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

Blog Articles for

Archive for July, 2020

Custom Printing: Bacardi’s Direct Digital Bottle Printing

Monday, July 27th, 2020

reproduction rights purchased from …

When BACARDI does something, people pay attention. As a contemporary brand, BACARDI is stylish and sexy–on the cusp of the future.

So I paid heed when I read an article recently about BACARDI’s new bottle printing work done by O-I: EXPRESSIONS on Dekron digital equipment (“BACARDI Personalizes Bottles with Direct Digital Print,” Pat Reynolds, 07/02/2020). The article defines direct digital custom printing, addresses the benefits of this technology from a marketing design and sustainability vantage point, and then goes on to mention the improved marketing results of linking this technology to digital-only media such as the internet and AR (Augmented Reality).

What the Article Says

(Reynolds’ article is actually quite short. However, it includes links to other articles describing cutting-edge, direct-to-shape (related to direct-to-object) custom printing not only on bottles but also on cosmetics tubes and cans. So this is a quickly growing phenomenon with a number of exciting facets. I think you might find such articles inspiring if you are a designer or printer.)

First off, “BACARDI Personalizes Bottles with Direct Digital Print” describes BACARDI’s marketing initiative, mentions the technology used, and then lists the benefits of the process.

For this marketing campaign, BACARDI chose not to print paper or plastic labels or even shrink sleeves. Instead, BACARDI’s creative team at O-I: EXPRESSIONS used Dekron digital custom printing technology to image the marketing message directly on the bottle using organic, food-safe inks.

From a design/marketing point of view, this approach made for striking BACARDI packaging.

It also expanded the space for branding imagery far beyond the usual limits. For example, in the case of paper labels, the space available for commercial printing is small: some variant of a rectangle or other geometric form on the front and maybe the back of the beverage bottle. The key word is “small.”

In the case of shrink sleeves (while larger than a label), there are still size limitations. Can it be printed and then wrapped around and over the neck of the bottle and also the bottle cap, extending the marketing imagery over the entire surface of the bottle? Will the shrink sleeve, even in its much larger than label-size format, still have too limited a texture? Will it have just an overall gloss or matte surface with no localized, textured effects?

Well, BACARDI’s Caribbean experience initiative addresses all of these concerns/limitations and then goes much further. According to “BACARDI Personalizes Bottles with Direct Digital Print,” the beverage maker was able to produce limited-edition personalized bottles with “a much improved look and feel to the packaging [that] is a more sustainable alternative” (as per Simone Kockelmann, Customer Marketing Manager, BACARDI Europe, as quoted in “BACARDI Personalizes Bottles with Direct Digital Print”). This enhanced effect includes a spot tactile treatment of both the BACARDI bat logo and some palm leaves and tropical flowers printed on the bottle. Using the Dekron direct digital printing equipment, O-I: EXPRESSIONS was also able to print an entire 360 degree, full-color image on each bottle.

The overall effect? An enhanced “Wow” factor.

But the benefits of the direct-to-object commercial printing didn’t stop here. The imaging technology was paired with the internet, Snapchat lenses, and Augmented Reality. As the article notes, these cutting-edge technologies were able to “transport the user to the homeland of BACARDI, the shores of the Caribbean” (“BACARDI Personalizes Bottles with Direct Digital Print”). According to Reynolds’ article, a Snapcode on the bottle unlocks the Snapchat lens, and Augmented Reality creates an immersive experience for the customer.

