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Volume 2, No. 2 ~ Spring 2009
  • News
  • Print
  • Service
  • Design
  • Green
  • Trivia

One of the Latest
Industry Buzzwords: TransPromo

In late March, HPI reps traveled to Philadelphia for the 2009 On Demand Conference and Expo, an annual event highlighting the latest and greatest hardware, software, and strategy solutions for the digital printing industry.

In addition to exhibitors and keynote speakers, the event featured conference sessions, including one focusing on the topic of “TransPromo.” Maybe you’ve already heard of it, but just in case . . . What is it and what can it do for you and your clients?

TransPromo is short for “transaction documents” and “promotional messages.” The premise is that companies are missing a prime opportunity to promote news and information to their clients if they are not making more effective use of the white space on their transaction documents (e.g., invoices, statements, explanations of benefits).

So, as long as your clients can quickly read what they owe, when it’s due, and how payment can be made, you have some real estate on that invoice to promote a special offer this month, or a “did you know” helpful tidbit, or a coupon, or just a plain, old-fashioned “thank you” message.

TransPromo can be a whole lot more than what’s described above (i.e., some TransPromo documents are becoming like mini-newsletters with variable data personalizing them for each client). But if you’d like to just get your feet wet for now, begin by thinking about how best to add some timely, relevant, and useful info for your clients to your transaction documents in a way that benefits your customer service goals.owar





A Walk Through the Offset Printing Process

In our last issue of the newsletter, we compared digital and offset printing. Since offset printing is a little more complex, we thought we would walk you through the process in more detail.
In a nutshell, an image is burned onto a plate, then it is transferred from the plate to the rubber blanket (cylinder), and then offset to the paper. But how is the plate made? And why does the ink only adhere to the image?

At HPI, we have a computer-to-plate (CTP) process. The digital file is sent from the computer to the plate output device. Each plate can be used for only one color of ink. For example, four-color process uses four plates: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black. Let’s say you are printing a four-color newsletter. When the newsletter is sent to the plate output device, the “image” of the newsletter file is separated out by color. As the individual plates pass through the CTP output device, each is exposed by laser to light, burning the image of the newsletter onto each corresponding plate.

The “magic” of the process is that ink and water do not mix. The chemically treated plate attracts the ink to the burned, or image, area. The smooth, non-image area of the plate attracts the water, forming a film that will repel the ink.

The plates are placed on cylinders within the press. As ink is applied to the plate, it transfers onto the rubber blanket. The plate does not have direct contact with the paper, since paper can wear down the metal plate and cause inconsistencies in the image. The rubber blanket is used to lessen the friction and keep the plate from wearing. As sheets of paper are fed through the press, the rubber blanket offsets the image to the paper.

Because of the nature of the process, we have a few tips to help you save money with offset printing:


• It is more cost effective to print larger quantities at the same time. The more you run at the same time, the lower the per-unit cost will be.

• Another great way to save is to have multiple pieces running together on the same press sheet. For example, run your business cards and a rack card together. (See the article, “Ganging up jobs can save dollars,” in our summer 2008 newsletter, archived online.)

• Utilize spot screens to add the look of multiple colors to your project without the added cost. (Learn more about spot screens in our fall 2008 newsletter online.)





Five Easy Ways to “Talk the Talk” with Printers

When clients contact us to describe a project or request an estimate, some phrases we use can cause momentary confusion due to “printer jargon.” To take some of the mystery out of our day-to-day jargon, we came up with five common examples to “talk the talk” when describing your project.

Flat versus Finish Size

“Is 8.5x11 the flat size or the finish size?”

This is one area that often trips people up, especially when they are printing a folded or bound project. For example, you are printing a newsletter that will be folded in half and then in half again. The flat size would be the size of your newsletter when it is fully open (for example, 11x17). The finish size would be the size of the newsletter after it has been folded (first to an 8.5x11 and then to a finish size of 5.5x8.5). Specifying flat size or finish size can save a lot of confusion.

