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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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Archive for September, 2011

Book Printing: Read Between the Lines of an Estimate

Friday, September 30th, 2011

Selecting a custom printing service and approving a contract involve much more than choosing the vendor with the lowest price. Of course, price (as reflected by the total cost of the estimate), and quality (as determined by a review of the book printing vendor’s samples and phone interviews with his references) are highly important, but here are a few other considerations. If you look closely, you’ll see them in the custom printing estimates or hear them in discussions with printer’s representatives. If not, be sure to ask. (more…)

Book Printing: “Wavy” Pages, or Fluting, Can Ruin a Book

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

An attache at the Embassy of Chile, who had just taken delivery of several thousand perfect-bound books for the ambassador, called me and said that the entire book printing run had “wavy” text. The covers were flat, but the text blocks were consistently rippled. I hopped in a cab and went right over. (more…)

Book Printing: How to Discover the Source of a Printing Flaw

Monday, September 26th, 2011

I recently emailed a client to follow up on a book printing project. I hoped, and expected, to hear good things. Unfortunately, there were three problems with the books: (more…)

Brochure Printing and Large Format Printing: Mass Personalization

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

Not that long ago, when your custom printing supplier delivered your job, you received 500, 1,000, or 10,000 copies that were all the same. This is called “static printing,” since the output is fixed, rather than variable. It has served us well since Gutenberg invented movable type. However, direct mail companies that have sent the same brochure to all prospects have historically received about a three percent return. Only a few prospects have turned into clients. Part of this has been due to the generic nature of the printed direct mail. There was nothing personal to distinguish the printed pieces recipients found in their mailboxes. (more…)

Brochure Printing: Is It Digital or Is It Offset?

Friday, September 16th, 2011

A custom printing service I work with stepped up today and put quality above profit. Although I was not surprised, I was pleased. I had received samples of a single-page brochure printing job that would be a companion piece for a pocket-folder and step-down card package for a client. (more…)

Envelope Printing: Choose Standard Sizes to Save Money

Friday, September 16th, 2011

I found about 75 beautifully printed fold-over cards on good quality cover stock at a discount store this weekend. Unfortunately all the flaps of the custom envelopes had stuck to the envelopes. So I had perfectly good cards and no way to send them to clients. (more…)

Book Printing: Nothing Shows Printing Companies What You Want Better Than a Sample

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

I met a potential new client at an art opening this weekend. We discussed an upcoming book printing run. She wants to produce a 5” x 5” case-bound book of her photographs. I started thinking about how to approach this new job prior to our upcoming meeting to determine how I might be most helpful. First off, I asked her to start collecting book printing samples that she likes, with formats, sizes, and materials she thinks most closely reflect the nature of her photography. Nothing communicates a client’s goals for a new project like a physical printed sample. Printing companies can understand and reproduce what they can see. If you’re designing a book and are faced with a similar situation, consider these sources for sample books. (more…)

Brochure Printing: Experimenting with Unique Inks

Monday, September 5th, 2011

When you’re designing a brochure printing run for your custom printing service to produce (or any other kind of publication, for that matter), one of the first decisions you must make, along with format, size, and paper, is what ink colors you will use. First to mind often are the process colors and PMS colors. But you needn’t stop here. Be creative. Reach beyond the norm. Here are some options. (more…)

Book Printing and Brochure Printing: Ask for a Paper Dummy

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

If you ask him (or her), your paper merchant or custom printing vendor will give you what’s called a “paper dummy” of your job. It is an unprinted version of your project on the exact paper stock you plan to use. It has been folded, bound, and trimmed to the exact dimensions of your custom printing job. It will weigh exactly what an individual copy of your brochure, book, or flyer will weigh. Your business printing service or paper merchant will provide this as a free service. Here are some situations in which you might want to request one. (more…)


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