The Key Benefits of This Technology

So from a marketing point of view, here are some key benefits:

  1. This was a limited roll-out. So a relatively small—and precisely targeted—group of people experienced this promotion. Presumably a loyal group of BACARDI afficionados. In addition, the marketing initiative was prepared specifically for them, using marketing research to make the experience relevant to their needs and preferences.
  2. The marketing initiative extended the BACARDI brand across multiple media: print (the labeling) and digital (both the internet and Augmented Reality). It also involved multiple senses, reinforcing the brand message in the minds of participants.
  3. The experience was immersive—sort of like watching a movie and forgetting you’re just in a theater watching a film—but going even further due to the three-dimensional nature of Augmented Reality. Again, the more senses a marketer engages, the stronger the branding message. Just as the more media the marketer employs (such as signage, radio spots, product packaging), the more memorable the customer experience of the brand message will be.
  4. Sustainability. Increasingly, people are becoming aware of the need to change their behavior to maintain the livability of the planet. Labels leave a residue on bottles that can contaminate the recycling stream. Direct-to-object commercial printing leaves an empty, clean, and ready to recycle container (no labels, no residue). In addition, the inks are food-safe. Even the shrink sleeve noted above would introduce extra plastic sheeting into the environment. Direct-to-shape digital commercial printing will not. Moreover, from a manufacturing and storage point of view, not printing on either labels or shrink sleeves reduces materials’ costs as well as materials’ storage and inventory costs. No labels to buy and store. No shrink sleeves to buy and store. More profit.

The Takeaway

Digital commercial printing, in general, is ideal for marketing work. You can print short runs economically and efficiently. (Limited editions sell; it’s the “exclusivity effect.”) You can create a customized marketing initiative based on increasingly precise marketing research, and you can effect this “differentiation” quickly, making changes on the fly as needed. You can also personalize the experience to make the brand immediately relevant to the target audience (and even specific individuals you have identified as prospective clients).

This is even before you get to the mixed media effects BACARDI exploited in their marketing initiative.

Deep inside there is a child in every adult. That’s why people are so attracted to new, immersive experiences such as Augmented Reality, Snapchat lenses, and such. Your marketing work will be more effective (“relevant,” as they say) if you can tap into this quality of human nature. And using the new direct-to-object or direct-to-shape technology, you can even do this in a sustainable way, lessening your environmental footprint.

If you’re a printer (offset or especially digital), or if you’re a graphic designer, it behooves you to read up on this technology. (Research “direct-to-shape,” “direct-to-object,” “direct-digital.” There are multiple terms describing this technology.) Even if you’re not designing for packaging (shrink sleeves, labels), websites, Augmented Reality, or any or all of these—this is the future. It will serve you well to become conversant in this developing technology.

I think BACARDI has the right idea.

8 Ways Print Marketing Works for Creating Brand Buzzwords

Tuesday, July 21st, 2020

printed material

Recognition is essential for the long-term success of a brand. If you are not focusing on print marketing, then you might be missing a lot on your marketing efforts. Print marketing materials help to develop a sense of legitimacy and authenticity. They represent your business physically. People trust printed materials. They represent the benefits offered by your brand. These materials help people to create a trustworthy image in the minds of the target audience. By using eye-catching designs, colors, images and fonts, you can assure your target audience that your brand is here to stay. (more…)

Commercial Printing: K&B Rapida 106 X–Offset Printing Is Still Alive

Monday, July 20th, 2020


I’m always pleased when I see, in an increasingly digital world, that offset commercial printing is still relevant. Interestingly enough, this is because OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) are paying attention to their customers’ needs for speed, economy, and quality.

I read a Koenig & Bauer press release this week about the new Rapida 106 X. This is a “high-performance sheetfed offset pres for the medium format 740 x 1060 mm.” (K&B press release, “Koenig & Bauer Introduces the Rapida 106 X for Industrial Printing”). Translated into inches, this is a 29” x 41.73” press, large enough for efficient printing. (Longer multi-page press signatures mean fewer press runs, and larger press sheets allow for more large-format jobs, like flat pocket portfolios before their being folded and glued.)

But it’s not just the press-sheet size that makes the Rapida 106 X special. Here are the benefits that K&B notes in its press release.

