allows the piece to fits into something else – like an envelope, packaging, or display rack. A smaller size can also make certain printed items easier to handle and/or distribute. Folding is also commonly used as a design technique to create separate panels from a single sheet, such as for a brochure or invitation. There are numerous folding styles available, including the popular c-fold, z-fold, gatefold, and mini fold.
Laminating – the process of bonding a clear plastic film onto printed matter to protect it against stains, smudges, moisture, wrinkles, and tears. Greatly improves durability. Also enhances the vibrancy of the ink colours. Lamination is a popular choice for printed items that must endure heavy use, such as educational materials, flip charts, book covers, restaurant and bar menus, maps, and consumer displays.
Die-Cutting – using a thin sharp blade that has been pre-formed into a specific pattern or outline, to cut paper, cardstock, label stock, or other substrates into various shapes.
Binding – binding is a broad term used to describe the gathering and fastening together of separate sheets or signatures. Binding can be as simple as placing a single staple through the corner of a set of documents. However, binding usually refers to the creation of durable books and booklets. Examples of popular binding methods include perfect binding, saddle-stitching, spiral/coil binding, and wire-o binding, as well as the insertion of components into a ringed binder.