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Helpful Tips

A commonly asked question is:
“How do I maximise my return on the print budget available?”

To understand this, it’s best to start with the basics and to understand just how your print products are produced. You will then be in a better position to understand the options available to you.

For small format print (A3 size i.e. 420mm x 297mm) and below, there are a number of options. We will split this into two main print categories: Lithographic (litho) printing and Digital Print.

Litho printing is, if you like, traditional printing. A printing press with anything from one colour to 12 being applied to the paper at a time; each colour is unique and very specific.

If you visit you will be able to get an idea of just how many thousands of specific colours are defined in Pantone guides. If you want just the right shade of blue, a Pantone colour reference can be used to define it. Large companies tend to be very specific about colours on their business cards and other stationery, so ‘spot colours’ as they are called, are required.

By far the most popular type of litho print is full (or four) colour print, with the four primary colours being: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black – otherwise referred to as CMYK. Full colour printing is possible and a wide range (or gamut) of colours is available.

For most general print, full colour print is the solution and it’s this I will be referring to later.

Why is it so prolific? With spot colours after each job, the inks need to be cleaned off the press and new colours set up for the next job, as well as new plates for each colour; full colour allows for the ink to be permanently set up with just plate changes between jobs, thus cutting cost.

Another way of saving money is to ‘gang up’ jobs. For example, if 20 people each want 500 double sided business cards, then these could all be run at the same time on one sheet, so instead of running 25 sheets per person ( 20 cards per sheet) and changing the plates after each job, one sheet could be run 500 times with the same end result. This is why you can buy cards so cheaply online. Of course, you have to wait perhaps two weeks for all the other client card orders to be in too!

The other main print method is Digital print. We are all familiar with digital print to some extent, as you probably have a home printer. Commercial Digital Print is a little more complex but essentially it is the same, whereby a digital file is printed (as against photocopying a piece of paper on a glass plate).

Digital print has made huge strides in the past few years and very much blurred the lines between litho quality (traditionally the best) and digital, to the extent that most people wouldn’t know the difference.

However digital print has a great advantage: no plates, no wet ink, just toner (again in CMYK). So printing one-off is possible. We can also print on papers from 75gsm to 400gsm (i.e. thin paper to board).

But which do I choose?
The answer is typically down to quantity and time frame.

If you need a very quick turn around (the same day or 1-2 days), digital will be the solution.

If you have a reasonable time frame, then it’s really down to quantity. As a rule, low quantities will be more cost effective digitally; high quantities will be cheaper printed in full colour.

Once you have decided which considerations are your main priorities, please give us a call to discuss your print requirements and we will be happy to guide you through the options available to you.

These are the international paper ( A size )

A0 841 x 1189 mm
A1 594 x 841 mm
A2 420 x 594 mm
A3 297 x 420 mm
A4 210 x 297 mm
A5 148 x 210 mm
A6 105 x 148 mm
A7 74 x 105 mm
C4 324 x 229 mm
C5 229 x 162 mm
C6 114 x 162 mm
DL 110 x 220 mm