Benefits of the K&B Rapida 106 X

“Shorter makeready times—faster into print” (K&B press release, “Koenig & Bauer Introduces the Rapida 106 X for Industrial Printing”). Offset lithography has to compete with digital commercial printing to earn its share of customers. One way to do this is to minimize one of the major drawbacks of offset lithography: the long makeready process. K&B has achieved this goal on the Rapida 106 X. This press can perform “simultaneous plate changes in less than a minute with unbent and process-free plates” (K&B press release, “Koenig & Bauer Introduces the Rapida 106 X for Industrial Printing”). This means that the Rapida can perform parallel, autonomous makeready processes, not only within a job but between jobs, doing the plate changes without operator intervention. All the pressman has to do is monitor the process via the digital interface. If he tried to make these plate changes by hand, it would actually take much longer.

What This Means

The K&B press release uses a 350-sheet job to illustrate the point. Normally, a job this short would go on a digital press (toner-based or inkjet). But what if you need the slightly higher quality of offset lithography? Or maybe you need precise PMS colors instead of 4CP process match colors. You could still do the job efficiently on the Rapida 106 X, even factoring in multiple plate changes (removing the old plates and loading the new ones automatically during the press run).

“Higher speed—even faster in production”
(K&B press release, “Koenig & Bauer Introduces the Rapida 106 X for Industrial Printing”). One of the main benefits of offset lithography is that it’s fast. Once you put the time in up front to set up the process, the 18,000 to 20,000 sheets-per-hour commercial printing speed will outpace even the fastest of the larger-format digital laser or inkjet presses. In this case, the Rapida 106 X will not only print up to 20,000 29” x 41.73” sheets per hour, but it will do this in perfecting mode (printing both sides of the press sheet simultaneously, which usually slows down overall throughput).

What This Means

When you’re perfecting a print job, you don’t have to bring the pile of finished press sheets (printed on one side) around to the front of the press (once the ink has had time to dry) and send all of the sheets back through the press to print the other side of all press sheets (called “backing up” the sheets).

In addition, the digital interface (such as K&B’s Job Optimizer) links all processes (prepress and press functions) based on “technological or press-related considerations” (K&B press release, “Koenig & Bauer Introduces the Rapida 106 X for Industrial Printing”). The press electronically chooses the best workflow (order of jobs based on press form size, sheet size and format, paper weight and surface coating, etc.). According to K&B, this can shorten make-ready times by an additional 30 to 50 percent. Moreover, by closely and instantly tracking all operations, managers can precisely measure the exact cost of all processes.

“Reliable processes—stable in production” (K&B press release, “Koenig & Bauer Introduces the Rapida 106 X for Industrial Printing”). Quality is everything. Speed by itself isn’t good enough. Using cameras (either one for straight-line printing or two for perfecting) on press, the K&B Rapida 106 X can accurately control color, instantaneously and continuously monitor the press sheets, and compare the press sheets with prepress PDF files (via QualiTronic PDFCheck or QualiTronic PDF HighRes). The Rapida 106 X uses QualiTronic ColorControl to read ink densities on every sheet (as opposed to every 10 sheets, or whatever other number had been chosen, as was the case when I was doing press inspections in the 1990s). The software can check the color bars on each sheet and make adjustments every ten sheets. When getting the press “up to color” (i.e., getting the color densities exactly right), the press scans and registers the good sheets and then compares all subsequent sheets to this target. It can scan the sheets at either 100dpi or 290dpi (using additional cameras), so any variance between the press-ready PDFs and the press output can be corrected immediately.

What This Means

When the flaws show up immediately, and the corrections are made automatically, the whole process goes much faster. The K&B Rapida 106 X comes up to color much faster than prior presses, and the number of waste sheets used in the process drops to between 25 and 50 sheets. (And on a completely different note, this process monitoring can be done remotely on a mobile device using the Rapida LiveApps ErgoTronicApp.)

