Friday, 25 July 2008

Glossy Brochures - Questions & Answers

I have joined an excellent on line networking academy -see my profile at

One of my contacts there asked some questions about producing a glossy brochure. I thought it might be helpful to post my response here as an artice, as it may answere questions that other businesses migh find useful.

Print QualityQuestion:
This magazine needs to be the best-of-the-best in terms of quality, a true business glossy. Realistically, this is a small, local distribution publication and we have only our own money to finance the project.-- How do you measure print quality; are there specific terms which ought to be looked out for?-- When it comes to glossy printing, is this one of the cases where getting that final 5-10% of the best quality costs so much that it puts it out of the reach of all but the big player?

Answer :
There is very little difference in costs between the various Gloss papers avaialble. Yes you can pay more for a really high class paper, but standard Gloss would be sufficient for most glossy magazines. You can also use an aqueous seal instead of the standard linseed seal, but would could add, as an examples, £300 on a 172pp A5 Brochure (sealed throughout).

How common are biodegradable inks and recycled paper in printing? How about binding glue?-- To find a printer who uses them, would I have to look long and hard, and what would be the cost implications?

Most printers nowadays use vegetable based inks. You could use waterless printers, but these are more expensive. Most printers are trying to promote "Green" printing nowadays, as I am (see my blog at I have a good suppliers of "Green" printers, most of whom have ISO 14001 Accreditation, or the "Green Dragon Award. Recycled papers can put anything up to 20% on a job, so depending on size of job, this could be significant. As for Perfect Binding, I have several printers as suppliers who do this all in house. This will save you considerable money, as most printers farm out perfect binding.

Printing MachineryQuestion: There is a lot on different printers' websites about the differnt types of machines which they use.-- Should I care?!-- Why / why not?

I wouldn't worry, if you use me, I find the best printer suited best to each specific type of print run.

Example 1 - 1000 to 10,000 A4 Flyers - I use a printer that only uses 15 sheets for make readies - His new press is one of the few that will do this

Example 2 - 1000 to 10,000 20pp A4 Brchures - I would use my B2 Printer suppliers

Example 3 - 1/3 A4 6pp Leaflets Qty 100,0000 - I would use my B1 Printer suppliers

Example 4 - 20pp A4 Brochure- Qty 100,000 - I would use Web Printer suppliers

SizeQuestion: We've initially put the magazine's length at 20 pages, plus cover. Having done my first tenuous flat-plan I'm beginning to think we made need double this.-- Does the size of magazine have any implication on its quality, for instance is a certain quality only realistic if one is printing a certain number of pages, caluculated by print run * number of pages per magazine?-- How about binding, are there minimum and maximum sizes for stapled / glued binding?

Answer: For a rough guide, say for an example an A4, you should start thinking about Perfect Binding anything above 56pp + 4pp Cover, depending on what type of saddle stitcher the printer has. To work out optimum number of pages, it depends on size of press.

For example, on a B2 Press, an A5 is done in 16pp sections. This means that a 32pp Awould be more econimical than a 28pp A5.

The 32pp could be done in 2 sections (2 sets of plates & 2 print runs). The 28pp would need 3 sets of plates & 3 print runs (16pp + 8pp + 4pp).

DesignQuestion: Many printers offer this as an add on extra.-- What's the deal .. is this the entire design of the magazine, just subbing the layout, or anything you require?

Answer: Most printers have a design studio & will design it for you. I can get good design rates, between £35 & £45 per hour. Where possibly, I pass these costs direct to client, with no mark up. Hope this helps.If you go to the January section of my blog at you wil lfind articles on paper sizes & prepairing PDFs for commercial Printing


Diary of a Cartoonist said...

H mike book looks great

Mike Spencer said...

Thanks for the kind comment.

Anonymous said...

Nice tips! :) :)

lauragray said...


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Justin Jordan said...

Great ideas. I am trying to find the perfect binding printing for my company.