Are you looking to save a little money, too? Ask us what would be the most cost-efficient size, production wise, that would still achieve your project’s goal. Bring in a sample or dummy of the project and ask if it would work just as well slightly smaller, or folded differently, etc.

Pages versus Sheets

“Is that 12 sheets of paper or 12 numbered pages?”

This is another area that can be baffling. Sheets and pages are often confused for one another. Pages often refers to the number of individual fronts and backs, often called numbered pages. Sheet is a term that describes the whole piece of paper. For example an 11x17 newsletter that folds in half has four pages, but is only one sheet of paper. The best way to describe your project would be to refer to the numbered pages and, in the case of a booklet, if that count includes the cover. For example: “I would like to print a booklet that has 16 numbered pages, including the cover.” We’ll figure out the number of sheets.


“What color is your project?”

When we ask this question, we are trying to determine how many colors your project will have. This is important to know for both offset printing and digital printing, but in this instance, we are focusing on offset. (See the “Print” article in this newsletter for further reference.)

If you have lots of beautiful, color photos and/or several different colors, then your project is probably a four-color process job. Are the colors just black and red? That would be what we call a black and one Pantone color job. Are the colors blue and red? We would call that a two Pantone color job. With each Pantone color, the press has to be washed up. Count the number of colors your piece has and tell us. If all else fails, bring in a printout or email a PDF to us. (What is a Pantone — or PMS — color? See the “Glossary” page on our website.)

Something to keep in mind is, typically, the more colors in your project, the higher the price. However, do not be afraid to ask us for suggestions to help you achieve the look you want with your project, while watching the bottom line.


"Is that a letter fold or a 'Z' fold?"

Describing a fold can be very difficult without visuals. One way to avoid confusion would be to create a folding dummy and share it with us. This can also serve as a double check to make sure your piece is folding correctly. (See the article, "Folding Dummies Can Be a Project Saver" in our summer 2008 newsletter, archived online.)

Click here to see illustrations of different types of folds.

Remember, if your piece is going to be folded and mailed, be sure to have the design approved with the post office. This will save you time and money in the long run

Choosing a "White" Paper

Which white is white?

White comes in many different shades. Specifying what white you would like can be challenging. Some examples include Bright Whites, Pure Whites, Cool Whites, Warm Whites, and Natural Whites, just to name a few. Be as specific as you can, mention that you are looking for an off-white or a bright white. If you have something specific in mind, bring in a sample. Visual aids can be very helpful!

Looking for a "greener" paper choice? Recycled whites can vary in their brightness depending on their recycled content. Let us know what percentage of recycled content you would like, and we can help find the right white for you.

JPGs Can Save Worry, Time, Space, and Money

Here’s the scenario . . . You are working on a new design for a big project. Let’s say it’s a viewbook to promote the organization’s products or services. Time is of the essence and you know as soon as you have final sign off, you’ll need to get the project to us, the printer, pronto.

Instead of burning a CD or using a flash drive, you’d like to FTP the project to us, but the file size is way too large. Is it too large out of necessity? Or are there some tricks of the trade that won’t compromise quality, and might even save you time and money?

One reason your file size might be unduly cumbersome is the difference between using TIFs and JPGs for images. (What are TIFs and JPGs? See our winter 2009 newsletter, archived online.) TIFs have traditionally been considered the best choice for image quality since they are saved with no compression at all, resulting in very large file sizes. This is a particularly good thing if you are scanning an original print, working with a piece of fine art, and/or manipulating or reworking the image multiple times.

The downside of TIFs is they are often oversized with regard to practicality. They can slow down the process of working within a document; they make the document file size bigger and, thus, more time-consuming when saving, emailing, or uploading PDFs; and they take up a lot of room when archiving files for storage. Plus, the compression in JPGs nowadays is much better at preserving color and quality in images, without having the bulkiness of TIFs.

