File Prep: The Extra Step

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You have probably heard the phrase “print-ready” files throughout your graphic arts or publishing career. But do you really know what that means and why it’s so important?  Do you know what considerations should be made for perfect bound publications vs. saddle stitch publications? Did you know that the type of paper you print on how it will print (digitally or on the web press) will affect the color? Do you know how to correctly calibrate your monitor and which simulation profiles should be used in the Adobe software to proof your pages on screen? Are you familiar with the recommendations for running metallic inks or other PMS colors?

If this sounds completely overwhelming, don’t worry – we are here to help!

To break it down further, let’s look at why you need to know how to set up files for a perfect bound project.  A perfect bound book is created by stacking signatures on top of one another, grinding off the spines, then gluing and clamping the covers to the book blocks.  Because of this spine grind, files need to be prepared so that all text and images are even further away from the edge than on the other three sides. Something else to keep in mind with perfect bound publications is the glue hinge. This is the 1/4” area on the spine edge of the IFC to the first text page and IBC to the last text page that has to be clear of any ink so the glue can adhere to the stock when the cover is bound onto the text pages. Due to this loss, adjustments to artwork may need to be made to ensure content isn’t lost and/or crossover images line up when bound.

In the past, you may have supplied source files to your printer to output from and PDFs were only created for proofing purposes. With today’s technology, most commercial print workflows are now PDF-based.  This means that as long as your layout is built correctly for your project, you can now generate a “print-ready” PDF file to submit to your printer. This will minimize the potential for error and reduces the time it takes to produce your project.

PDF stands for Portable Document Format.  Supplying print-ready PDFs speeds up all of the processes required for your job in our pre-press department by creating a simple workflow, providing for a hassle free transition from design through print and delivery.

A print-ready PDF must meet certain criteria for your file to print without encountering problems. (Additional criteria may be required depending on your project specifications.)

  • The document’s page size is correct and exact.  (E.g.: do not set your files up to be 8.5 x 11 – they must be 8.375 x 10.875 for most magazines)
  • Files are supplied with a minimum of 1/8” bleed.
  • Any printer’s marks are outside the 1/8” bleed area.
  • Fonts are embedded or converted to outlines.
  • All resolution is 300 dpi at 100% of the final image size.
  • Artwork not meant to bleed is at least 1/4” from the trim edge; this is the top, bottom and face of the page.
  • Small black text is 100% black and not a mix of CMYK.
  • The file is supplied as CMYK and does not contain PMS colors or other color space such as RGB. If you are unfamiliar with this terminology don’t worry, we will convert it for you, though some colors may shift.
  • Any multiple-page PDF consists of single pages running from the front cover through to the back cover, including blank pages if needed.
  • All files are clearly labeled.

Once the layout has been built and meets the criteria for your project, you are now ready to export to PDF. We can provide you with PDF instructions for all major layout software and versions. These instructions will walk you through setting up a preset to generate PDFs that are usable by us. However, they will not “fix” files that are setup incorrectly.  Remember, if you have questions about color management, file prep and layout, we can help!

For these reasons and so many more, it is important that your files are set up as correctly as possible to ensure the highest quality on your publication.  Don’t be intimidated, however, as we have a resident Prepress Technical Advisor/Customer Trainer, Michele McNutt, who is here to help you every step of the way.  If you are in Colorado, we invite you to set up a meeting at our plant with Michele to get you on the right track.  If you’re not local and you need dedicated support in building your files, don’t worry – we can send Michele to you!

This is one of the many services we offer that sets us apart from the “other guys.” The experts in our prepress department and their availability to you is unparalleled. That’s because we believe in investing in the long-term success of our customers. We want to help you succeed and grow – and you might also refer your friends our way.




Digital Magazines, a Happy Compliment to Print

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Digital magazines are awesome! We are big fans, but do we think they are the greatest thing since sliced bread? Only when used in conjunction with print. In our always on the go world, we are constantly looking for ways to optimize our time. Digital magazines are great for when you’re on vacation, but should they be a substitute for print? Definitely not.

