What’s up with paper weights? Is 80 lb. text the same as 80 lb. cover?

So if they are both 80 lb. why does the 80 text look and feel much thinner than the 80 cover stock? The secret is that paper weights are measured in standard sheet sizes. (Called “basis sheet sizes” in the trade.) But the standard sizes are different for different types of paper.

The text paper is measured using a standard size of 23 x 35 inches. The cover stock is measured using a standard size of 20 x 26 inches. It is a heavier stock but a much smaller size sheet.

So, 1,000 sheets of text (at 23 x 35 inches) weigh 80 lbs. And 1,000 sheets of cover stock (at 20 x 26 inches) also weigh 80 lbs.  Ha!

Another good question is why does a 50 lb. offset text stock feel the same as a sheet of 20 lb. bond or standard copy paper? Can anyone guess? Because of the basis sizes! The offset is based on 23 x 35” and the bond, 17 x 22”. Although its confusing, there is a reason. So now you know the paper mystery!


Should I print 500 or 1,000?

Did you know that there are instances when the cost difference between printing 500 and 1,000 quantities is minimal? I mean really small. For instance the difference between 500 and 1,000 business cards printed on a conventional press in 1 or 2 colors, 1 side on a standard stock is usually less then $10! On a 4 color business card it may be only $25 or less.

In the digital world things are different however. Jobs are based on a “per click” basis so a color flyer job of 1,000 may be almost twice the cost of a 500 run. But if this same job was printed on a conventional press, the 1,000 run would be just a little more than the 500 run.  This is because much of the cost in conventional printing is in the set-up time, which is the same for a job of 500 or 1,000.

The only difference in cost comes from the running time and the paper.  And these are minimal. Since the press generally runs at 5 to 10 thousand sheets per hour, it’s a matter of a few minutes between the 500 and 1,000 run.  The difference in paper cost is also negligible.  Assuming the job is on standard 100 lb. coated text, 1,000 sheets of 8.5 x 11” may only cost about $50 more than 500!

So to recap, with conventional printing, it’s not a bad idea to request a quote for a few more copies than you need. It’s always more cost effective to run more than to go back on press to reprint. If printing digitally, printing the quantities you need is more economical, and a few extra reprints are not much more! The major drawback with digital is that quantities of over 1,000 are more expensive, so with large quantities, conventional printing is the way to go!

Let it Bleed!

Bleed — sounds like a mess — what is it in the printing world? This is a question I get from many a customer. Simply put, a bleed is when an image runs off the page.

If you look at the pages of a magazine, newspaper or book, you’ll see white space that forms a border on the top of the page, the bottom and both sides. Usually the print and the photos are inside this white border.

A bleed is when a photo or patterned background goes right off the edges of the page. It could be on all four sides or just one photo going off the top of the page. Sometimes it’s a bar or rectangle of solid color that goes off the bottom of the page. Bleeds are design features. They can be used on any printed material – brochures, post cards, posters, books or magazines.

To prepare the files to bleed, you must allow an extra 1/8 inch to make the bleeding image larger then the page. You can enlarge the image to extend beyond the trim size but be careful that the type is a comfortable amount away from the edge of the page. This is so the project can be trimmed and no white will show on the finished product. Cutting has a variance, paper can shrink or expand with moisture content and many other factors make this step necessary.

Does bleeding cost more? It can add to the cost of the print job because a larger paper size is usually necessary. Also, additional trimming is sometimes involved. The extra cost is usually not more then 10%, but can make the job look nicer and more professional. Most office copier/printers will not allow an image to  bleed – there is no way to get rid of the white border on the page. So if your job has a bleed, it’s clear that it has been done by a printing house.

If you have any questions, give us a call. We’ll be glad to show you the ins and outs of bleeds!


Our New Website is here!

After much ado, our new website, www.mtechprinting.com has just been published! It features a host of new pages under the Services category including Newsletters, Business Printing Services, Graphic Design, Trade Show Services, Promotional Items and Wearables. There are examples of our recent work as well as Photos of Trade Show Graphics, Premium Items and Apparel. We are also proud to feature comments from many of our satisfied customers in our updated Testimonial section. Click on the logos to see examples of the work they are talking about! Our new BLOG, www.mtechprinting.com/blog, that you are now reading, is prominently linked to our home page too! Enjoy perusing and let us know what you think!

Huge job in record time!

Last week we produced a huge job in record time. It was a 184-page plus cover, perfect bound Souvenir Program for the JCC Maccabi Games. It had to be delivered on time; more then 5,000 people were expecting to receive it at the Opening Ceremonies at the RCC Field House in Suffern, NY. The problem was that the artwork was not ready in the two-week lead time needed for a job like this. In fact, we didn’t receive it until the end of the day on Friday, and just one week before the event was to begin.

After a bumpy start in uploading a huge 300 MB file, we discovered after preflight, there was artwork missing. We quickly called our client and asked him to send it. Once we had everything, we made a hard color proof, hand delivered it that afternoon and sat with the customer while he reviewed it. Sure enough, he found a typo that hadn’t been noticed when the original document was proofread. With a bit of tweaking, we were able to make the change even though we did not have the native files.  We make the plates, put the job on press immediately, then folded it and rushed it to the bindery for perfect binding.

