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

Custom Printing: Novel Digital Foiling Options

June 23rd, 2020

Posted in Foiling | Comments Off on Custom Printing: Novel Digital Foiling Options

When it rains, it pours. And when this truism pertains to commercial printing, I’m intrigued. More digital embellishment options mean OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) are focusing on post-press finishing equipment. And this portends an expansion of digital commercial printing in general.

It’s like the transition from the early plastic, copier-like digital presses to the huge, digital laser and inkjet presses built on heavy-metal frames by OEMs that used to only manufacture offset presses.

So I was pleased to read an article about “Sleeking.”

Sleeking is a digital finishing process, or more specifically a digital embellishment process, that uses pressure and heat to bond foil (from a roll) onto heavy-coverage digitally-printed ink laid down by an HP Indigo press. (An HP Indigo is a digital laser custom printing press that uses toner particles suspended in liquid ink.) Sleeking allows you to lay down the foil digitally, then run the substrate back through the Indigo a second time to print either adjacent to the foil or even on the foil.

Here’s Some Context

It used to be the case that a metallic finish had to be applied using a metal die. The process was called hot foil stamping. You would pay maybe $300 to $500 for a die that would yield one static image (the same on all copies). This would add to the manufacturing time as well as the cost and would require subcontracting this portion of the job to a specialist. Then your printer would use the metal die along with heat and pressure to punch out the foil from a roll and adhere it to the substrate. (For instance, you might do this to foil stamp a book title on a hardcover print book cover.)

Or, you could do cold-foil stamping (a more modern process that does not require metal dies). Cold foil stamping involves first printing a UV-curable (hardened by ultraviolet light) adhesive on the substrate using a printing plate. This UV light makes the adhesive tacky. Then, a roll of metallic film is applied to the tacky adhesive. Foil adheres to the sticky image areas, and the scrap form the non-image areas will stay on the liner sheet (the roll). The benefit, for the most part, compared to hot foil stamping, is that a metallic effect is achievable without a metal stamping die. The process also allows for detail, such as screen gradations, small type (down to about 5 pt. type), and thin rules. You can also laminate or otherwise coat cold-foil stamped material. (If you’re interested in the process, you may want to research the Scodix process or Vivid3D, which seem to be very similar to cold foiling.)

The New Process

With “Sleeking,” you first lay down a heavy coating of liquid HP Indigo ink (I mean really heavy: 400 percent, or four clicks on a digital press) on the substrate. (To put this in context, your offset printer might request no more than 280 percent “total area coverage” among the four process inks—cyan, magenta, yellow, and black—for an offset printed job.)

This is the base that will accept the foil (which comes on a roll). In fact, some (powdered) toners can even be used in place of HP digital ink. (Since this is a new process, experts are still testing toners, hot roller pressure, substrates—coated and uncoated—and the actual amount of liquid toner coverage needed prior to adding the foil.)

The foil can be laid down as a spot application or a flood application (the whole sheet). This process is even good for variable data. (For instance, you could lay down 400 percent Indigo digital ink for an invitation, changing the name of the addressee on each printed sheet prior to the Sleeking process.)

Once you have applied the base 400 percent pass of Indigo ink (from a separate layer in your InDesign file), and have allowed the job to dry (some printers like to take six to eight hours for this part of the job to ensure total drying), you can feed the press sheets into the Sleeker and apply the foil from a roll.

Heat and pressure adhere the foil to the (dry) 400 percent coverage of Indigo ink, but the non-image areas do not remove the foil from the donor sheet. (A GMP Foil Laminator performs this step.) This is actually an economical process, since you can rewind the foil roll and use it again (as long as you’re using other parts of the sheet from which no metallic film has been taken for the Sleeking process).

To me this sounds a bit like the cold foiling process.

Sleeking will allow you to apply spot foil or flood the whole sheet. It can be a simple, clear gloss or matte finish or a metallic gold or silver, or it can even be a holographic image of type, a graphic pattern, or variable data.

The third step is like the first. After printing the base 400 percent toner and then Sleeking the job on the GMP Foil Laminator, you can bring the press sheet back to the Indigo digital press for another pass. You can print the rest of the job next to the foil (think “trapping,” in which the foil and remaining ink do not touch), or you can even print the HP Indigo Ink over the foil. This approach yields colorful metallic results that far exceed the original gold and silver foil of the Sleeking process.

Some Considerations

Paper choice is very important for this process, and experts are already busy testing press sheets. Coated paper seems to work better than uncoated (to ensure adequate adhering of the foil to the dry HP Indigo ink). Papers must have been approved for use on an HP Indigo press, whether they are coated or uncoated, to ensure success.

Variables to consider include how much total ink coverage to print prior to Sleeking, and how much heat and pressure to apply. Some printers experimenting with the process use more than one hit of ink (called a click on a digital press) in a particular location. Uncoated paper seems to complicate the process, sometimes causing speckling, but some printers like the fact that the uncoated paper has texture, and they don’t mind the “grittiness.” (I found a good article on the subject that you might want to read, called “So What Is Sleeking?” by Jeff Truan, published on 5/3/18, on

If you think this is a multi-run process, you’re right, and this can be a consideration when choosing paper. After all, you’re printing four hits of HP Indigo ink on a press sheet, then adding foil in a Sleeker, then going back to the HP Indigo and printing the whole sheet again. That can be hard on a press sheet. Therefore, it may be wise to use cover stock rather than text stock for the job (perhaps use Sleeking on a poster, business card, book cover, or a self-mailing marketing piece). The process as noted in Jeff Truan’s article can accept up to 18 point board, which should hold up well.

Trapping can also be an issue, according to “So What Is Sleeking?” by Jeff Truan. More specifically, printers who create foiled areas surrounded by white can sometimes see a black halo around the foil, where the preprinting extends slightly beyond the foiling. In these cases, commercial printing vendors experimenting with the process have replaced the 400 percent black underprinting with 400 percent yellow Indigo ink, which seems to solve the problem.

Akin to trapping, register can also be problematic. Aligning foils and inks perfectly when you’re printing a press sheet once on an HP Indigo digital press, then adding foil on a GMP Foil Laminator, and then printing again on the HP Indigo leaves room for error in precise fit (alignment, register). Therefore, it’s wise to keep this in mind and design wisely for the process.

The Takeaway

What can you, as a designer, print buyer, or printer learn from this process (which is actually more than a couple of years old by now)?

