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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 May, 2021

How Newsletter Printing Helps Companies

Saturday, May 8th, 2021

Newsletters are responsible for employees being able to connect with the management of an organization. While this is on the internal front, there are other newsletters that help companies connect with their customers, as well as boost sales by establishing trust and credibility in the market. Therefore, newsletter printing is considered very important for the marketing success of any company.

Printing companies can be contacted online these days. Although the printing solution is physical, business and print companies can touch base online. The order for newsletter printing can be placed in bulk, which would entitle the client to a bulk discount. However, the commonly used way to get prints is a little different from what it sounds like.

Obtaining Newsletter Prints

Printing companies have their own specializations, and it makes great sense to contact one that specializes in printing newsletters. For this purpose, print coordinator companies can be found on the Internet. They are the ones acting as the mediators between the clients and the printing companies. They ensure that clients do not have to spend much time searching for print companies. Clients are able to find the best printing companies as per their newsletter requirements by contacting the coordinators. Some of the print companies may be able to design newsletters as well.

Top Benefits of Customer Newsletters

Existing customer relationships are always easier to strengthen than to make new relationships. Current customers already bestow a certain degree of trust, and a newsletter further helps to boost this relationship. The benefits of newsletters for customers are as follows:

  1. No Selling Necessary- The aim of the newsletter is to only update its customers about recent happenings in a client company and the related industry. It reinforces the client company’s credibility and allows its developments to remain fresh in customer minds. Promotion does take place, but in a very subtle manner. In comparison, a brochure is meant for flashy promotions. Interesting content is the basis for attracting customers.
  2. Easy to Design– A newsletter is always viewed more than a publication, and is thereby seen with fewer design elements. Concise pieces of information are conveyed here, and so the content is very easy to put down. For instance, it is possible to put down short profiles of employees, executives, projects, customers, and also industry developments.
  3. Print is Permanent- Though newsletters are commonly send by emails these days, there are many companies which believe the printed word more, and look for printed copies. A printed copy is also easily visible, and it’s easy to understand, unlike a cluttered screen. Being in printed form, it is also not discarded easily.
  4. Short- There is no need for a newsletter to be lengthy; instead, it can just be distributed at regular intervals

Finding the Right Type of Paper

Different types of paper are available for various types of printed matter. Coated paper would be ideal for newsletters, as it is slightly heavy as well. In comparison, gloss paper would be best suited for luxurious lifestyle products in beauty or fashion. Uncoated paper is ideal for educational matter.

Book Printing: An Awesome Faux-Antique Spell Book

Monday, May 3rd, 2021

Purchased from …

During Covid-19 my fiancee and I have spent a profoundly inordinate amount of time in our favorite thrift store keeping our spirits up when we’re not working. During this time she has brought to my attention, or actually bought, a number of unique books. And as is often the case when I see books with qualities that set them apart from digital-only products on the internet, I’d like to share one of these with you.

Mal’s Spell Book

This is a Disney product, presented in a similar vein to the J.K. Rowlings Henry Potter print book franchise. It is a magical spell book (Mal’s Spell Book, adapted by Tina McLeef, from the Disney film).

In its own right, beyond the arcane glyphs, hands with eyes in their palms, and references to bat’s wings, there is a running commentary in another hand (perhaps several) about the contents of the print book. From the tone, it appears that the daughter of a witch has acquired her mother’s spell book, and is commenting on its contents. So it’s like a witches spell book overlaid with a teenager’s diary.

Regarding the design of this 7” x 9” casebound book, there are several qualities I’d like to highlight.

The text paper is thick, uncoated stock. It has a yellowish or cream hue, which goes along with the antiquated spell book tone of the base art. The graphic designer has made the interior paper seem even older by scanning the smudges and paper discolorations from another old book and including this mottled image as additional art on each page.

So the text pages look like they were stained, or have yellowed over the years. This mottling has been printed in a brown ink to give a sepia-toned look to the interior pages, and all of the witchy art, cartouches, and handwritten text are also printed in this brown ink. Moreover, the endsheets and flyleaves of this casebound book are a rich purple (an intense and saturated hue with the look of velvet), and the outer cover material is a rich brown stock with a luxury soft-touch matte film laminate coating. (I know because I always encourage my commercial printing clients to use this if they’re so inclined, because its tacky surface sort of grabs and holds onto your fingers.)

