Printing costs can rack up surprisingly quickly if you are not careful, especially for large-scale commercial projects. Here are several handy money-saving tips so you don’t have to break the bank on printing!
Do you know that some colours are more expensive than others? In fact, you can easily save money by choosing colours that are not a mix of multiple colours. For example, the typical brown colour you see in a digital file has a CMYK code of 0% Cyan, 35% Magenta, 75% Yellow and 33% Key (Black). Instead, opt for a Pantone colour. They are custom, predetermined colours that originate from a unique colour standard. A single Pantone 154C can be similar to the brown colour mentioned above. This is why Pantone colours are more efficient compared to the estimated mixes of 4 different dyes under CMYK.
If you are printing a single colored design, Pantone colours are cheaper and more accurate because you would only use a single colour plate instead of 4 different ones. Moreover, you can find free online guides that convert CMYK colours to Pantone ones. However, do make sure to check with the printing company whether they have that specific Pantone colour first.
Another way to save money is to simply reduce the number of colours. Apple is a famous company that did just that. When Steve Jobs returned to the company, he axed the six coloured rainbow logo and replaced it with a monochrome version. At that time, Apple was losing money. Printing the multicoloured logo was extremely expensive, especially when they had to print the logo separately and stick it onto the computers. Coincidentally, the new monochrome logo looked slick and more modern. Removing colours not only saves money, it can also create aesthetic benefits.
The cost of paper is one of the largest contributors to high printing costs. One way to reduce the number of pages is to squeeze more words onto each page – either by reducing the font size or manipulating the layout of words. It can make the content look messy and cluttered though.
Alternatively, you can request to use pages with lower grammage (gsm). These pages are thinner and less dense. Do note that the pages will be more transparent and feel less rough. As a result, companies charge less for those. Furthermore, the price of paper depends heavily on its source as well. Environmentally friendly FSC-certified paper will usually cost a lot more.
Saddle stitch is one of the most popular and affordable binding methods. Simply put, saddle stitch is like stapling. The printed sheets of paper are first cut and folded, then gathered together one inside the other – the papers fall on top of each other, forming a chain. Next, the pages pass through a machine that inserts two staple bullets along the fold line, which becomes the spine of the publication.
Due to this process, the number of printed pages will have to be in multiples of 4. It is also most effective for publications that have 64 pages or less. However, saddle stitch remains the cheapest form of binding available, and it is fast and reliable. This is because saddle stitching is pretty widespread and automated. You can expect savings of 10 to 15% compared to perfect binding (a popular alternative which glues the pages together at the spine), and the cost savings surges even more as the quantity increases.
The general rule of thumb is that the more the printing process is automated, the cheaper it will be. It means that any involvement of manual human labour will drive up the price. For example, extra large/non-standard pages will require manual cutting and trimming, especially when the dimensions do not match the printing press. Another possible scenario occurs when companies want to print their brochures with thicker-than-normal paper. As a consequence, this would require folding by hand. If you are on a tight budget, you can consider avoiding special or unique features that will inflate the price.
That being said, you still get what you pay for. The best advice we can give you is to balance between your budget considerations and what you ultimately want. Having thicker pages or unusual-shaped designs can go a long way in creating a strong impression, allowing your brand to stand out. Don’t be afraid to discuss with your design or printing company to get a clearer understanding.