At the bindery, we had a truck driver waiting for the job to be finished. Then he was on his way to the College late on Friday afternoon. Luckily we were able to make arrangements for the conference venue to stay open late to receive the shipment. We had only 72 hours to produce this book! Our client was overjoyed that we made their deadline and loved the way it looked!

I don’t write this to brag about our services (maybe just a little) but to let you know we don’t panic in these situations, not after 35 years in the printing business. We still provide the best service in adverse circumstances.

From the Mouth of a Printer (How to make sure your printed piece looks great… )

Article from Specialty Food Merchandising Magazine

by Judith S. Lederman

Not all of us use a graphic designer to interface with a printer. Whether it’s a new menu or brochure, a monthly newsletter to your store’s regular customers, or print advertising, you want to ensure that your printing job looks its very best. So how do we choose a printer and once we’ve chosen one, what is the best way to communicate with our printer?

I recently had at chat with Michael Kitt from M-Tech Printing in Nanuet, NY and he offered me some sound advice:

How to find a printer

Find a printer who has a degree in printing management from a technical institute. Ask your printer what printed products he or she specializes in. Some are experts in four-color labels, others may excel at point-of-purchase displays.

Look for a printer who is willing to take the time to listen to you and understand your needs. Too many printing projects result in disappointment because of a communication problem that began with a printer who didn’t take the time to understand your needs.

Ask your printer to help you visualize what the end result will look like by providing you with your paper samples and by showing you exact colors before the job is finalized.

Do your homework

Do your homework before you bring your job to the printer. Provide your printer with copy that is “camera-ready.” In other words, provide files that are ready for your printer to work with. With today’s advent of desktop publishing programs, it’s easy to create camera-ready copy right from the computer. A hi-res pdf is usually best. Remember that what you give the printer in terms of “camera-ready” copy is what you’ll get.

If your printed material is going to have a photograph, make sure that you give your printer a good quality file. A jpeg or tif file of hi resolution with good contrast works well.

Do you want a border or a “bleed?” A border is white space (about ¼”) around the edge of the paper. A bleed is when the color comes right to the edge of the paper. Keep in mind that a bleed may cost more because it needs to be trimmed. Most desktop publishing programs can be set for a bleed automatically. You need 1/8” all around as a minimum.

To print with ink or digitally

Digital technology has become much more sophisticated in its quality over the years. If you are using color and you’re doing less than 500 copies, it’s usually more cost-effective to print your job digitally. Many printers today offer digital as well as conventional printing.

Another factor that comes into play is the type of color you use. PMS – Pantone Matching System colors – which are the “designer” colors of the printing industry, can be done on conventional equipment but not on digital printers. There is a tremendous spectrum of PMS colors, and if you have a particular color in mind, you can bring your printer a sample so he or she can match it. Most PMS colors can be created out of CMYK, the 4 color process used in both conventional and digital printing, but there can be variances.

Time is of the essence

According to Michael Kitt, the biggest mistake a company or organization can make is not leaving enough time for the printer to complete a job. He points out that ink drying on a page takes time, as does creating the final press-ready files. When the pressure is on, Murphy’s Law tends to kick in, and because there are so many things that can go wrong, you would be wise to leave your job with the printer well in advance of when you need it. Keep in mind that “rush” jobs can also add to the overall printing cost.


The Paper

When choosing your paper, ask your printer to give you samples, so you can evaluate which paper is right for your job. There are two major paper categories: coated and uncoated. Coated is what most magazines are printed on. Uncoated is similar to what you would get from a copy machine and is generally referred to as offset.

Coated reproduces photographs better. If there’s a lot of reading to be done, however, coated can produce a glare than can create eyestrain. A matte or dull-coated is in between coated and offset, and while it costs more, may be a good solution for someone who has a photo and lots of copy on a page.

If you’re only printing on one side, you can get away with a thinner paper, but two-sided printing requires heavier stock.

Paper is measured in pounds. Your basic paper is a 50-lb. offset. Your basic “bond” is 20-lb. bond. Interestingly, these two paper types are identical because paper weights are measure on a basis size of 1,000 sheets. The basis size of offset measures 17.5” X 22.5” and basis size of bond is 11” X 17,” which accounts for the discrepancy in weight.

Cover stock or “card” stock is very different from text stock. Although they both may weigh 80 lbs., the basis size is different, so be sure to tell your printer if you want the paper for cover or text.

More or less

You will notice that when ordering larger quantities (or a “longer run” – as it’s called in printing) the price doesn’t seem to increase dramatically, as compared to when ordering less. That is because much of what you are paying for is the set-up cost.

If you do a 12-page booklet, it can actually cost more than doing a 16-page booklet. Because booklets are bound in four or eight-page units called “signatures,” your 16-page booklet is a perfect 2/8. A 12-page booklet will require an eight and a four, so your printer will, in all likelihood, charge you for the extra four pages.

According to Kitt, so many obstacles can be avoided by advanced planning that it is essential that you spend time with your printer discussing every aspect of your printing job. So, plan carefully and use your newfound knowledge to create fabulous materials.