Desktop Publishing

Other Questions Your Printer Will Ask

Most newsletters and magazines are comprised of sheets of paper that are 8 1/2 x 11 inches, but this is only after they've been printed, folded, and stitched. Often printers begin with an 11 x17 inch piece of paper and print one page per quadrant, but this can vary from press to press.

Each quadrant is 8.5 x 11 inches, so a 24-page spread is comprised of six pieces of 11x17 inch paper. The first 11x17 inch piece will have pages 1 and 24 facing each other on one side, and pages 2 and 23 on the other. The second 11x17 inch piece will have pages 3 and 22 facing each other on one side, and 4 and 21 on the other. Each printer spread is then folded into a booklet form known as a reader's spread, where the pages face each other in sequential order.

Why do you need to know this? Your printer may ask you if you'll be providing your file as a printer spread or reader spread. Sometimes they charge you a stripping fee to turn the pages into printer spreads.

Next, after everything is printed, the papers are bound together with saddle-stitching or a side-stitching. Smaller publications are usually saddle-stitched, meaning that the staples are driven through the spine of the booklet. Nonetheless, your printer may ask you what type of binding or stitching you prefer.

Your other major decision is what type of paper to use, coated or uncoated. Coated papers produce better clarity, especially for halftones. This is because uncoated papers absorb more ink. But if you really need to keep costs down you might have to choose lower grade paper.

The easiest way to choose a paper is to touch different samples. Papers are described in pounds and finish. The Freestone was printed on a 70# paper with a matte finish. Generally speaking, 60# and 70# are adequate. The different finishes are offset, linen, smooth, matte, and gloss.

If this is your first major project and you don't yet have a printer to work with, then find one early on. Compare prices, but also find one who you feel will give you the attention you need to learn the ropes. See if they'll meet with you one-on-one. If you know what they expect of you, and what you can expect in return, you'll save yourself trouble later on.

What could be worse than spending countless hours making a great product on computer only to have it turn out wrong at the print shop?

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