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Stop Signs are imperative to transportation. Without them, travel would be impossible. And even when it seems like Stop Signs are an annoyance and there is “no one around for miles”, nearly 700000 police-report motor vehicle crashes occur annually at stop signs, and approximately one-third of these crashes involve injuries. So, it really does need pay to stop rather than slow down…

The same logic applies to Commercial Printing…while no one is getting seriously injured if a step is skipped, there are consequences that cost time and money. A traditional Printing project is uniquely custom crafted. Properly taking the time for each step of the process, insures the next step will not be compromised. Prepress insures an accurate Proof, Proofing confirms the files, Printing from the Proof helps the Pressman confirm the Production specs, the Pressman confirms the layout for the Binder and Finishing department and the Bindery double checks the Job Planning to know the job has been produced complete and to order. If we were to blow through one of these steps, there is risk in having a problem. Could you get a job done quicker? Yes, but at what expense?

Whenever you are dealing with Custom Production, it is always best to Stop rather than Slow down.

Paper & Effects Can Make PRINTING a Marketing Art Form!

We have been in the printing business since 1972. It has had its ups and downs…from 2009-2013 it felt like the world was going the way of the video below…However, it seems recently there is strong trend to bring printing back but not as a commodity but a Marketing Strategy and presented like a piece of ART!

Our newest customers want to see, touch and feel the best papers and printing effects. More importantly, they want their customers to have the same experience. In addition to special papers, we are rounding corners, using soft touch lamination and even printing on chip board material.

If you are not taking advantage of this new trend, your customers are missing the experience of having something to hold that is hand-made and touches their senses…Bring your marketing to life again!

Manuals: Black and White and Read All Over!

Many manuals are online but most products still require a printed Manual. While a manual is typically not something you buy, it is part of the packaging for most products. It does not help market the product so it is considered an expense.

Because it is an expense, most companies are looking for ways to increase profits by decreasing cost. A great way to improve your bottom line is by looking at 3 ways to reduce the expense of your manual.

1) Paper – Manuals tend to be Black Ink on White paper. Typically, designers look for a Brighter paper for manuals but this is a more expensive paper. In actuality, the Opacity of a paper is more important than Brightness when it comes to the best paper for your manual as the Bleed though is minimized. The good thing about a High Opacity paper is it is usually much cheaper than a High Brightness paper. A nice Groundwood or even a Newsprint makes a great solution for a manual.

2) Quantity – Most manual’s content is set for the year. It is best to look at an Estimated Annual Usage or EAU to determine if there is savings to be had by running a year’s worth of manuals. Most commercial printers will work with you on storage and just in time shipments. If the quantity is large enough you can print your manuals on a web press. A web press is a very efficient press that can print on high opacity papers, at a higher run rate and folded signatures.

3) Size – Manuals come in all sizes. Anywhere from 3 x 5 to 8 1/5 x 11. By being flexible on your size there are many efficiencies you may can take advantage of that will save you money. By changing the size by ¼ of an inch may allow your manual to be printed 2-up and bound 2-up and save quite a bit of money. Having your printer involved with your Manual at the design phase is a great way to make sure something like Trim Size does not keep you from saving money when printing your manual.

Invite Your PRINTER to the Design Table

Printing is a Custom manufactured process. Much like a Custom piece of Furniture, it takes the designer and artisan working together to make sure what is on the computer screen matches the finished product.

When I first started in the print business, there was an estimator with years experience that would look at job specs and quote jobs for me. From time to time, he would bring them back to me and say where were you when they wrote these specs? I would ask why and he would say…this one is an Art vs. Science project…meaning it was impossible to produce and make the designer happy.

Many things that look good in the creative phase will look better if a printer has a chance to review and make sure the production process won’t get in the way of the vision of the project. In addition, they can make suggestions like page counts and trim sizes that will help produce the product most efficiently.

Here are just a few problems that could be overlooked in the design phase of a project.

  • Bleed and Type – When your ink extends off the trim of the page that is “bleeding” the ink off of the page. When designing a page with bleed, your design in your file must have the image extend beyond the trim by an 1/8 of an inch. This ensures that your vision of a page with wall to wall color is achieved. Another important design factor for printing is how close you place type to the edge of a sheet of paper. In the Manufacturing process, an image can shift slightly and the closer you have type to the trim edge, the better of a chance you have of cutting off the words, noticing imperfections or ascetically just not looking clean. A design that keeps Type at least a ¼” from the trim will always look better!
  • Page Counts – Presses are designed to maximize the sheet of paper. For example, a 40” Sheet-fed press can run a max 16pg signature for an 8.5 x 11design. If you have a catalog that is 156pgs, it would be cheaper to run as a 160pg because you are running 10-16’s. Another example is running 50,000 copies of a simple 28pg Manual. A Web Press has to run in page increments of 8 so it would be much cheaper to run ONE 32pg signature otherwise, you would run a 16pg on the web and a 12pg on the Sheet-fed press. This would be 2 Press runs instead on of one.
  • Trim Size – There are standard trim sizes that American Printers typically run when it comes to things like Catalogs, Manuals or Magazines. 8 ½ x 11 is typically a max size for a sheet-fed job and 8 3/8 x 10 7/8 for a web press job. Also, a digest size is a good size to run 2 up on a web press. The maximum being 5 ¼ x 8 3/8. Some designers may design smaller booklet at 6 x 9…by tweaking the size to 5 ¼ x 8 3/8, the job will print and bind 2x as fast!

By including your Printer at the planning stages, you will save money and time as well as have a great printed project.

Why Die when you can Esko?

Die cutting has been a specialty finishing process for years. Typically, you make a die, made of steel rules of various heights and widths, and you die cut the project through a die cutting machine to make Book Covers, Pocket Folders and Business Cards more marketable and creative.

However, Die cutting can be expensive and time consuming. A Die can cost $2-300 and take days to have made before you can start the job. If there is a problem with the Design or Print and the Die does not work, the process starts all over again…

That’s all changed thanks to new technology that has brought about a new dimension for die cutting, scoring and finishing. You can now cut, score, perforate and fabricate at smaller quantities utilizing a flat-bed cutter on just about any substrate.

With ESKO technology in addition to traditional cutting of Paper based products, you gain the advantages of custom cutting large sizes…signs, banners, customized packaging, plastic products, aluminum and wood (just to name a few materials that an ESKO Cutter can cut).

So with a Creative Designer and a Printing Company with an ESKO cutter, companies can enhance their marketing for small production runs and same day deliver.