In a recent article from FOLIO:  “Unpacking Print’s Luxurious Future”, Michael Brunt predicts that within the next few years, printed magazines will be classified as an affordable luxury item. When you look at the big picture, this prediction makes perfect sense. While Baby Boomers are flocking to social media and digital editions in record breaking numbers, Millennials are fleeing. Millennials are overwhelmed by the all too digital world, and seeking tactile experiences. This is where printed magazines can capitalize.

Millennials are constantly bombarded by screens, and are in search of ways to unplug. What better way to relax than to curl up with a printed copy of your favorite publication? Tablets and smart phones are excellent ways to stay up to date with your favorite magazines when you are traveling, but cannot compete with the multisensory experience of print.

WWD July CoverTribune Publishing’s Los Angeles Times and Penske Media Corp’s Women’s Wear Daily have just announced their unique new partnership. This is what happens when the worlds of print and digital collide to better serve consumers- increased readership across both platforms.

In the post, “8 Lessons From the Failure of Digital Magazines to Revolutionize Publishing” from Publishing Executive, D. Eadward Tree muses, “In the same way, we must first build passionate audiences that will crave our addictive content regardless of the medium and only then concern ourselves with fitting our content to the device du jour.”

WWD and LA Times are great examples of first creating content that consumers want and then serving it the way they desire, in a mutually beneficial way for both companies. We’re excited to see what the future holds for this lucrative endeavor.


USPS Price Increase (Updated)

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Update! Announced March 27th, 2015 – the price increase has been delayed. The new date for the increases has not been set.

From USPS:

“The Postal Service Governors decided today to delay the implementation of new market-dominant and competitive rates and classification changes until all of our proposed market-dominant changes are approved by the Postal Regulatory Commission.  This decision was primarily motivated by a desire to eliminate potential adverse impacts on postal customers that might result from a staggered implementation of our new prices…”


Prices are going up, folks. Applicable as of April 26, 2015.

Direct from USPS:

“In addition to the approval of the First-Class increases, the Postal Regulatory Commission approved the following increases to the below competitive products:


  • Parcel Select will increase on average 8.0% for non-Lightweight Parcel Select
  • Parcel Return Service will have an overall price increase of 4.8% (increase will be determined by where parcel is retrieved)
  • First-Class Package Service will increase 5.1% with no structural changes
  • Standard Post will increase 11.4%.  Prices in Zones 1-4 continue to align with retail Priority Mail prices and receive Priority Mail service and only default to Standard Post if item is not permitted to travel by air


  • Priority Mail International (PMI) overall increase will be 5.5% and Canada pricing will be zoned

NOTE:  PMI Flat Rate, Retail, Commercial Base, and Commercial Plus price categories will be maintained, except for the establishment of new zoned prices based on origin ZIP Code for PMI destined to Canada.

  • Priority Mail Express International (PMEI) overall increase will be 6.7%
  • Global Express Guaranteed overall increase will be 7.2%

NOTE:  GXG Retail, Commercial Base, and Commercial Plus price categories will be maintained.

  • International Priority Airmail (IPA) and International Surface Air Lift (ISAL) will increase by 4.5%
  • Airmail M-Bags will increase by 6.8%
  • First-Class Package International Service overall increase will be 7.2%

NOTE:  FCPIS Retail, Commercial Base and Commercial Plus price categories will be maintained


There are also increases to some Extra Services both Domestic and International.  You can find these details and additional information on the ruling in the PRC’s Order Approving Changes in Rates of General Applicability for Competitive Products issued on Feb. 25, 2015.”


Don’t Just Talk About Yourself, Social Media Fundamentals, part 3

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This is part three in our series to help introduce social media to the publishers who feel like they haven’t figured it all out yet.

In part 1, we talked about why you might want to try jumping into social media, and in part 2, we defined what people want from your social posts.

Now, it’s time to get a bit more specific and help you avoid some of the pitfalls into which people tend to fall when posting to a brand’s social media pages.