“Less maintenance—more time in production” (K&B press release, “Koenig & Bauer Introduces the Rapida 106 X for Industrial Printing”). Since all performance data is logged in real time, the Rapida 106 X makes maintenance and repair much easier. More specifically, before a repair is scheduled, the log can be accessed remotely (along with photos, videos, and audio files), and many problems can be resolved from a distance.

What This Means

All of this means less downtime. When the press is running, the printer makes more money, and the clients get their jobs on time. Moreover, using artificial intelligence along with camera footage from the press, operators and maintenance engineers can analyze trends and identify faults in the operation in real time, while keeping the presses running.

Why It’s Good That We Still Have Offset Custom Printing

Ultimately, time equals money. If you’re producing a short-run, simple job, you’re going to choose digital commercial printing. This will involve either laser or inkjet technology. The quality level is now extremely high, particularly when compared to what it was when I was an art director in the 1990s.

That said, if you’re producing a long-run print job, then an offset press that can print up to 20,000 sheets per hour (with, perhaps, a 16-page press signature of a book being imaged on each press sheet) is a blessing. The job flies through the press. And the more you print, the less each copy costs. It can’t be beat.

You can also print on a much greater variety of press sheets with a greater variety of press finishes.

Or maybe you want to print a metallic ink. Or maybe you have specific corporate colors that you need to match with PMS inks. Offset lithogaphy is your best choice in both cases.

Finally, as good as digital printing has gotten, in my own humble opinion, the detail and color accuracy of offset lithography just can’t be beat.

So all of the artificial intelligence, camera-monitoring, trend analysis, and automated workflow and plate management additions K&B has introduced to the Rapida 106 X have leveled the playing field, allowing you to choose either offset or digital technology for even a short press run.

Business Card Printing: Paper Color and Texture Choices

Sunday, July 12th, 2020

I’ve been revising a client’s logo and corporate identity package over the last several weeks. Each time I send her PDF proofs of concepts and potential uses for her new logo, I take some time to walk away from the process and take a break, so I can come back with fresh eyes and new ideas.

To put this in context, let me describe the project. First of all, I created a logo using a screen printed image of my client’s face, with her head leaning on her hand and her hair vignetted to disappear around the edges of the logo image. My client wanted the logo to have a bit of a sophisticated, film noir feel. The rectangular screen print image rests above my client’s name (first, middle, last), which is set in a classic sans serif face, centered over the name of her company in a modern sans serif face. A thin rule line separates the two lines of type.

The most recent version of the prototype business card uses a vertical orientation with her logo above her contact information. On her initial letterhead proof, I positioned the logo at the bottom right of the page, with the screen printed image to the left of the logotype instead of above it.

As noted, the overall goal (that is, the tone my client wants to project for her business) is to capture an air of high-born glamour.

The Next Step

When I sent my client these two pieces of her corporate identity system, I also asked her to consider how she wanted to use color in her work. So while she gives thought to that question, I have started answering it for myself as well. These are my first few thoughts on the process.

First of all, I suggested that she consider an uncoated, cream paper stock.

Most of the time (in my experience), paper is bright white (often called solar white or blue-white). A blue-white press sheet does not draw attention to itself, but it does reflect light back to the viewer very well and faithfully (without changing the color of the inks or toners). This is usually desirable.

However, in some cases you do want to draw attention to the paper, and in my client’s case, since her image has an antique feel to it, I thought a cream stock (also known as a yellow-white or natural white) might be ideal. In fact, I thought it might give the vignetted image (with its feathered edges) the feel of a brown sepia tone print.

Another benefit of the uncoated cream stock, particularly when you consider the simplicity of the card, is that it would add color to the business card without adding color to the type or image. Presumably the screen print image of my client (the logomark) plus the logotype and my client’s contact information would be printed in black ink, and the only additional color would be the cream background.

Another option would be to print the logo and contact information in a dark brown to continue the sepia toned image approach. (That is, everything would have a brown tint.) My only concern would be whether this would require the use of excessive laser toner for the brown color build (a problem that could be avoided with offset printing by creating a PMS color rather than a 4-color build).

