The Freestone is a high-end newsletter because it's printed on magazine quality paper with a slightly glossy finish, and the final product is printed by a professional printing service.
This also makes it more expensive to produce. So if you're on the Freestone staff this semester, you now know that you won't be printing 3,500 copies of this year's edition on a laser printer.
However, if you have to produce your newsletter on a tight budget, using a high-end laser printer might be an acceptable option. Unfortunately, you won't get the same quality from a laser printer as you will from a commercial printing or quick printing service.
If you've already decided to use a printing service, then the next decision you have to make is whether to give them a final proof from your laser printer, or hire a service bureau to make a camera-ready copy on an imagesetter.
If you really want high-quality results, go to a service bureau. Service bureaus take electronic copies of your publication and create camera-ready output to either paper or film for your commercial printer. They are a middle-man in the process.
Commercial print shops make printing plates directly from the film negatives. Imagesetters can print to paper or film at resolutions up to 2450 dpi. This is very high considering that most laser printers only have a dpi of 600. Your print shop should be able to direct you to a local service bureau.
Remember, you don't have to use a service bureau. Printing services can shoot film negatives from a laser printout. However, the quality of the finished product will be higher if you take advantage of the high-resolution output of the imagesetter.
One word of caution: if you hire a service bureau, proof read a draft of what they plan to shoot on film. It's much more expensive to have them to redo the negatives later.
Here are some other tips on working working with service bureaus:
- Before you hire them, make sure that they use the same desktop publishing software as you.
- Find out how they want you to transfer your file to them. On a zip disk or via the Internet?
- Give them a laser printout.
- They'll need copies of all your scanned images and clip art.
- They might need copies of your fonts, too.