  1. Anything that catches the eye will be more likely to capture the imagination of the viewer or reader. This is particularly true when you think of all the images we see every day, including all the marketing mail in the mailbox, all the product packaging, and all the signage.
  2. Foil stamping used to involve making a metal die, which increased the overall cost of the job as well as the production time needed. If your job press run is less than 1,000 to 2,000 copies, this new foiling process might be right for you. However, for longer runs, making the die the traditional way may still yield a lower cost per unit.
  3. Between hot-foil stamping, cold foil stamping (and similar technologies such as Scodix, Vivid3D, and Sleeking), it’s clear that manufacturers are addressing the need for digital finishing options to pair with digital custom printing options (particularly to avoid bottlenecks). All of these developments in digital finishing show that digital printing is being taken very seriously.
  4. Sleeking, or Scodix, or Vivid3D, which might be right for your job, has the distinct benefit of allowing you to vary the foil image for each individual product you print.

And this kind of personalization can go a long way in speaking directly to your customers.

Posted in Foiling | Comments Off on Custom Printing: Novel Digital Foiling Options

4 Things To Remember When Hiring A Printing Service Provider

June 19th, 2020

Posted in Printing | 1 Comment »

Are you in search of a printing services provider for printing your magazine? To ensure that you get a satisfactory quality of service, you will need to choose one of the best magazine printing companies. First and foremost, identify the service that you need. Figure out the exact type of service you require before hiring a company. All printing companies do not require the same companies.

Check the quality of material that the company is using. Ask them to provide you with some samples. Search for a company that offers a satisfactory quality of customer service. The firm you hire should address your concerns related to the project and ensure that it is completed according to your specifications. Keep the cost factor in mind. Ensure that the organization you hire offers a high value of service that justifies their service charge.

Posted in Printing | 1 Comment »

4 Advantages of Hiring A Professional Printing Service Provider

June 18th, 2020

Posted in Printing | Comments Off on 4 Advantages of Hiring A Professional Printing Service Provider

Do you need professional assistance to publish a book? If you do, then you should look for a company that offers thebest online print solution. Online printing service providers offer high-quality printing. Therefore, you can rely on them to ensure that the end product you receive lives up top your expectations. These companies will provide you with options to enhance your project, based on aesthetics. Their layout artists will make your book look more appealing.

The quality of printing material will reflect the image and level of professionalism of your company. So, it is essential to have premium printed materials which you can take pride in. By hiring the services of a reliable company, you can get a large volume of books printed and save a lot of your valuable time.

Posted in Printing | Comments Off on 4 Advantages of Hiring A Professional Printing Service Provider

Commercial Printing: Ways to Save on Paper Costs

June 15th, 2020

Posted in Paper and finishing | Comments Off on Commercial Printing: Ways to Save on Paper Costs

So, you’ve completed the design of your brochure, print book, poster, or whatever other offset or digital print project you’re working on, and it’s time to choose paper to print it on. What’s to choose? It’s just paper, right?

Not so.

If you’re a graphic designer, you’re probably well aware of the nuances of paper specification, everything from the texture to the opacity to the whiteness vs. brightness of the paper. Is it coated? Or should it be uncoated, and what does this imply about the brand values of your company? Many designers even have preferred brands of paper and specify these directly to their paper merchants, asking the paper merchants to coordinate paper purchases with the mills and the offset or digital commercial printing suppliers.

Some of this attention to detail and paper selection can add up financially, particularly if paper costs are a large portion of the overall commercial printing budget. (For example, selecting an expensive paper for a perfect-bound print book with a page count of 512 pages and a press run of 60,000 copies can really drive up the overall manufacturing cost of the book.)

What can you do to save money?

Select Paper Based on Its Specifications Rather Than Its Name Brand

Printers and paper merchants (who negotiate directly with the paper mills and have a vast knowledge of paper) can often get good deals on commercial printing stock. In addition, most printers have “house sheets” within various categories of paper. That is, they may have an uncoated stock like Cougar or Lynx that they buy in bulk and use for the majority of their perfect-bound print books. The printer’s house sheet might be just fine for your needs, but if you insist on another brand, like Finch Fine stock, you may wind up paying hundreds or thousands of dollars more.

The way around this is to learn the meaning of the paper characteristics and then ask the printer or paper merchant for a particular paper based not on the brand but on the specifications. A few paper specs to research online are:

  1. Whiteness (for example, blue white or solar white vs. warm white or cream). Whiteness pertains to the paper’s ability to reflect all colors of light (i.e., a pure white), as opposed to the amount of light it reflects.
  2. Brightness (specified in terms such as “premium,” #1, #2, etc.). This specification notes the amount of light (rather than the color of light, or its whiteness) the paper reflects. A premium sheet is brighter than a #1 sheet. But it’s not always necessary to print on a bright paper stock. For instance, for a trade magazine or a catalog, you might even choose a much lower grade (perhaps a #4 sheet or a #5 groundwood sheet). It wouldn’t be as bright, and you wouldn’t specify a #4 sheet for an annual report, but for a mechanic’s parts catalog, for instance, it might be ideal—and competitively priced, particularly when you’re printing a lot of catalogs.
  3. Coated vs. uncoated. A premium uncoated sheet might well cost more than a lower quality coated sheet (counter-intuitively), but usually coated paper costs more than uncoated paper. Discuss this with your printer or paper merchant. Decide what you really need and what is appropriate for your printed product. (Perhaps an uncoated sheet would send more of an Earth-friendly message about your company.)
  4. Surface texture. A matte sheet might be smooth enough for your needs. You may not need a dull sheet. On the other hand (if you’re specifying an uncoated paper), you might in fact want to pay a premium for a textured, uncoated sheet if you’re sending out an invitation to a fancy office gathering.
  5. Paper weight (related to paper thickness or caliper). Research customary weights for various projects. For instance, a corporate promotional booklet might go well on a 100# cover and 100# text combination (for the cover and book interior). In contrast, you might specify 50# or 60# text stock for the interior of a perfect-bound book, and if you don’t need to print on the inside front and back covers, you might choose a 10pt. C1S (coated one side) stock for the cover.
  6. Opacity. This is the light blocking power of a press sheet. Choosing a 60# opaque sheet for a perfect-bound book with a lot of photos will make it less likely that you will see the photo on the back of the page when you’re reading the front of the page. A regular 60# offset sheet wouldn’t be quite as opaque. Opacity is the quality of paper that minimizes what is known as “show through.”