Finally, I suggested that my client consider any textures and/or perhaps speckles in the paper she chose. Particularly for a business card, thinking in terms of tactile impressions is wise, since the hand receives the card (and absorbs its feel and surface texture) long before the eyes are aware of its text and images.

In my client’s case, a textured, uncoated stock would resonate with the older, glamorous image of the business, predating the Internet and other digital communication. The cream color of the paper, plus its rough texture, would make reading the card a more personal experience than reviewing the information on a gloss-coated, bright-white paper. And any speckles in a cream business card stock would draw further attention to the card’s being a physical product.

Thoughts and Potential Concerns

Let’s say you were trying to achieve a similar effect in your own commercial printing design work. Here are some things to keep in mind to ensure your success:

    1. Uncoated paper absorbs ink. It’s important to make sure you provide an image (text, logo, etc.) that has defined highlights and shadows. In my own case, I changed the tone curve of my client’s vignetted portrait image in Photoshop. I opened up the shadows slightly, and I also made sure there would be bright whites in the image. I knew that any potential overinking would make the image look muddy and flat. And the uncoated press sheet would be less forgiving than a bright-white coated sheet.


    1. In my own case, I liked the simplicity of the design. Not adding a separate color (like a red or brown color build) to highlight my client’s name or logo image would make all art and text hang together (i.e., all black ink or toner), creating a sense of unity. In your own work, make sure your design and paper choices reflect the marketing goal of the business card (i.e., what you’re saying about the company’s image and values). Make sure the client’s brand, the visual design treatment of the card, the color and texture of the paper, and the reproduction technology you have chosen (digital or offset) support one another.


    1. Keep in mind that offset printing more often than not provides a superior product (compared to digital toner printing). Show your business card art to your commercial printing sales rep and ask for her/his advice. If she/he thinks the images will plug up using digital laser printing, ask about offset lithography (which will usually cost more). When in doubt, request samples. Custom printing issues of this sort are usually more evident in halftones than in line art or type.


    1. If possible, get samples of the paper you have chosen, and print out your mock-ups directly on the printing stock. Although you can simulate color printing on a computer screen, I have really found no better way to simulate the look of custom printing on a colored paper (even just a cream stock) than printing on the paper itself. If your artwork will be printed in black, you can make a prototype easily on a laser printer. If you want to add color as well (let’s say you have some type in red and you want to print on an uncoated cream stock), you’ll have to use an inkjet printer.


  1. Remember that the paper substrate changes the perceived ink color. If you’re printing black ink on cream stock, that usually will not present a problem. But if you’re printing any other color (let’s say skin tones on a cream stock), this could make for unappealing color shifts. This is another good reason to produce digital color proofs on the actual custom printing stock.

Tips on how to design an appealing business card

Friday, July 10th, 2020

Many businesses and companies struggle to come up with features that they should include in their business cards. Do you also find yourself struggling about what to add on your business card? Don’t worry, we have made a list of important tips that you can use to make your business card more appealing and eye-catching.

Here is the list of things you need to consider before you hire online printing companies for your business cards:

  1. Your Name

This allows your client in knowing exactly who to contact. This allows your client to know you in person. Along with the name, you should also add your designation as well. You should add your credentials in such a way that it removes any kind of confusion as they read the content displayed on your business card. Also, make sure that the font is neither too small or big to read.

  1. Business Card Title

It is important to develop an attractive title that is easy to remember for your clients. It should evoke the feeling of subscribing to the products and services you provide. The title of your business cards should make your clients feel that you are the best alternative they have.

  1. Business Logo

It is best to place your logo top center of a business card as it will then catch any eye instantly. People usually look at the logo first then they read the name of the business. Your clients will remember you by looking at your logo. It is best to keep it in the center of the business card so that it catches the eye instantly.