Also on the front cover are a gold, foil-stamped dragon and a photo (ostensibly of the witch’s daughter and her friends) coated with a crisp gloss UV coating. This stands out nicely against the matte laminate that coats everything else on the cover.

The title of the book is printed (and handwritten) in fuchsia ink (perhaps 100 percent magenta) for contrast with Mal’s mother’s (Maleficent’s) more subdued and earthy, witchy tones. There’s also some blue, orange, and white handwriting, presumably from the other three teenagers in the cover snapshot (a small 4-color image taped to the faux leather cover with printed white tape). (BTW, this is called “trompe l’oeil,” which means “deceive the eye” and which is a fine arts approach to making flat art—like an image on a book cover—look like it is a real photograph actually taped to the print book.)

Now, as I noted before, when you open the book, you see bold handwriting, like graffiti. This is scrawled in the margins and all around the ornate text of the spells that pertain to lunar cycles, various herbs, and such. This spell-focused material is printed in ornate, yet controlled, handwriting. (Apparently you have to hand write your own spellbook to make it truly yours.)

But what makes the print book hang together graphically is the contrast between the style of the bold and colorful commentary by the four kids and Mal’s mother’s witchy text. This starts on the cover of the book, and it consistently carries throughout the text. Visually, you can immediately identify who has written each block of handwritten copy. If you need information on spells, you read the sepia-toned text. If you want to see when to boil a newt (presumably), you read the sepia-toned text. If you want to see what the witch’s (Maleficent’s) daughter and her friends think, you look for the handwritten copy in fuchsia or blue ink. That’s good design. Consistent design. You’re never confused.

What You Can Learn from Mal’s Spell Book

  1. Good design starts on the cover and carries throughout the text. Among other methods, this can be achieved with consistent use of typefaces and consistent use of color (not just to look good, but to identify similar design elements and editorial elements).
  2. Consider the text paper weight. The text of the spell book could have been printed on a coated or even a thin, uncoated stock. But it wasn’t, because the paper wouldn’t have reinforced the feel of the book as a witch’s spellbook. (Particularly not the coated stock. After all, you can’t hand write spells on coated stock without the ink’s smearing.)
  3. Consider the text paper color. The cream stock works nicely with the dark brown ink. Moreover, this brown color scheme is echoed in the brown faux leather cover. Form follows function. The text paper and cover paper colors reinforce the tone and message of the book. They make it look old and mysterious.
  4. Consider the cover coating. A soft-touch matte film laminate feels good, but it also grabs the fingers with its rubbery texture. Other coatings do other things. Make sure your choices reinforce the message of the print book.
  5. Use foil stamping wisely. Disney Press has money. That’s good, because foil stamping requires metal dies. But even for regular people with regular budgets, the foil stamping would have been a good design decision because the (faux) metal attachments in the corners of the print book cover, and the gold dragon in the center of the cover, reinforce the message. This looks like an old book. Again, form follows function.
  6. Contrast is a useful design tool. On the brown cover, the gold foil and especially the fuchsia handwriting in bold capital letters stand out, which is both good and effective because they’re important (plus, the contrast between the fuchsia handwriting and the brown and gold background reflects the different generations: the older witch and the younger preppie). The contrast reinforces this difference. The same goes for the ultra-high-gloss UV coating on the prep-school photo of the four teenagers.
  7. Contrast can be achieved in simple ways. In the spellbook, the teenagers’ handwriting is often written on a slant, like you might hand-write a note in a yearbook. In contrast, the spellbook contents are laid out (still by hand) in a more restrained manner. This creates a more solemn tone for the spells and reinforces the brash tone of the teenagers’ notes.
  8. Details count. The book has headbands and footbands. These are the little pieces of fabric that are glued in such a way as to cover the folds in the press signatures closest to the spine of the book. The gold headbands and footbands (even at this small size) add to the gravitas of the book.
  9. If you need antique images, you might check out Dover books. I’ve seen many Dover books with images, cartouches, and drawings that are royalty free. That means you can reprint them without paying anything and without being sued. Usually that is because they are very old images, so they won’t be useful for every publication. But it’s worth a look. Presumably, this royalty-free art can also be accessed online.

(A disclaimer: I have not seen the movie. I have just perused the print book. So I will apologize in advance for any misstatements I have made out of ignorance. And also because I want to avoid being turned into a toad. Or a newt.)


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