So here’s what you can do with this information. Start with printed samples you like on specific papers you like. Then discuss the variables noted above with your printer and paper merchant (if you have a relationship with a paper merchant). Ask the printer for his suggestions based on what he has on the pressroom floor, what house sheets he buys, and what brands might be economical.

Or, if you’re in a pinch, choose paper from a paper merchant’s swatch books and then note on the specification sheet you compose for your printer that you would be interested in “suggested paper substitutions.” Another way to phrase this on the printing specification sheet is to say “such and such a paper, or comparable.”

Design Economically to Save Paper

This involves a number of considerations. First of all, ask your book printer about the best size for your particular custom printing project, based on the size of the presses he has on the pressroom floor. For example, you might be able to get a 16-page press signature (8 pages on each size) on his press with room for printer’s marks, the printing press gripper (which grabs the press sheet and moves it through the press), and even bleeds if you reduce its size from a 6” x 9” format to a 5.5” x 8.5” format. This change in size might allow for larger press signatures (and therefore fewer press runs) as well as less paper waste.

Probably no one will see the difference, and you will save money. Or, you could forego the bleeds (or confirm with your printer whether or not the bleeds will increase the price by requiring a larger press sheet size and therefore a larger offset press).

Reduce Paper Weight and Quality

Another thing you can do to save money on paper is reduce the paper weight of the project (as noted above). Or you can print on an uncoated sheet (as noted above, with all other things being equal, coated paper often costs more than uncoated). For instance, if you had been considering printing a book on a 70# gloss coated text paper, you might instead decide to print it on a 60# uncoated sheet. Lighter weight papers cost less than heavier weight papers.

As noted above, paper comes in various levels of quality, usually dependent on the brightness of the press sheet. You could save a lot of money by stepping down from a premium sheet to a number #1 or #2 paper. In fact, these days some #2 papers are indistinguishable (to the naked eye) from higher grade papers.

Address Publications-Management Issues

If you’re thoughtful in your approach, how you manage the overall press run can save you money on paper costs.

For example, you could:

  1. Make PDFs of the job available online and therefore reduce the total number of printed copies needed.
  2. Reduce acceptable overruns (usually up to 10 percent overs are acceptable). Negotiate this with your printer.
  3. Clean up all mail lists and be more selective in bulk distribution. Fewer names equal fewer copies going to more precise and accurate addresses. Think about where you make your print product available in bulk as well. Do you need to deliver that big a stack of catalogs to the neighborhood stores?
  4. Print your publication less often. If you combine such a reduction in publishing frequency with an increase in online marketing and editorial content, you can still retain your customers’ interest and loyalty. If you research this suggestion online, look for “multi-channel marketing.”
  5. Print fewer pages. Granted, this requires editing and writing discipline and design/layout acumen, but it can save a lot of money. Reducing a periodical by even four pages and multiplying this by (perhaps) 50,000 copies will save a lot of paper. Fewer pages will cost less to print (sometimes resulting in even fewer press runs for the same product) and will require less paper.

The Take-Away

Here are some suggestions:

  1. Go to school on paper. Learn as much as you can.
  2. Discuss your paper needs for your various projects with your printer.
  3. Develop a relationship with a paper merchant. Consider attending a paper mill tour to see exactly how paper is made.
  4. Collect paper swatch books. But keep them current. It can be frustrating to pick the perfect paper and then learn that it has been discontinued. (Check the dates on the back of the paper books.)
  5. Collect a swipe file of printed products you like because of their paper qualities as well as their design.

Posted in Paper and finishing | Comments Off on Commercial Printing: Ways to Save on Paper Costs

Book Printing: Short-Run Digital Case-Bound Books

June 8th, 2020

Posted in Book Printing | Comments Off on Book Printing: Short-Run Digital Case-Bound Books

For the most part, the title of this blog post is an oxymoron: “short run digital” usually doesn’t mesh with “case binding.” That’s because of the complexity of case binding, the make-ready process, the skill level involved, and the post-press finishing equipment needed. The list goes on. Short of binding the books one at a time by hand, the elusive goal of a short press run of case-bound books seems more akin to the proverbial unicorn everyone seems to be seeking.

But my client needs this. And you may, too, at some point when buying book printing. This is how I’m going about the task.

First the Book Specifications

First of all, the book is 8 1/2” X 10 7/8”, with a quantity of 300 vs. 350 copies, 302 pages plus hard cover. The text paper is 60# white offset. Endsheets are 80# Rainbow Oatmeal Antique. And the dust jacket is 100# C1S, with gloss film lamination.

Interior press work involves K/K ink only, with no bleeds. And the dust jacket prints 4/0.

Finishing is more complex. The book requires adhesive case binding with .098″ boards, with colored endsheets, and a flat back (with board in spine). The wrapping material is Arrestox B (Fern L535). The printer must stamp the spine, back, and front cover with one impression of gold foil, from printer furnished dies. Then the printer will wrap the dust jackets around the print books, possibly shrink wrap them individually, and then carton pack them.

A Quandry

While all of these specs sound reasonable enough, they reflect some potentially conflicting client requirements (although they can still be remedied by the right book printer).

First of all, the book is long enough (302 pages) that in past editions it would have been printed either by sheetfed lithography or more usually by web-fed lithography (i.e., a web press or roll-fed press). This was back when the book (a yearly title for this particular textbook-printing client) was 600 pages in length with a press run of 1,000 copies. Those specs more closely matched a web printer I used to work with many years ago. In fact, that particular vendor might consider a short-run book (and probably would be competitive), but their minimum order is 1,000 copies, not 300 or 350 copies.

Moreover, this particular vendor could conceivably send the book to their digital plant (note that this printer has multiple book plants, with digital capabilities as well as sheetfed and web-fed offset presses on their pressroom floor). But to remain competitive, this printer has only limited materials for their digital books. Their covers, for instance, are produced with a few generic paper stock options laminated over binders boards (i.e., not fabric). Basically, they tell you what you can have. Since their prices are spectacular, their limits are reasonable. This is particularly true when you consider that this book printer only has such good prices because they buy a massive amount of only a few brands of printing and binding materials. In my client’s case, if this particular printer produced a short-run case bound book, it would not be bound in Arrestox B (Fern L535) casing fabric. Rather it would be bound in whatever the printer was offering to keep the prices down.

