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Printing Industry Exchange ( is pleased to have Steven Waxman writing and managing the Printing Industry Blog. As a printing consultant, Steven teaches corporations how to save money buying printing, brokers printing services, and teaches prepress techniques. Steven has been in the printing industry for thirty-three years working as a writer, editor, print buyer, photographer, graphic designer, art director, and production manager.

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F&G’s: A Proofing Tool to Help You and Your Printer Minimize Errors on Press

Whether you’re working with hardcover book printers or soft cover (perfect bound) book printers (custom book printing) to produce your next title, consider requesting an “F&G” to check your book prior to binding.

First of all, what does F&G stand for? The letters stand for “folded and gathered,” and the term refers to a stack of folded, but untrimmed, signatures that will become your book once they have been bound. Essentially, it is a book without a cover.

A signature in a conventionally printed offset book may be 16, 32, or even 64 pages (if your printer has an oversize offset press that takes a sheet larger than 28” x 40”). After the press sheets have been printed, they are folded down into little 16-, 32-, or 64-page booklets. At this point, their edges have not yet been trimmed, but they still comprise everything that will become your book (except for the cover).

Why is it prudent to check the process at this point? If you become aware of any major printing errors, your print provider can go back on press and reprint just the signatures affected by the problem. Then he can proceed to bind the book.

This mitigates a potentially horrible situation, and provides a remedy that is faster and less expensive than the alternative. If, for instance, an ink/water balance problem causes your type to be watery and runny in one signature (or to print streaks in non-image areas), it’s far better to remedy this at the F&G stage rather than tear the covers off the bound books, reprint a signature, and then rebind and retrim the job.

So basically the F&G is an interim proofing step that benefits both you and your printer. If something is wrong, you can catch it early, and your printer can do less work to fix the problem.

F&G’s are normally produced by printers as a checkpoint for themselves, so handing one off to you as well usually does not cost extra. That said, if you are worried that the F&G review will slow down the production of your book, you can ask for a “confirming” F&G. The printer then will proceed with binding, while you review the F&G, rather than wait for your approval before continuing with the job. (This really is not as effective a tool as actually having your printer wait for your approval before binding.)

The good news is that printing and binding are not done on the same equipment or even in the same part of the printing plant, so it’s usually possible to get a few extra hours to check the F&G prior to binding without compromising the schedule. To facilitate matters, you can always view the F&G on-site at the printing plant if time is of the essence.

Always mention your need for an F&G at the beginning of the job when you are soliciting bids. Just include the F&G request in the specification sheet you distribute to your book printing and publishing companies (finding a book printing company).

10 Responses to “F&G’s: A Proofing Tool to Help You and Your Printer Minimize Errors on Press”

  1. Remarkable things here. I’m very pleased to see your post. Thanks a lot.

  2. This blog is excellent. I love studying your articles. Keep up the great work! Lots of people are searching for this information. You could aid them greatly.

  3. Very nice post. I simply stumbled upon your weblog and wanted to say that I have truly enjoyed surfing around your weblog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!

  4. Ron Sizemore says:

    You explained the concept of fold and gather very well

    • admin says:

      Thank you for your kind words. I have saved a lot of time for my clients, as well as money for the printers, by encouraging my book printing clients to request an F&G.


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