Don’t make the mistake of printing the logo on the back of your business card. Most people don’t even look at the backside of a business card. Try to put little to no information on the backside of the card.

  1. Contact Details

Contact details and address allows your client to contact you when they need your services. It is important to include the following details

  • Physical address
    • Email address
    • Phone number (both office and mobile)
    • Website address.
  • You can also add your LinkedIn (Correct Name to correct) or any other media links as alternate communication avenues.

You can also add your linked name, which makes it easy for your clients to connect with you on social media.

  1. Products and Services

The aim of a business card is to inform your clients about your product and services. You can either use small images or graphics, which makes it easier for your clients to understand what you do.

  1. Color and Templates

Color choices are also important when it comes to any business card. The color choices should complement logo colors and business themes. Understand how important it is in choosing colors that are easily read. In creating a dark screen in using dark colored ink words will be quite difficult in reading. Thes same words reversed in white, will read much better.

A business card is an essential tool and you should only use relevant information. So, next time when you decide to make new business cards, remember the above-mentioned points.

Tip to Use Postcards Like a Marketing Pro

Friday, July 10th, 2020

Being able to see and feel benefits from your postcard marketing campaign requires planning. Vetting your graphic designer in creating the perfect message is critical.

Providing accurate and error free graphic files is very important regarding any pre-press department within postcard printing companies when opening up your postcard files.

Thus, here are some great tips in becoming a Postcard Pro.

Impress with The Front Picture

Here is why you should carefully choose the postcard printing companies. The first impression is very important. When the recipient pulls out that card, the picture should be appealing and entice them to open the card. Picture quality is important. The right printer will be vital in making that first impression.

Choose a Catchy Headline

Writing headlines are plenty harder than you may think. A headline needs to grab attention.This headline should drive home your primary message with clarity and accuracy even if the reader does not go beyond your creative headline.

This means you should do the following.

  • Make if concise
  • Offer a solution to their problem
  • Include a benefit Make it Easy to Read

Make It Easier to Read

When one digests your message, they need ease in performing or an easy read. Postcards messages need to be short and sweet. Every new idea should be placed using precise wording in sequential order as the reader then can quickly review. Within any postcard, your messages should complement it’s headline.

Always Have a Call to Action

Without a Call To Action, your not marketing properly. The purpose of your postcard should be targeting the recipient in taking a particular action. Your message clarity is important for the reader in taking action. The Call To Action should also restate whatever offer is being provided.

Highlight Benefits

People will take action if they know what’s in it for them. This is why you need to highlight benefits. The headline may have enticed them to open the card, but now you need to channel that interest towards the call to action.

Concisely listing benefits will ensure that the recipient clearly understands what they will gain from taking action.

Make an Offer

When one absorbs offered benefits, they may still need more convincing with your Call To Action. Presenting simple and clear offers will help them in deciding to move on your Call To Action. In offering a discount or a FREE coupon service gift, by stating an expiring date will help your Call To Action. By customize your marketing postcard design directly to the recipient personality ( name, gender, age ) traits will help one directly relating to a post cat Call To Action. This type of postcard marketing strategy is called ” Personalized Marketing. ”

Present them with an offer that makes it seem like it is much easier to get those benefits by taking action. Usually a discount, free coupon, or a sample will be enticing. Offers, however, need to have a time frame attached to them so that people will act with a degree of urgency. Adding something like “offer valid while stock lasts” may do the trick, or you could try something more original.

Customize your postcard to suit your audience. Everything in there should be attractive to the kind of person you are sending it to and add a personal touch by referring to them by name.

This is how to get magazines printed affordably

Friday, July 10th, 2020

One way in sharing different stories from different parts of the world is publishing a printed magazine. When a magazine graphic designer chooses interesting high-resolution pictures related to articles, the article will then stand out better in accenting copy content. What makes any manage attractive is choosing an appropriate paper substrate in promoting provided subject matter. Other important points in choosing a magazine printing company is meeting your schedule and, in a cost, effective manner.