Since my client has been printing and selling this book (at a premium) for decades, it’s important for the final product to look as close to the older versions (produced on a web offset press and bound with high-end bindery materials) as possible. So this particular vendor is not an option.

Two Alternatives

I have approached two other vendors. Plus, I have put the specs up on the Printing Industry Exchange website to see if any new printers might show interest.

One of the two book printers promotes itself as offering prices close to those of Asian printers without the risk. I have found this to be true for the most part. This particular printer is actually a representative for two different dedicated book printers, one on the East Coast and one in the Midwest. One of the printers specializes in black-text-only printing. The other does primarily 4-color work. But what both printers have in common is that they focus almost exclusively on print books. Therefore, they have all of the printing and finishing equipment anyone could need for book production.

To clarify this, I have found over the last forty years that most printers have on-site saddle-stitching equipment. Some but not all have perfect-binding equipment. And only a limited number have case-binding equipment. This makes sense. The goal is to keep all printing and finishing equipment running all the time. Since most printers would not need to run perfect-binding and case-binding equipment all the time, they don’t buy it. Instead, they farm out this work to other printers who do have this specialized equipment. Or they go to companies that only do binding.

But dedicated book printers are a different breed. And I have two vendors in mind (accessible through one representative, who is not quite a broker because he represents the printers rather than the clients, as I do). His two printers have all of this equipment. Therefore, their prices will be lower (i.e., I’ll be more likely to win my client’s bid), and the turn around will be faster (subcontracting not only costs more but takes longer, too).

But I also have one more option: the printer who has produced this book as page counts and press runs have declined from 600+ pages to 300+ pages, and from 1,000 copies to 300 copies. This book printer has done the job for many years (they are motivated to keep it). They are a dedicated book printer, so they have all equipment needed to produce it onsite. (In fact, if they determine that the combination of page count and press run would be more economical on a digital press, they can print the book this way; and, if they determine that web-fed offset, even for this short a run, works better financially as well as in their schedule, they can print the job via offset lithography.)

In most cases, printers with this much equipment are “consolidators.” They buy up multiple printing plants and offer everything to all clients. When work comes in, they send each job to the appropriate plant (like the printer noted earlier in this article). But in this particular case, the printer is smaller, not a consolidator, still has all the equipment in-house, and has provided aggressive pricing for years (and doesn’t want to lose the client). In short, it’s a perfect fit (hopefully my client will agree).

And there’s one other reason the printer has lower prices. It’s in the Midwest in a location that has a lower pay scale than here on the East Coast (for good or ill, this does make a difference).

What You Can Learn from This Case Study

  1. Keep an open mind. A printer halfway across the country might be the perfect match. If you like their pricing, ask for an equipment list. You may see why their prices are lower based on what printing and finishing equipment they have in-house. That said, since you can’t necessarily visit the printer if something goes wrong, it’s very important to perform all due diligence. Get printed samples. Talk with references. Do careful research.
  2. Think about what kind of technology is most appropriate for your book-printing job. If you’re not sure where the sweet spot is for short-run digital work based on your page count and press run, ask your printer.
  3. Some book printers have tabletop binding equipment. They can be competitive on smaller press runs because they don’t necessarily have to cover the cost of large and expensive equipment (at least for the short-run print books).
  4. Ask colleagues. A lot of the information you need will be in the printers’ equipment lists, but nothing is better than one printer’s recommendation of another vendor who might be more appropriate based on your printing needs.
  5. Large printers with multiple plants may not be as attuned to your particular job needs. In fact, to keep their materials costs down, they may offer only limited options for printing or binding styles. Sometimes a smaller printer who really needs you to be happy is a better choice.
  6. Keep in mind that, across the country, the press runs and page counts of book printing jobs are declining. That said, print books are not going away. Readers and publishers still want a high-quality product for a good price. And the market drives vendors’ offerings. So it is quite possible to find vendors who will print short-run, multi-page books and bind them to your specifications. You don’t need a lot of vendors. You just need to find one or a few.

Posted in Book Printing | Comments Off on Book Printing: Short-Run Digital Case-Bound Books

Custom Printing: Producing a Client’s Identity Materials

June 2nd, 2020

Posted in Corporate Branding | Comments Off on Custom Printing: Producing a Client’s Identity Materials

I’m trying to win new commercial printing work from a client I lost about a decade ago. Now she works at a new job, a nonprofit, and she has just sent me specs for five projects, including her employer’s annual report, a conference program, a brochure, a 9” x 12” booklet envelope, and a fundraising letter.

Although my client put together a rather comprehensive specification sheet, here are some of the issues (or questions) that arose as I went through the specs a number of times.

The Annual Report

The annual report specs were straightforward: 24 pages plus cover, 8.5” x 11”, saddle stitched, 4-color plus flood gloss coating on all pages, 1500 copies, 80# gloss cover and 80# gloss text, PDF proofs.

Here are my thoughts (actually only one), which I think you might find useful, too, if you design high profile commercial printing products. That is, my client may want to consider an actual hard-copy proof instead of just a PDF proof. Colors onscreen are often misleading, especially since computer monitors are back-lit. They create color with light rather than ink or toner, and they often make colors look brighter than the final printed product will actually appear. It helps to see a physical representation of what you will actually get.

What You Can Learn

It’s very easy to view the on-screen image at larger than 100 percent size, which will make the text imminently legible and the colors brilliant, but which will bear no resemblance to the final printed product.

You may also want to consider what my client has done with the extra gloss coating on all pages of the annual report. The plus side is that gloss coating makes photos seem to jump off the page. The potential problem is that adding a fifth color might necessitate moving the job to a larger press at a higher overall cost. That said, most presses these days do have four units to print 4-color process inline plus a fifth coating unit. But it may be wise to ask your commercial printing supplier before making this assumption.

The Envelope and Letter That Will Accompany My Client’s Annual Report

This is where I noted problems in my client’s spec sheet.

She planned to print the logo and company address in one color (PMS Process Blue C). This is actually cyan, almost identical to the cyan used in 4-color process work. My client said this looked great on the computer monitor. My response was that she should print out a color mock-up (at 100 percent size) of this logo and address to make sure everything is readable.