The added bonus is that digital cameras have improved over the years, too, saving images automatically at higher JPG quality (usually at least 72 dpi and about 40 inches wide, depending on the camera, if not 300 dpi and 10 inches). In many cases, you can download the digital image right off your camera without making any adjustments to the JPG other than changing it to CMYK before dropping it into your document. (See a discussion about CMYK in our fall 2008 newsletter, archived online.)

Another way to control file sizes for easier FTP'ing is to “zip” your project. Zipping can also be known as packaging, gathering, archiving, and stuffing.

The basic way to zip is as follows:

(1) Create a folder on your computer desktop with the name of your project. (Note: Be sure to use a descriptive name that clearly identifies the project as yours. For instance, instead of “viewbook,” call it “Acme Company Viewbook” or something similar.)

(2) Gather all of the items that go with your project and copy them into the folder — the original file you created, the fonts you used, the graphic images you included, and a PDF, if possible (so that we can see the formatted file exactly as you see it, for proofing purposes).

(3) Control click on the folder and select the option that says, “Create Archive” of folder. It will appear on your desktop as a “.zip” folder.

(4) Now you are ready to upload!

In addition to reducing the size of a file for quicker and easier uploading, zipping can be a safer way for your file to travel. It preserves the integrity of your fonts and keeps all the supporting documents together in one folder. It also allows you to upload all the pieces of a job at once, rather than having to click on each item to upload it individually.

If you ever have any questions about zipping, we hope you will feel free to contact us. We’d be happy to assist you.

Following the Recycled Paper Trail

Recycled paper is a fairly generic phrase that can cover a range of content and proportion (from 10 to 100 percent post-consumer waste plus other recycled content). To help you navigate your way through the recycled paper trail, we have defined several common terms below:

• Post-Consumer Waste ~ paper that has been used by the consumer, recaptured, and then de-inked for reuse by paper manufacturers; is directly linked to the reduced amount of paper ending up in landfills.

• Post-Industrial Waste / Pre-Consumer Waste ~ material that went through the paper-making process but did not reach the consumer; includes waste from manufacturing, converting, and printing operations (e.g., paper scraps).

• Green Seal Certified ~ paper composed of a minimum of 30 percent post-consumer waste and using mill processes that are environmentally preferable.

• Green-e Certified ~ paper or other products manufactured with certified renewable energy, such as wind power or solar power.

• 100% Recycled (30% PCW) ~ an example of what a paper’s fiber content could be; it means that the paper is 100 percent recycled of which 30 percent is post-consumer waste and 70 percent is other recycled content.


Test Your Knowledge!

Speaking of recycled paper content (see our “Green” article in this newsletter), our trivia question this quarter is:

Who invented paper as we know it today, in what country, when, and from what material?

Please submit your answer via email (info@howardprintinginc.com) or fax (802-257-1453). The first 25 correct submissions we receive by July 1, 2009, will be entered into a drawing for a $25 gift certificate for Tom and Sally’s Handmade Chocolates of Brattleboro,Vermont (www.tomandsallys.com).

We look forward to receiving your submission! Thank you!

Answer to last quarter’s trivia question: about the origin of "minding your p's and q's": (1) Manual typesetters in printing's early days had to take care not to set p's and q's backwards or put the letters in the wrong storage drawer, and (2) English bartenders had to watch the "pints and quarts" being poured and consumed in their pubs.

Please note: Limit one submission per customer. May not be combined with any other discounts/offers. Maximum value of this offer is $25. No cash value; no cash or credit back. Other restrictions may apply.

Ink Bar
Howard Printing, Inc., of Brattleboro, Vermont, is a full-service commercial printing company providing offset
and digital printing, wide-format printing, graphic design, computer-to-plate prepress technology,
variable data printing, mailing services, and bindery and finishing services. Howard Printing is also the publisher
of the New England Showcase real estate magazine and two Vermont coloring books.

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