Catalog Printing Tips & Suggestions

The following printing and mailing tips can save you money or avoid printing delays.

Press Types

A web press (a press specifically designed to print rolls of paper) can print significantly faster than a sheet fed press. However, the complexity of the web press means requires more labor to setup and run. If your catalog or book can meet certain minimums of quantity and page count, along with using paper formats available in web (roll) form, you can take advantage of the savings the faster web press allows. Generally, catalogs of 16 printed in a quantity of as low as 5,000 will be cost effective on a web press.

Page Count

If you can finesse your page count to increments of 32 pages for standard format (8-3/8″ x 10-7/8″) or 64 for the digest format (5-3/8″ x 8-3/8″) you can save considerable cost by printing on an eight-unit web press which is capable of running two webs at the same time. That means labor time will be cut almost in half! Standard four- to six-unit web presses can only print single webs or 16 pages in standard format. You’ll need to use 60# or lighter basis weight stock for maximum efficiency however.

Page Size

You can save a considerable amount of money on your printing by designing for a slightly smaller page width. A 7-3/8″ page width instead of the standard 8-3/8″ page width means the printer can buy 31″ rolls of paper instead of 35″ rolls. Your job will need about 10% less paper. Since paper is a large percentage of your printing cost, the savings to you can be significant. Your freight and mailing costs should also be reduced.

Catalog Size

Perhaps the most ubiquitous and cost effective size of catalog is the standard format (8-3/8″ x 10-7/8″) with 32 pages. Outside of this format, the next most cost effective formats are standard format catalogs with page counts in increments of 16 pages, such as 48, 64 or 80 pages. Also using a standard house paper – typically a 60# no. 3 or 4 quality – will generally be a fairly low cost paper.

Mailing List

To prevent delays send your mailing list to your printer or mail house at least 7 days before the scheduled binding/addressing date so that estimated postage may be calculated and the list analyzed. Send your postage check at least two business days prior to the mail entry date.

File Delays

Web presses normally run 24 hour a day, 6-7 days a week, so scheduling is critical. If you see that your disks, etc. may not get to your printer on time, be sure to tell them right away. If they know about delays for enough in advance, they may still have the flexibility to make scheduling changes that will allow you to meet your deadlines.