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PrintReleaf, Bringing Back Forests One Publication at a Time

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Have you ever had to defend against the ‘paper is bad for the environment’ argument? We all have, really, and while those of us in the industry know all about the sustainable solutions already in place, consumers, and even advertisers, usually aren’t as well educated. Maybe you’ve even missed out on a sponsorship opportunity because an advertiser felt strongly that print is just a bad thing. Frustrating, right?

That’s one reason Publication Printers offers additional services to help demonstrate and publicize a publisher’s dedication to environmental responsibility. FSC and recycled paper stock are the common examples, but they can be price-prohibitive for anything but the largest orders. In response, we’ve partnered with PrintReleaf to provide a new solution, and we’re the first printer to offer it. PrintReleaf doesn’t have any order size requirements and it’s less expensive than other ‘green’ options. Furthermore, unlike recycled paper which only cuts new/virgin paper consumption by a relatively small percentage, PrintReleaf effectively restores 100% of the paper used to produce a publication.

It’s a very simple concept – we measure how much paper is used in the publications we print for you, you pick which fully-certified reforestry project you want to support, and the PrintReleaf organization manages all the arrangements necessary to get enough trees planted to replenish what was used. You also get the requisite logos to print in your masthead and digital certificate to account for you contribution.


[Not exactly 37.2Kg. It’s more like 37.19736 and change, but who’s counting? Hint: We are.]

If you want to know more about the specifics of the operation, like certification and verification or who they partner with to get the job done, you can visit the PrintReleaf website or give us a call here at Publication Printers. We’re always happy to chat about how we can help you be successful.


Hasbro’s Tough Decision – Social Bullying and the Opportunity for Goodwill

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This was originally posted directly to LinkedIn, but it’s an interesting story for anyone, so we’re posting it to the blog too. There was some great followup in the comments on the original article, so if you’re interested, head over there too.


If you haven’t heard, John Spinello, creator of the children’s game “Operation” is in need of his own medical assistance. His friends are crowdfunding for that assistance.
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Simple Opportunities For Extra Revenue – Lessons from the 2014 Niche Digital Conference

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As a small publisher, your audience may be modest in size, but it’s very specific. That’s why you’re valuable to advertisers. Targeted marketing just converts better, end of story.

Of course, this is no surprise to you. The question isn’t whether or not you understand the value of your audience, it’s whether you’re taking advantage of all the opportunities you have to build your business using the audience you’ve spent so much time cultivating. At this year’s Niche Digital Conference, I came across a lot of suggestions for helping niche publishers succeed (read: how they can make money).

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USPS Will NOT Raise Prices, For Now

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A year ago, the USPS Chairman of the Board of Governors, Mickey Barnett, posted an open letter to all US Postal Customers. In short, the letter is an explanation and apology for having to raise prices periodically because, although they’ve made huge strides to cut costs over the last several years, they haven’t been able to do enough.

Luckily, we just got news that the Governors have decided NOT to increase rates this time around. At least, not in the immediate future.

Direct from USPS:

“Because the Postal Service has announced price change proposals in September and October for the past three years, mailing industry representatives and others have been waiting to hear whether a price change would take effect in January 2015.

The governors decided not to seek a change for mailing and shipping products and services in January in part because of the uncertainty regarding the exigent price increase.”

If you want to keep up with more USPS news, they post frequent national news releases on their site, and we’ll do our best to keep posting the most important news as it happens.


What People Want, Social Media Fundamentals, part 2

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[This is part two of an ongoing series dedicated to helping publishers understand the fundamentals of social media marketing. Here’s part one.]

Last time, we talked about the importance of giving people what they want. Meaning, the content you post to your social pages has to be genuinely interesting or useful to your audience. If it’s not, people won’t follow you and they won’t share what you post if they’re already following you. So, one of your most important tasks is to understand who your fans are (and your potential fans) and what they want. That’s not always easy to do, but you can start with an understanding of what everyone wants, and that’s surprisingly simple.

Four Universal Needs

As a brand, there are four things you can provide through social media that everyone in the world wants and needs.

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