Blog | Digital Connections – Endsheets

October 09, 2018

Digital Connections – Endsheets

At first glance endsheets appear to be among the simplest components that unite in the construction
of a hard cover book. Endsheets are the deceptively simple element that binds the text pages of a book
to the cover. An endsheet consists of a single sheet of paper with a fold down the middle. If endsheets
were always blank, applying endsheets to a book would be a simple matter.
Often book designs include printed endsheets. Typically the front and back endsheets are the
same. On occasion the front and back endsheets are unique. This alone does not make for complicated
endsheets. The greatest challenge with endsheets is communicating where each panel should appear
in the book. We have a standardized file naming convention and page setup for endsheets that
will make it simpler to communicate how the endsheets should appear in the book. Each panel of
the endsheet is referred to by panel position. Endsheet files should be setup in spreads where
the file width is twice the width of the trim size of the book. The endsheet at the front of the book with
printing across the spread is called “F2-F3”. If the back side of the front endsheet also has printing
this spread is called “F4-F1”. On the back of the front endsheet panel F1 plus 3/16 inches of F4 will

be covered with glue. The endsheet at the back of the book with printing across the spread is called
“B2-B3”. If the front side of the back endsheet also has printing this spread is called “B4-B1”. On
the front of the back endsheet panel B4 plus 3/16 inches of B1 will be covered with glue. The 3/16
inch glue strip area is used to attach the interior pages to the cover.

Use the following prefixes when labeling endsheet files.
F4-F1: back of front endsheet
F2-F3: front endsheet
B4-B1: front of back endsheet
B2-B3: back endsheet


The way colour is defined can really affect the quality of the final printed product. Sometimes when
viewing a page on screen, the true nature of the file setup is hidden. One example of this is defining
colours as spot or CMYK. Another example is the use of black type. A black colour will look black on
screen regardless of how the colour is defined. This can lead to surprises later in the printing process.
Depending how the files were supplied we may need to request revised files.
Defining the colour used for black type is an important step in ensuring that the text prints with
the best final print quality. I have seen various examples of black type setup to print in more than
black ink. In most cases the content creator is not even aware that text is printing CMYK.

Why is printing black text with extra colours such a problem? Printing in CMYK requires registering
or lining up of four separate colours. Although modern presses and plating equipment make tight
registration possible there is always slight variation as you move toward the extremities of the sheet.
For images and colour elements this variation is insignificant. For black type where the characters
are small, you are expecting crisp clean type and any blurring or softness at the edges of characters
is distracting and lacks professional appeal. At Friesens we check for CMYK black type before
making plates. At this stage we have software that allows us to view complete signatures, turning off
individual separations to check how the black type is defined. When we identify CMYK black type in
your text files we will contact you for corrected files. In smaller components such as covers it may
be acceptable to print CMYK type when the type is on a coloured background or image. For this reason
we do not report this problem on covers. There are several ways that CMYK black
type can be introduced into your layout files. One example is when text is imported it can bring styles
and colours along with the text. The colour AUTO is one to watch for when importing text. This colour
has the appearance of black but actually prints as a spot colour. Selecting a Pantone Black for text also
has the same result.


Two additional colours that can exhibit this behaviour are Registration and Rich Black. Rich
Black is using a CMYK mix such as 100% Black and 40% Cyan to produce a deeper black. Rich
Black is useful in solid backgrounds or extremely large block type sizes. Rich Black creates printing
problems when used with standard type sizes used for body copy, headers and footers. Registration is
a colour that should only be used for trim and fold marks. Registration will print on every plate making
it unsuitable for type.
In all these examples text appears black when viewed on screen but prints process when converted
to CMYK. This can be corrected by selecting Black for text. In the instance of AUTO and Pantone Black
the spot colour can be deleted from the Swatches Palette and replaced with Black.
Using Photoshop as a layout program is another potential way of introducing CMYK black text into
your book. By default black is defined as a CMYK combo instead of 100% Black only. When adding
text in Photoshop make sure that you first define a foreground colour that is C0 M0 Y0 K100. If you
have already completed the files you can go back into the file, select the text and change the colour
to Black only. In a file where the text has been rasterized you will need to work with the Channels
to remove the Cyan, Magenta and Yellow. The Black may also need to be increased to print 100% Black.
Always print black type with Black ink only to guarantee sharp looking characters every time.
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