Printing Companies
  1. About Printing Industry
  2. Printing Services
  3. Print Buyers
  4. Printing Resources
  5. Classified Ads
  6. Printing Glossary
  7. Printing Newsletters
  8. Contact Print Industry
Who We Are

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.

Need a Printing Quote from multiple printers? click here.

Are you a Printing Company interested in joining our service? click here.

The Printing Industry Exchange (PIE) staff are experienced individuals within the printing industry that are dedicated to helping and maintaining a high standard of ethics in this business. We are a privately owned company with principals in the business having a combined total of 103 years experience in the printing industry.

PIE's staff is here to help the print buyer find competitive pricing and the right printer to do their job, and also to help the printing companies increase their revenues by providing numerous leads they can quote on and potentially get new business.

This is a free service to the print buyer. All you do is find the appropriate bid request form, fill it out, and it is emailed out to the printing companies who do that type of printing work. The printers best qualified to do your job, will email you pricing and if you decide to print your job through one of these print vendors, you contact them directly.

We have kept the PIE system simple -- we get a monthly fee from the commercial printers who belong to our service. Once the bid request is submitted, all interactions are between the print buyers and the printers.

We are here to help, you can contact us by email at

Catalog Printing: A Spectacular Clothing Magazine

I was out shopping in the mall yesterday with my fiancee. In one of the clothing stores I came upon a catalog. I was surprised and pleased with the quality of the printed piece. First and foremost, I was pleased to see print collateral in a digital age. I strongly believe in the efficacy of multichannel marketing. After all, something has to drive people to websites. I could see that in this clothing store there were catalogs to help visitors take with them a bit of the shopping experience, as a stepping off point to the Internet, to another visit to the mall, or as an introduction to the clothing brand.

A Description of the Print Catalog

What struck me first was the rough surface of the catalog paper. This felt right, since all of the clothing in the magazine had texture: wool with patterns, layered outfits, and macrame and other knotted effects.

It seemed a perfect choice to have what felt like an uncoated cover as an introduction to the print catalog. The lack of a cover coating made the paper seem to absorb all light, and it gave a soft and muted look to the cover model, her clothing, and her surroundings.

I looked at the interior paper under a bright incandescent light and noticed that it did have a bit of a sheen. It looked as though the designer had chosen a matte sheet to give a less polished look than a dull sheet, but still had opted for a coated paper to give the photos a crisp look. Since a paper coating provides a harder surface on which the ink can sit, and therefore keeps it from seeping into the paper fibers, the designer’s choice of a matte sheet gave the images a bright, highly detailed look.

When I looked again at the cover, I did see the faintest sense of a cover coating. My educated guess at this point is that the designer had added a varnish in spite of this being an uncoated paper.

Normally it is not the best idea to run a varnish on an uncoated sheet. Since it seeps into the paper fibers, the lack of ink “hold out” minimizes the effectiveness of the varnish both as a protective device and as an aesthetic statement. After all, you can barely see it.

My expectation is that the varnish had been added to maintain the more natural, muted effect of the uncoated sheet while slightly improving the durability of the ink. I have seen this done before, albeit infrequently. I think it works here.

The Photos in the Print Catalog

I was struck by the almost flawless skin of the models and the subtle transitions of color over the surface of the images. So I brought out my loupe.

The most dramatic part of the image under the loupe was the small size of the halftone dot. At first I thought the halftones had been created with an especially fine halftone screen (perhaps 200+ lpi), but I saw upon further observation that all halftone dots were the same size. In addition, there were no rosettes (the circular patterns of halftone dots visible in most screened images).

I thought about what I was observing and realized that the images in the fashion catalog had been printed with stochastic screening technology. Unlike traditional halftones that include halftone dots of various sizes all arranged on a grid and equidistant from one another, stochastic screening (also known as FM, or frequency modulated, screening) positions dots of equal size all over the halftone image. In areas that are dense, there are more of these equal-size dots, and in light areas with minimal ink coverage, there are fewer dots. In contrast, traditional screening (also known as AM, or amplitude modulated, screening) involves rotating each of the four process color screens at a slight angle to the others (to avoid moire patterns), and this creates the circular rosette patterns present in most halftones but absent in this print catalog.

It worked extraordinarily well in this catalog. The images almost looked like continuous tone photographs, and this highlighted the beautiful skin tones, outdoor backgrounds, and fiber art and clothing.

As an aside, I have even heard of (and seen samples of) halftone images that use hybrid screening technology, which combines both AM screening and FM screening.

Black and White Quadtone Images

One other technique used effectively in the fashion print catalog was the four-color black and white image. Through the loupe, and even with the stochastic screening, I could see the vaguest hint of cyan, magenta, and yellow halftone dots intermixed with the black dots in the halftones.

There were only two of these quadtone black and white images (both with a wide range of tones made possible by the four separate halftone screens), but they were elegant, and the technique reflected the stately tone of their content. What made them so effective was that by removing the color (or the appearance of color), the designer had made the photos look old fashioned. In so doing, he or she also drew attention to the aesthetic tone of the photos. The photos were not just a rendering of a product, a particular dress, but rather a stylized piece of art.

How You Can Apply This to Your Work

If your subject matter lends itself to almost continuous tone imagery, ask your printer about FM screening. It may cost a bit more, but for fashion, food, and automotive imagery this can be worth it. I have even seen the work of printers specializing in stochastic screening. In their case, this technology may not cost extra.

Also, choose printing papers integral to the design of your catalog. Don’t make the paper choice an afterthought. If you want a more natural feel, choose an uncoated paper. For a more slick, corporate tone, you may want to select a gloss stock instead. Or if your subject matter warrants it, choose something in the middle—a matte or dull paper substrate.

And consider four-color black and white imagery. We have grown so accustomed to full-color imagery that a black and white photo can be particularly dramatic just because it’s not expected.

Comments are closed.


Recent Posts


Read and subscribe to our newsletter!

Printing Services include all print categories listed below & more!
4-color Catalogs
Affordable Brochures: Pricing
Affordable Flyers
Book Binding Types and Printing Services
Book Print Services
Booklet, Catalog, Window Envelopes
Brochures: Promotional, Marketing
Bumper Stickers
Business Cards
Business Stationery and Envelopes
Catalog Printers
Cheap Brochures
Color, B&W Catalogs
Color Brochure Printers
Color Postcards
Commercial Book Printers
Commercial Catalog Printing
Custom Decals
Custom Labels
Custom Posters Printers
Custom Stickers, Product Labels
Custom T-shirt Prices
Decals, Labels, Stickers: Vinyl, Clear
Digital, On-Demand Books Prices
Digital Poster, Large Format Prints
Discount Brochures, Flyers Vendors
Envelope Printers, Manufacturers
Label, Sticker, Decal Companies
Letterhead, Stationary, Stationery
Magazine Publication Quotes
Monthly Newsletter Pricing
Newsletter, Flyer Printers
Newspaper Printing, Tabloid Printers
Online Book Price Quotes
Paperback Book Printers
Postcard Printers
Post Card Mailing Service
Postcards, Rackcards
Postcard Printers & Mailing Services
Post Card Direct Mail Service
Poster, Large Format Projects
Posters (Maps, Events, Conferences)
Print Custom TShirts
Screen Print Cards, Shirts
Shortrun Book Printers
Tabloid, Newsprint, Newspapers
T-shirts: Custom Printed Shirts
Tshirt Screen Printers
Printing Industry Exchange, LLC, P.O. Box 394, Bluffton, SC 29910
©2019 Printing Industry Exchange, LLC - All rights reserved