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Interview with Auraprint’s prepress supervisor Elisa Toivio

Auraprint's prepress supervisor Elisa Toivio keeps up with global regulations and adapts them to clients' label preferences: “It’s the most challenging, but also the most interesting part.”

Elisa Toivio, who has been a prepress supervisor at Auraprint for eight years, performs meticulous work to ensure that clients' labels are exactly as they should be. Combining different pieces into one large whole is not always easy but is rewarding.

In prepress work, precision and patience are required. Toivio and her team are tasked with transforming the material sent by the client into a functional label. Often, major corrections to the material are not necessary.

“Sometimes the client gives us general guidelines, and we design the label based on them. In such cases, the work may go back and forth between us and the client up to five times for revisions. However, we strive to receive the materials as finalized as possible,” Toivio explains.

The material inspector has many stages of work. They check the fonts, the printability of the images, and perform a preliminary check on the workability of the material. Die cuts, varnishes, foil stamping, and other finishing steps are reviewed by the repro workers. The printing technique used for the product must also be considered in prepress work.

“Flexo printing has more color limitations compared to digital or offset printing. In flexo printing, colors and the behavior of color dots must be carefully considered: how small a halftone dot can be and how gradients will reproduce. In digital printing, for example, color gradients can go from zero to one hundred, whereas in flexo, the gradient stops at two percent,” Toivio says.

Prepress workers must also stay updated on international and national regulations when working on labels. The EU has its own rules for packaging, and when designing bottle labels, the rules set by the return bottle system PALPA, based on international standards, must be taken into account.

“When making bottle labels, you need to keep in mind PALPA's exact standards for the size of the recycling mark and the placement of the barcode. The EU, on the other hand, defines the minimum font size used on food packaging to ensure the text remains readable,” Toivio explains.

To start the collaboration smoothly, prepress workers sometimes participate in kickoff meetings with clients. During these meetings, Toivio informs the client whether the label design is feasible or if changes are needed.

Large projects involve meticulous work

Participating in meetings is part of Toivio’s regular workday. Additionally, she reviews the daily workload, checks how well the schedule is being followed, reports on this, and participates in typesetting. When she has time, Toivio is involved in developing automation to make the work easier.

“In prepress, we do so much repetitive work that we aim to automate it to reduce the need to re-enter the same data repeatedly. Auraprint has such a wide range of products that there are hardly any quiet moments in repro, so automation needs to keep up with us,” Toivio says.

During her 15-year career at Auraprint, Toivio has had the opportunity to work in almost every production role before ending up in prepress. She finds this valuable for her current role.

“It has been very helpful to understand the work steps before and after prepress. Nowadays, the prepress orientation program includes having new employees spend a week learning each work phase. It’s important to get an overall picture of the work,” Toivio explains.

The most challenging aspect of her job, Toivio says, is coordinating everything.

“We have the client's wishes, the frames and limitations defined by our production, and various laws. Combining these into one big whole is the most challenging, but also the most interesting part.”

Toivio is eager to learn more about technology and the client's packaging lines.

“I keep up with packaging standards and regulations. At the same time, I can guide others comprehensively when I understand the overall picture myself,” Toivio says.


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