Why? Because light, small type can in reality be a lot less legible than the same type printed in black ink. And on an envelope, the return address is functional, not decorative. It has to be readable. To be safe, I asked for her permission to amend the spec sheet. I plan to ask the printers I approach to price both a PMS Process Blue version and a PMS Process Blue plus black (2-color) version of the 9” x 12” envelope.

What You Can Learn

If you’re a designer, you can learn two things from this. An ink color might look great on a computer monitor, and the type may be legible. But when you actually print the job, the color might be too light overall and might therefore diminish readability. A square swatch of color in a PMS book is not the same as type printed in the PMS color. This is because the type characters have a lot of empty space between the strokes of the letters, so the white background will lighten the overall look considerably.

Therefore, it’s usually wise to choose a darker hue for type. This is a smart approach to any design. For instance, if you’re thinking of making heads or subheads in a book orange, it may look great, but will it be readable?

My client’s accompanying letter had the same issue, so I encouraged her to request pricing for two colors as well as one: black for the type and PMS Process Blue for the logo as well as a price for PMS Process Blue for both the type and logo.

But there was one other issue she raised. She said the letter would be “static,” as opposed to variable (all copies would be the same, in contrast to the alternative, in which each letter would be addressed to a different recipient). This ensured an offset lithographic printing of the letter (1,000 copies) as opposed to the digital run that would be necessary if the job had included variable data (a unique name and address for each letter).

This was especially useful information, and it was not on the original specification sheet I received. So I added it.

What You Can Learn

The take-away is that if you’re printing a letter for a marketing package, make sure you tell your printer whether you will print the same letter for all recipients or whether you need a digital job with variable data capabilities. That is, if you will merge names and addresses into the original file and make every copy of the letter a different printed product, your printer needs to know this at the estimating stage of the job.

Another issue that arose concerned a future printing of the letterhead. My client planned to also print a run of blank letterhead in the near future, with only the logo and address, and she wanted to make sure this would work on her laser printer.

What You Can Learn

The reason this is relevant is that laser printer drums get extremely hot when fusing the toner to the paper. Unless you (as a designer) tell your printer you will need laser compatible inks, you may run the risk of the ink’s heating and smearing in the laser printer. This may not be an issue in your case, but it bears confirming with your printer when you’re designing and printing your own letterhead (or letterhead for your organization).

Finally, my client questioned the paper used for the prior run of letterhead, 70# Lynx smooth white text. She asked about using 60# text to save money.

This was my answer, and I would encourage you to keep it in mind if you design letterhead or business cards. Paper thickness gives a job a feel of importance, weight, gravitas. A 70# text paper feels more opulent than a 60# stock. I could understand using 60# as well. (This would be comparable to 24# copier paper.) But I’d never go as low as 50# stock for letterhead. It’s just too flimsy.

My Client’s Conference Program Print Book and Two-Page Brochure

My client’s conference program booklet was just a shorter version of the annual report (in terms of format), so the specs and the issues we discussed were similar. It had a press run of 850 copies, so I will ask the printers to price it as an offset lithographic job. However, my client’s accompanying brochure will only have a press run of 250 copies.

Here were the thoughts I shared with my client:

  1. Due to the short run, the most cost-effective way to print the brochure would be on digital laser equipment using toner rather than ink.
  2. Colors produced via laser or inkjet digital printing are “built” with screens of the four process inks. PMS colors are not used as they are in offset lithography. Therefore, matching colors exactly in a digital print job and an offset print job is often not possible. Fortunately, in my client’s case the specific PMS color is PMS Process Blue, or cyan, which is almost identical to the hue used in 4-color work.

What You Can Learn

In your own work, remember that color builds don’t always match PMS colors. This is doubly true when you’re trying to match commercial printing ink colors (used for offset printing) and colors made from powdered laser toners (used for digital printing work).

The Take Away

I’ve been in the field for 44 years now, and I still pore over the custom printing specs (either a client’s or my own) many, many times. Each time I seem to catch something new (an omission or something to clarify). In your own work, think of the specification sheet as your contract with your commercial printing supplier. Review it multiple times to catch and correct errors.

Always choose colors on paper (use PMS books, some of which even have type samples in the PMS colors) rather than on the computer monitor. Also, print out physical proofs to ensure the legibility of the text. You may be looking at a magnified view on the monitor, and the back-lighting of the monitor may also affect your judgment.

Don’t expect 4-color process builds of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black to match PMS colors exactly. And don’t expect ink on paper to match toner on paper exactly.

If at all possible, design all elements of your corporate identity together, comparing one item to another from both a design perspective and a custom printing perspective. It will be of immeasurable help in ensuring a sense of visual unity among all printed components.

Posted in Corporate Branding | Comments Off on Custom Printing: Producing a Client’s Identity Materials

Choosing Between Printing With Uncoated Or Coated Paper

May 25th, 2020

Posted in Paper Coatings | Comments Off on Choosing Between Printing With Uncoated Or Coated Paper

Almost all companies will get to the point where they need to print information on paper for clients, customers, or other people to read. Printing companies are capable of printing quality collateral for other businesses in high quantities, making them more ideal in most situations than printing collateral with one’s own printer.

For printing commercially, there are two types of paper to choose from, both of which printing companies can use within chosen design patterns. These are uncoated paper and coated paper.

The Difference Between Both Paper Stock Types

All paper originates as an uncoated paper stock ( like the paper you use in your desktop printer, e.g. 20lb. bond or 50lb. white offset, porus to the touch ). When manufacturing a coated paper stock, the paper mill takes an uncoated stock and adds a clay and chemical mix coating. This is like waxing your auto paint finish. This clay and chemical coating thus fills in the pores of this uncoated stock in creating a smooth and more reflective finish after calendering ( or buffing ) the paper stock.

Uncoated Paper Stock vs. Coated Paper Stock

An Uncoated paper stock absorbs ink ( offset presses ) like a spunge. The pores allow less reflective values as light enters the uncoated stock pores. Thus, less sharper images reflecting back to any eye.

A Coated paper stock has a smooth buffed / calendered finish in which ink dries predominantly on the surface. Thus, much less paper interior ink absorbed inside any coated paper stock. This smooth finish and like waxing an auto paint finish, allows light to reflect back much better – like a mirror to any eye delivers sharper and more crisp image reflections.

If one seeking sharp and crisp images with their printing project, coated paper is highly recommended. Uncoated stocks and Coated paper stocks offer numerous choice variations within each category.

