One of the best ways to save money on your print project is utilize paper efficiently.

What can I do to save money on printing is one of our most frequently asked questions.  One of the easiest ways is to create documents that utilize the press sheets efficiently.

Before we explain, let’s first define a couple key words: Page and Signature. How do we define a page? Imagine you are reading the front page of a book. You turn the page and are now on page 2. Each side of single sheet is considered a page.

Now a “signature”. A “signature” is a press sheet whose pages are positioned so they can be printed, folded, and bound into a finished book. In printing, we often refer 16-page signatures, meaning the press sheet has 16 pages printed on it.  You many also hear us refer to them as “even signatures”.  This means your page count divides evenly among the press sheets or signatures.

Projects that use the press sheet efficiently by using either a full press sheet, one-half of the sheet, or one-quarter of the sheet-save money by reducing the number of steps required to complete the job. The most common sizes for publications in the United States are 8 1/2 X 11″, 5 1/2 X 8 1/2″, and 6 X 9″ because these page sizes fit efficiently on the paper sizes produced in North America.

Here is an example of the cost savings of using “even signatures”. Printing an 8 ½ X 11″, 16-page project is very efficient because it uses the entire press sheet. If you decide to increase by 4 pages to a 20-page booklet, you add presswork and it becomes more costly. An additional press form would be required to print these four pages, adding additional plate cost and press set up time. Additional bindery operations would be required: cutting the four-page press sheet, setting up and folding the four-pager and another pocket on stitcher (if stitching the booklet).

A good rule of thumb for projects with higher page counts, try and keep them to a number divisible by 16 so you can print in even 16 page signatures (64 pages divided by 16 is 4 even signatures).

While Julin would never suggest you change your page counts to fit the press sheet, it is good to consider in the planning stages or if you have some flexibility in your final page count. Contact Julin today if you are interested in learning more!