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!