Uncoated stock: brightness, stock thickness, white or colored shades of stock, etc.

Coated stock: Brightness, thickness, & finishes as gloss, semi-gloss, dull gloss, matte ( a flat coated white finish ) , etc.

Uncoated Paper

Depending upon any specific custom printing project, choosing the right paper stock is paramount in receiving your best and targeted design quality results. For one, Uncoated paper can be as light or as heavy as you need it to be. Uncoated paper can be thin for little booklets and brochures, or thick for applications that anticipate wear and tear, such as temporary outdoor signage.

Uncoated paper comes with more texture ( porous finish ) than Coated paper. It is easier for commercial printers to print on Uncoated stock since it can absorb ink easier in having more texture. The majority of Uncoated paper finishes are actually quite softer and ideal in seeking no slickness as you would receive from most Coated papers.

Coated Paper

Coated paper is the less common of the two types of paper, both for small businesses and small business printing services. Coated paper reflects light in an attractive way thus yields a more classy and sophisticated design ( higher cost ). The printed content on a Coated paper yields sharper and crisper images than Uncoated paper. Again, if image quality detail is high on your list, using a Coated stock is highly recommended. Coated paper is most ideal for printing photographs and color images as a Coated paper is the only way in showing off design details.

Choosing Between Uncoated and Coated Paper

Both types of paper can be used to print posters, flyers, brochures, postcards, business cards, calendars, catalogs, and other types of collateral. Which one should you go with for your application?

Choose Coated paper if:

You have colorful graphics that you want to grab people’s attention with.

You want the best quality and not an average look from an Uncoated paper.

You want your paper to look more reflective within design choices.

You want to use graphics or photographs showing fine details.

Choose Uncoated paper if:

You want your graphics to look beautiful, but look subtle, and in a way that isn’t flashy or


The color inks used are mostly black or black + 1 PMS ( Pantone Matching System ).

You want your paper to feel soft and comfortable to the touch.

You are on a budget and high-quality printing is not one of your priorities.


There are two types of paper that businesses need for their collateral: Coated paper and Uncoated paper. They are different in many ways. While Uncoated paper is traditional and simple. Coated paper is slick and usually shiny. We do not consider one to be better overall than the other.

Posted in Paper Coatings | Comments Off on Choosing Between Printing With Uncoated Or Coated Paper

Custom Printing: Design Your Job with Paper in Mind

May 21st, 2020

Posted in Paper and finishing | Comments Off on Custom Printing: Design Your Job with Paper in Mind

Paper is a resource. In addition to coming (mostly) from trees and therefore being worthy of preservation, paper as a significant materials cost of commercial printing bears consideration. Paper is expensive. Don’t waste it. In fact, it is sometimes a rather large portion of the overall cost of your print job.

For example, if you’re printing 100,000 copies of a 352-page perfect-bound textbook, two things you should seriously consider–and discuss with your printer–are the cost of paper and the cost of shipping (in addition to costing money in large-page-count, long-press-run projects, paper is heavy and costs a lot to transport).

So how do you save money buying paper for your custom printing job?

I’ve addressed this in prior print blogs, but I just came upon a few more suggestions in Mark Beach’s and Eric Kenly’s Getting It Printed, my all-time favorite book on commercial printing. In no particular order, here are some suggestions:

Consider the Purpose of the Job

If you are mailing out an invitation to a fundraising gala dinner, the paper has to be perfect. However, if you’re printing an in-house newsletter for your employees, you don’t necessarily need the finest printing stock.

This isn’t as much about the particular paper you choose as it is about your mindset. Getting It Printed even suggests asking your printer what kind of extra paper he has in his inventory, perhaps partial reams of paper that may not exactly match but that might be perfectly adequate for an in-house newsletter.

I once did this for a client who needed hang-tags for her clothing designs. She was self-employed, and every dollar counted. I did what Getting It Printed suggested, but I took it a step further. I found waste paper (the last few unused sheets from a few reams in my printer’s inventory) that had the same feel but that came in different colors: as I recall, a pink, a green, and a brown. Just by digging in the printer’s paper stacks among paper selections too small for a full job, I gave my client a rainbow of colors for her hang-tags and business cards.

Discuss these options with your printer. Sometimes even a slight difference in color or surface texture will be irrelevant to the audience for your print product but could save you some money.

Group Your Jobs

When I was an art director/production manager, I used to get an annual list of over 100 publications that had to be designed and printed within the following year. (I didn’t take the following advice, but I think you should consider it.) Getting It Printed suggests that in such a situation you talk with your printer (or maybe a few printers) about grouping your jobs.

The list I received when I was an art director included a number of textbooks, a number of newsletters, a number of invitations—the list goes on—each year. There really was only a short list of different kinds of jobs we designed and printed. What would have saved us money at the time would have been to group these publications, by type, and request bids for a number of them.

Getting It Printed suggests this. For instance, we could have compiled specs for five different newsletters produced on the same commercial printing stock, along with any additional printing specs, and spread these over twelve months within a predetermined schedule.

The good news is that printers in such a situation can often provide an overall discount for additional, regular work, and can sometimes even provide a discount on the particular paper stock based on a larger commitment over a longer time. You can presumably negotiate terms that would involve your only paying upon completion of each job.

The bad news is that this requires foresight and forethought. Back when I was an art director, everything was always a rush, so I never quite got around to doing what I’m suggesting. Learn from my mistake.

Paper Size and Job Trim Size

The elusive goal of paper management is to eliminate waste entirely. Although this will never happen, it will save paper (and therefore save you money) to consider the size of the poster, flyer, or book page for the job you’re designing. This is not just on an individual page-size level, but also in terms of how many copies you can get on a press sheet.

This gets a bit complicated when we’re discussing press signatures, so we’ll start with short jobs.

Let’s say you’re printing a pocket folder (before it’s converted from a flat press sheet into an actual folder). When you take apart last year’s model, you’ll see that the pockets have glue tabs and other little flaps and protrusions that turn an unassembled pocket folder into a much larger flat item on a press sheet.

If your printer can give you an idea of the press sheet size (based on the size of the press he will be using), then you may see that you can get (for example) two of these flat, unfolded pocket folders on one press sheet (including all the tabs and flaps that will need to be folded and glued).

