Litho Guidelines

The Basics of Lithography Lamination

Litho laminating is the process gluing (laminating) a printed and coated press sheet to the corrugated board prior to die-cutting and processing it into a box. (This is in contrast to flexographic printing, in which you print directly on the corrugated board prior to its being converted into a box.) Litho lamination offers the high quality of offset printing. That is, you get much tighter registration and better quality than flexography, and much finer screens and halftones—i.e., more intricate detail–than silkscreen. This option is appropriate for medium-sized production runs, but you should expect a higher set-up cost than required for the other methods.

Typical Litho Lamination Applications

  • Retail packaging application
  • Complex print, and/or fine screened graphics
  • Point of purchase (P.O.P.) headers
  • Small countertop displays

The following specifications are required when supplying litho sheets:

Litho Laminated Paper and Coating Requirements

Our testing and experience with running litho laminated orders has shown that the best quality product is produced using 70# Sterling C1S (Coated 1 side). Any deviations from this stock will compromise the integrity of the manufacturing process and quality of the product. Only litho sheets sourced and co-ordinated by GLBC can be guaranteed for laminating and quality issues.

Types of Coatings

  • Aqueous Coating – Recommended coating.  An aqueous coating is a fast-drying, water-based, protective coating which is applied in-line on press to attain a selection of finishes.  This clear coating provides a high gloss surface which protects the surface from dirt, smudges, fingerprints and scratch.  This type of coating provides “rub off” and scuff resistance. It protects the product from harmful elements from the shipment through to end use. They are available in gloss and matte finishes.
  • UV Coating (Ultraviolet Coating) – Is a clear liquid spread over the paper like ink and then cured instantly with ultraviolet light. UV coating has more sheen than aqueous coating but is also more  expensive. This coating is the “laminate style” coating that you see on ultra high gloss magazine covers. It is a second process (pass through machine) which takes place after the run has been printed.

Guide to Creating Artwork

  • Trim
    Litho sheets must be provided trimmed to GLBC specifications based on provided die-line.

  • Size
    The largest press size for litho sheets is 28″ x 40″, with an image size of 27″ x 39″.

  • Grain Direction
    Grain direction of sheets should be in the corrugated direction as shown on the Great Little Box Company provided die-line.

  • Placement
    A minimum of 1/8″ is recommended between a printed image and any score, hand holes, and/or window cutouts. Any print or image should be 1/4″ away from edge of dieline unless print is bleeding over.

  • Bleeds
    Minimum bleed off of 1/2″.

  • Diecut Registration
    Great Little Box Company’s diecut registration tolerance is between +/- 1/16″ and 1/8″.

  • Lead Time
    Depending on quantity required, litho sheets should be received by GLBC at least five (5) days prior to order due date to allow for the gluing, drying and die-cutting processes.

If preferred, GLBC customer service department can coordinate the entire process by using one of GLBC’s recognized litho sheet suppliers.