Adequate scoring prior to folding can make or break the quality of a finished piece. On heavier weight stocks, getting this right is critical to your project’s success. Getting it wrong will lead to cracking and ruin an otherwise beautiful job.
The score provides a hinge that allows the paper fibers to “flex” around and fold without cracking. As the thickness of the stock increases, appropriate scoring becomes critical to this mechanism. The width and depth of the score should be matched to the specific stock used in the job. Many paper variables, including the type of fiber, surface treatments, and moisture levels will impact your score and subsequent folding ability. For this reason, it is important to test your stock with the selected scoring rule and channel matrix prior to converting the entire job. Slight adjustments to the width or depth may be required to optimize a score and prevent cracking on the fold.
On heavyweight covers, scores need to be deeper and wider than on lighter weight stock. There are two schools of thought on orientation of the scores relative to the grain direction of the paper. Some prefer to fold with the grain and consider this orientation to be more robust. If the fold is going to be opened and closed many times, resiliency will be important. Some finishers prefer to fold across the grain on heavy weight stock. This prevents the score from “wandering” along the multiple paper fibers that are running in the grain direction. A fold made across the grain may not lie quite as flat in the finished piece.
Critical to the functionality of any score is making certain that the hinge is on the inside of the score. The hinge is the raised area created by the score. When folded with the hinge on the inside of the fold, your fold will be clean and smooth (see below).
When folded improperly, with the hinge on the outside of the fold, cracking is likely (see image below).
Scoring improves the quality of a fold. Designing to accommodate the folds will be critical to your job layout. If you have multiple folds that will overlap, panel sizes must be adjusted to take the score and paper thickness into account. Consult with your printer if you are uncertain about making these adjustments to your page dimensions. Carefully review your proofs and bluelines to ensure the score placement is accurate. Once scored, there is no adjusting the placement of a fold.