The ideal situation is that when you lay out two of these folders on a press sheet (which is called imposition, and which is a task your commercial printing vendor will handle), there will only be enough room for bleeds, printer’s bars (color targets and such), and the gripper margin (the gripper pulls the press sheet through the press)–and nothing else. No waste. That is ideal. If you work with your printer to determine the best press, the best press sheet (both its size and its availability on the market), and the best size for the flat printed job, you can often minimize paper waste. And this may lead to a paper cost savings.

Press Signatures

All of this becomes a bit more complex when you’re producing multiple-press-signature work. For instance, if you’re printing a 32-page saddle-stitched booklet, presumably this will be composed of two 16-page press signatures, each with eight pages on each side of the press sheet.

Each press signature will constitute one press run. Each signature (eight pages on each side of the sheet) will fit on the press sheet ideally with no waste. That is, with nothing but the press bleeds, printer’s bars and color targets, and gripper margin. For this to happen, the size of each booklet page has to be determined and each page has to be positioned on the press sheet.

For instance, if your book is 8.5” x 11” in format, and you have four pages across by two pages down on each side of the sheet (eight pages, four above, four below—and the same number on the back of the sheet), you need at least 34” across (4 x 8.5” across the width of the press sheet) and 22” down (2 x 11” along the length or depth of the press sheet). Plus, you need room for the gripper margin, printer’s color bars, bleeds, etc. If your printer can run a 25” x 38” press sheet through his press (very likely), you’re golden. You have almost no waste.

Talk with your printer. Get these specifications and match them to your preferred book page size, and see whether everything fits on the press sheet. If not, ask your book printer by how much you need to reduce your page size (sometimes only slightly).

Granted, this assumes a 16-page signature. Some book signatures are four pages, some eight, some even 32 pages. Sometimes your printer will even print two copies of the same (often a four-page or eight-page) signature on a press sheet. But this, at least, is a starting point for discussion with your printer. It’s also useful for you to start considering press sizes and printing paper sizes, as well as the trim sizes of the publications you design and print. In the long run, this expanded awareness will save you money.

Consider the Post Office

With the preceding information in mind, you might be inclined to change the size of your publications. For instance, you might want to make a fold-up self-mailer larger, since larger pieces often stand out more dramatically in the recipient’s mailbox.

But be aware of the ramifications. The “wow factor” of a large printed piece is only one criterion for the success of the job.

Unless you have a business mail template from the Post Office, by lengthening one dimension of your fold-up self-mailer, you might inadvertently change the ratio of length to height and unknowingly make the job unmailable. Or it might require a postage surcharge. It might look great, but in the process of redesigning the self-mailer, you might have unknowingly made the overall job (printing and mailing) more expensive, even if you reduced paper waste by using more space on the press sheet.

Or, if your job will go out in an envelope (for a job that’s not a self-mailer), your (slightly larger than usual) printed marketing piece might not fit in a standard envelope. You might need a custom envelope (which will cost more), and the size difference might cause you to incur a Postal Service surcharge.

What can you do to avoid making these mistakes? Get a business mail template and booklet from your Post Office, and learn everything you can about aspect ratios (length to width), size requirements, paper weights, how to keep your mail piece machinable and automatable, and how to reap the greatest postal discounts. In fact, it wouldn’t hurt to find a business mail specialist at a local Post Office and give her/him your mock-ups for feedback. Then you can approach your printer, as noted above, regarding presses, paper sizes, and waste from a more knowledgeable position.

Posted in Paper and finishing | Comments Off on Custom Printing: Design Your Job with Paper in Mind

Reasons to Get Postcards for your Business

May 15th, 2020

Posted in Postcard Printing | Comments Off on Reasons to Get Postcards for your Business

From cost-effectiveness to versatility to efficiency to tangibility, there are plenty of reasons why postcards are the best marketing tools. However, to realize all these benefits, you have to work with the best postcard printing services.

One technology advancement example within the digital press arena in printing postcards. In creating a provided your mailing list, the use of Personalization Printing. Thus, adding the recipients full name or gender images in having the postcard creating a better bonding effect.

The advancements in technology have seen a transformation in the way businesses do marketing. Today, there are ten times as many platforms as there were decades ago – and that’s a good thing. However, some things never go out of fashion, and that includes postcards. Postcards have been around for ages, and they are not going anywhere anytime soon. If anything, they are widely embraced for the incredible benefits they offer to businesses today. In case you are new to the concept of postcards, then here are reasons why you should try them out.

Affordable marketing

One of the main problems that most startups, small and mid-sized businesses face are marketing costs. Postcards provide excellent marketing at low rates. It’s safe to say that they are the most affordable form of targeted marketing today. In addition to the affordability of best postcard printing services, you get to enjoy lower postage rates.

Campaigns are easy to track

Tracking is an essential component of any marketing strategy. If you cannot measure results, then you won’t know whether you are making progress or not. The good thing about postcards is that you will have a clear picture of the number of cards you’ve mailed out, as well as the resulting inquiries, leads, and sales.

They are as versatile as your imagination allows

With postcards, the limit lies within your head. We say this because postcards can be used for any reason. Whether it is to announce a special offer or sale, launch new solutions, drive traffic to a website, invite prospects to an event, seminar or tradeshow, serve a coupon, and so on.

They are efficient

One thing that sets postcards apart from other marketing platforms like direct mail is the fact that they aren’t enclosed in a packet or envelop. So the recipient can quickly get the message as they browse through their daily mail.

Keep competition in the dark

Unlike newspapers and other marketing platforms, postcards allow you to market in secrecy, without giving your competitors a heads up. This is an excellent thing because you can overtake it without them even seeing it coming.

Better branding experience

Postcards can brand your company in ways that other marketing strategies can’t. For example, if you become a regular on a specific postcard-mailing program, your customers will start associating you and your brand with the postcards. This may give your company a particular reputation in the market.

They are time savers

In the world where things are moving so fast, there is just no time for marketing strategies that consume a lot of client’s time. Otherwise, you will end up losing out. According to recent research by the US Postal Service, only 14% of letters get read. But postcards enjoy a whopping 94% read through ration.


In addition to the benefits above, postcards are easy, space-saving, and effective. If you were thinking of ways to boost your marketing strategy, then you should consider printing postcards.

Posted in Postcard Printing | Comments Off on Reasons to Get Postcards for your Business

Custom Printing: Embossing, Debossing, and Foil Stamping

May 13th, 2020

Posted in Embossing, Foiling | Comments Off on Custom Printing: Embossing, Debossing, and Foil Stamping

Since the dawn of time humans have sought to embellish things. This is evidenced by everything from the floor mosaics in Rome to the illuminated manuscripts hand-copied by monks.