Get the best prices from around the world

Today, you can contact magazine printing companies via internet. There is no need today in physically making appointments nor visiting

magazine printing companies around the world. In selecting a magazine printer, the three items they need in delivering are – Price; Quality; and Service. For FREE, offers this type of service to Print Buyers in seeking quality magazine printing companies.

Top quality paper

The top magazine printing companies house the best quality paper substrates in providing you high end magazine printing. If needed, magazine printing companies will counsel anyone in suggesting a proper paper substrate in receiving your best results related to your magazine subject matter and required quality levels

For this, you can choose from the following types of paper:

1) Gloss Coated Substrates – provides appealing reflective eye effects especially 4-Color pictures

2) Matte Coated Substrates – provides a Flat White effect on a coated stock

3) Silk- These papers have characteristics of both matte and gloss papers. They are smooth like matte and intense like gloss. In comparison to gloss, their ink does not appear dry.
4) Supercalendered Uncoated Substrates. An uncoated thin stock ( 39/60 grams thick ) that is buffed to extreme resulting a look of a coated sheet. Used usually in Sunday published newspapers as tabloid multi page inserts as ‘ Special Sale ‘ marketing. E.g. Home Depot or grocery store special sale

5) Wood Free Coated Substrates – Premium quality magazine papers can be printed in bulk using them. These papers are well recognized due to their durability to tears, resistance and longevity.
Common demands of print buyers
If you are a print buyer, you are likely to ask your printing company to meet one or more of the following requirements:
• Must be accountable- Since a printing company is taking responsibility in delivering to you as required within your provided graphic art files, they are responsible in correcting any printing errors. Sooner or later and of you print plenty, you will experience a printing company error. A true magazine printing company test is just how fast and how accurate a printing company

resolves any issue.

  • Always tell the truth- Printing companies should not think that lying to the print buyer will help you get away with delays or poor quality. As customers, print buyers are entitled to be told the truth at all times.
    • Should be kept in the loop- Print buyers must be kept in the loop and told about updates in status of work, if any
    • Alternatives should be offered- Companies must offer alternative solutions, even if not requested by customers

Custom Printing: Some Functional Elements of Packaging

Sunday, July 5th, 2020

Readability. Utility. Precision. Some commercial printing work is not meant to persuade or educate, but rather to convey information clearly. It’s called functional printing. The printed keys on your keyboard fit into this category. So does the package of eyedrops my fiancee just received from her eye surgeon. She will undergo cataract surgery in a few weeks, and the pre-operative information she just received has to be unquestionably clear.

The Custom Eyedrop Kit Packaging

Here’s a description of the packaging for my fiancee’s eyedrops with a focus on utility:

  1. The interior packaging is a cross between “clamshell” packaging and “blister” packaging. Two parts of a fold-over case are joined with a scored, central hinge, just like a muscle in an ocean clam. This allows the user to lift the top cover of the clear plastic box and then lower it again to close the box. The bottom half has four thermoformed wells (presumably created by placing the sheet of clear plastic over a super-heated mold). In this way, the bottom half is more like blister packaging (with bubbles or wells or chambers). The top portion locks down tightly over a ridge on the bottom half, ensuring the safety of the plastic bottles of eyedrops my fiancee will need prior to her cataract surgery.
  2. A Crack ‘N Peel label printed in black, green, and red has been hand-marked in pen with the dates of the eye surgery and the required numbers of eye drops for each date. The most important information is printed in red, but due to the simplicity of the sans serif typeface, plus the limited number of colors and the contrast between the handwriting and the printed type, it is very easy to instantly grasp all pertinent information. (The increased type leading and the type size also facilitate readability.) The bottom line: there’s just enough information, and the design and coloration of the type enhance readability by anyone of any age.
  3. The screw-on tops of the eyedrop bottles are color coded. Two (coded in green) are larger than the third, which has a red top. Each bottle label has clear, sans-serif type, and the most important type has been reversed to white out of a solid green printed bar. All of the custom printing is on Crack ‘N Peel labeling affixed to the bottles. Clearly the goal was to use the proper type (sans serif) at the most readable size for the elderly, who have compromised sight, to avoid a dangerous misunderstanding of the instructions for the use of these drugs.
  4. In all cases, there is contact information for reaching the pharmacy. This is not only useful for my fiancee, but it also reinforces her confidence in the whole eye surgery procedure. Hence it supports the branding of the pharmacy.
  5. Much of the information on the labels is very specific, such as expiration dates for the medications. Hence, we can assume that digital commercial printing technology was used rather than offset printing technology.
  6. On the top of the closed plastic packaging shell are laser printed (I checked with my 12-power loupe) Crack ‘N Peel labels printed in black toner noting everything from the pharmacy contact information to my fiancee’s contact information to the kind of medication, lot number, and expiration dates for the medications. In addition, there are three strips of color (magenta, yellow, and cyan, with black surprinted type noting when the medications expire, how to store them, and that they were made according to the doctor’s prescription). So your eye is attracted immediately to the colored, printed strips (and the information contained therein), and then to the information on the other two labels. All necessary information is contained (in its entirety) on the front panel, and is repeated in bits and pieces inside the packaging.
  7. Therefore, the interior packaging protects the medications and tells my fiancee how to use them. None of this is unattractive. It’s just that functionality is paramount. (And the package design is based on the marketer’s knowledge of how people best consume and process written information.)
  8. Now for the exterior wrap. This portion of the package focuses on two things: the user’s confidence in the reliability of the product and the pharmacy’s branding. And of course these are intimately connected.
  9. The wrap feels like 14pt or thicker cover stock, printed and then scored to wrap all the way around the interior plastic insert. (That is, it’s a sleeve with open ends.) The wrap front panel includes a large eye printed in 4-colors but desaturated overall to look like a black halftone or quadtone. However, the iris of this eye retains its intensity of blue coloration, making it look like a black and white eye with a hand-colored blue iris. Above this is a solid green bar out of which the name of the drops (plus a brief description thereof) has been reversed.
  10. On the back of the cardboard sleeve is the name, logo, address, website, fax, and email for the pharmacy. The logo and name are very large and prominent. In an emergency, or even if you have a question, you’ll know just how to contact someone who knows what to do.
  11. To the entire outer package sleeve, the commercial printing supplier has applied a flood UV coating in high gloss. The whole thing feels very competent, clinical, locked down and ready for the surgery. Even without the printed content, the paper weight and the coating would convey an air of gravitas and competence. Hence, the packaging elicits confidence and therefore supports the pharmacy brand.

What You Can Learn from This Case Study

  1. Ensuring readability depends on understanding how people process information. This involves understanding which fonts and colors are the most readable and what people of various ages can read, depending on the health and flexibility of their eyes.
  2. It also depends on understanding how to gather and group information so that it will be read (i.e., in small, understandable chunks). This is especially true for scientific information, especially when making a mistake can threaten one’s health.
  3. Functional printing opens the field of commercial printing way beyond promotional products, labels, print books, and large format signage. There’s informational, functional printing on almost everything. That means, as a graphic designer, you can always be relevant.
  4. That said, all functional custom printing still either enhances or tarnishes the company brand. If your functional type is unreadable, that’s a problem. Think about cheap computer keyboards with printed letters that are flaking or rubbing off. Personally, that makes me feel less comfortable about both the durability of the keyboard and perhaps even its accuracy (I’ve noticed that some cheap keyboards skip letters when you’re typing quickly).
  5. So the bottom line is that functional printing embraces everything from graphic design to branding and marketing, to ways to facilitate communication, to the operation of the human eye. The more you understand all of these, the more skilled and useful you will be as a designer.

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