So it was no surprise to me when an associate of mine asked about embossing, debossing, and foil stamping as methods for decorating print books, certificates, and the like. Therefore, I went to school on the subject, and this is what I found.

Paper Embossing and Debossing

Paper embossing and its close cousin paper debossing involve pressing flat sheets of paper between two components of a die to either raise an image above the surface of the paper or lower it below the surface.

In either case, an engraver prepares a metal die for the top of the paper and a corresponding die for the bottom of the paper. These dies fit exactly into one another. That is, recesses in one half of the die correspond to raised areas in the other, whether these are strokes of letterforms (for text) or line artwork. When a special press is used (with one half of the die apparatus above, and one half below the press sheet), the force of the printing press against the dies (plus additional applied heat) causes the paper trapped between the dies to rise above the surface of the paper or fall below the surface of the paper (embossing or debossing, respectively).

It is the skill of the engraver who makes the dies and the quality of the fibers within the flat sheet of paper that allow the image to rise or fall without tearing the paper. Because of this, it is important to choose typefaces (and type sizes) as well as thicknesses of rule lines that are wide enough to not cut the paper and to be readable after the embossing or debossing process. (It pays to consult your custom printing supplier on this.)

There are several options for embossing and debossing. The first is the “blind emboss,” which involves only the raising or lowering of the image on the paper (and not printing or foiling anything). This creates a subtle, sophisticated effect. You may have seen the results of blind embossing on a notarized document or even a “This book is the property of…” stamp inside a print book you have borrowed. (You can get such personal embossing stamps online for your own library with your own name on the die. If you look closely, you will see the two interlocking elements of the die.)

The second option is the “registered emboss.” That is, for such an embossing or debossing process, you raise or lower the image in exact alignment with a corresponding printed or foil stamped image (more about that later). If the effect is created with ink and embossing dies, the process is called “color registered embossing.” If metal foil is used with embossing dies, the process is called “combination stamping.” In either case, the goal is to have the embossed or debossed image in precise register with the inked or foil-stamped image.

Another thing to consider is the order of these separate processes. First you print the image(s) on the press sheet. Then you emboss the press sheet on a separate press. If you think about it, this makes sense, since the pressure of offset commercial printing would crush the delicate embossed or debossed image(s). So anything you need to do other than the embossing or debossing step has to come first. This includes varnishing and laminating as well as custom printing.

Correspondingly, the press used for the stamping process is more like a letterpress than an offset press. That is, the two pieces of the press come together vertically, up-and-down, to press the image into the paper fibers (in contrast to the rotary nature of offset commercial printing). Names of presses to look for online to see this process in action include Kluge, Heidelberg, and Kingsley.

Regarding the dies used in embossing and debossing, the metals for their fabrication include zinc, magnesium, copper, and brass. For the following reasons, embossing and debossing can be very expensive:

  1. Die-making is a specialized skill. A limited number of vendors can make dies. This also adds to the time needed for their fabrication.
  2. Embossing and debossing are processes separate from the printing component of your job, and they are done on presses that not all printers may have. This also adds to the cost and the turn-around time.

To go back to the combination emboss noted above, which both foil stamps and embosses an image, this process accomplishes both goals at the same time using the same die apparatus. This die is sculpted, usually made of brass, constructed to maintain tight register between the embossed image and the foil-stamped image, and made to also trim away the waste foil (any non-image area not needed for the registered embossing). Again, you pay for this ingenuity.

Foil Stamping

I think a description of foil stamping at this point will make the whole procedure of combination stamping easier to visualize.

For metallicized foil stamping, a roll of foil is used that has a liner (the base layer of the sheet, also called a release layer), the adherent (glue) layer, and a layer of chrome or aluminum. The metallic layer can be made to “simulate” gold, silver, copper, and bronze. In addition to metallics, printers that offer foil stamping can use colored foil that is not metallic but that has a gloss or matte finish as well as the pigment. They can also use holographic foils. (You may see that these have been used on some paper money or, perhaps, on your driver’s license as well.)

Using the same or similar presses to those used for debossing and embossing, the foil stamping process applies heat and pressure to attach the adhesive foil to the substrate (for example, a diploma with a foil-burst seal of achievement). At the same time, the die cuts away any scrap (anything that’s not the image area).

So when you want to bring together the die-based processes of embossing/debossing and foil stamping, you can create elegant effects using these combination sculpted dies.

Uses for Foil Stamping and Embossing/Debossing

Embossing/debossing and foil stamping, either by themselves or together, can be used to adorn paper or leather. Therefore, they’re especially useful for specialized art books. But if you look closely, you’ll also find these techniques used in a lot of functional printing (industrial printing) as well. For instance, hot stamping is often used to mark or embellish plastic pieces of televisions, kitchen appliances, and audio equipment. You can also see foil stamping on cosmetics and cosmetics packaging, as well as RFID (radio-frequency identification) tags. As noted before, you’ll also find them on some paper money and identification cards (like driver’s licenses) and other security-printed items.

What You Can Learn from This Discussion

Think about ways you can use either embossing/debossing or foil stamping (together or separately). Keep your eyes open, and you will see these techniques more and more. Walk through a department store and check out the cosmetics counters. Look at print book dust jackets in book stores. You’ll see foil stamped bursts on some of the dust jackets. All of this will give you ideas for using these adorning techniques.

If you want to apply any of these techniques to your own work, approach your commercial printing supplier early in the process. Discuss both costs and scheduling. Add extra time to your production schedule. In particular, ask about what fonts and type sizes will work the best as well as how thick to make your rule lines (for underlining or boxes). Be safe. Ask for printed samples to make sure you and your printer envision the same results.

Stay abreast of emerging digital adornment (or enhancement) technology. You may want to Google “Scodix Based Printing.” It is increasingly possible to build up surfaces, textures, and colors (including metallic colors) digitally (kind of like 3D printing) to simulate the look of both embossing and foiling. Personally, I find this exceptionally exciting, since it makes die-making (and the related costs and extended schedules) obsolete.

Posted in Embossing, Foiling | Comments Off on Custom Printing: Embossing, Debossing, and Foil Stamping

« Older Entries   Newer Entries »


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