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Print Newsletter Production Tips

Read these 26 Print Newsletter Production Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Newsletter tips and hundreds of other topics.

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Is there a way to save money if I want to print two colors?

Save Money - Preprint 2nd Color

One of the ways to save money if you are using a second color (in addition to black) on your newsletter, is to preprint a large quantity using just the second color elements. Initially, it will cost you, but then, as you have subsequent issues printed, you will only be paying for black ink. (You may even be able to save money on the second color, if your press run can be scheduled when a particular color is already on the presses.)

   
What is a mimeograph machine and how does it work?

Mimeograph Machine - 3

Copier-printers are a step up from the oldstyle mimeos. They allow you to place your page mechanical into the mimeo machine, press some buttons, and a stencil is cut for you. It then loads the stencil onto the roller, starts printing, and when it is done, releases the used stencil. Some machines also allow printing for a full-size newsletter (11"x17" with a half fold).

   
What is the definition of a gang run?

Gang Run

A gang run is the lithographing of an assortment of jobs of the same or different sizes at the same time, by assembling them on one press plate, per color.

   
What is a mimeograph machine and how does it work?

Mimeograph Machine - 4

When shopping around for a secondhand mimeo machine, try to find one with a built-in stencil-cutter (or look for an electrostencil machine). These machines allow you to lay out and paste up your newsletter pages as you would for other methods of printing. Your page mechanical is then slipped into the machine, scanned, and a stencil is cut as the machine copies the image. (The stencil used is typically stronger than the ones you type into and will produce more copies.)

   
What is a mimeograph machine and how does it work?

Mimeograph Machine - 1

One of the easiest (and cheapest) ways to print your newsletter is with a mimeograph machine. Just type the newsletter on a stencil, attach the stencil to the machine, ink it up, and start printing. The ink is squeezed through the stencil onto the paper and you can usually get up to 15,000 copies from one stencil. One of the biggest disadvantages of the mimeo, is when you make a major mistake; you usually have to begin again and type a new stencil.

   
What is the definition of plate?

Plate

A plate is a sheet of metal (or paper for smaller quantities) carrying the image of your newsletter that is attached to the printing press.

   
What is a mimeograph machine and how does it work?

Mimeograph Machine - 2

Old-fashioned stencils require you to draw headlines and pictures by hand into the stencil using a stylus; a pen-like tool with a fine, round tip.

   
What is a deckle edge?

Deckle Edge

Deckle edges are the untrimmed "feathered edge" feature on a sheet of paper. It is used mainly for invitations or announcements (not newsletters!)

   
How should I type the postage paid information on my newsletter?

Third Class Indicia

Here's a sample of how your "indicia without affixing postage" should look (inside a box, on the right top corner where a stamp would normally go), if you are a non-profit organization and have paid an extra one-time $75 for this Third Class permit.

Non-Profit Org.
U.S. Postage
PAID
Salem, OR
Permit No. 123

   
Can I hand-deliver my newsletter in U.S. mail boxes?

Delivering Door to Door

Always remember that it is illegal to put any type of hand-delivered mail into U.S. mail boxes. If you are going to deliver your newsletter door to door, try rolling it up and using a rubber band to attach it to the front door.

   
What is the definition of kiss or butt?

Kiss (aka Butt)

To kiss or butt is to join two elements edge to edge.

   
Should I plan ahead for the next issue of my newsletter?

Plan Ahead!

Keep on top of your newsletter schedule by continually planning for the next issues. Jot your ideas down in one central location, so when it comes time to brainstorm or contact sources, you will have easy access. You can always make changes when it comes time to actually setting up that particular issue.

   
Is it important for me to know paper sizes?

Know Your Sizes

Knowing standard paper sizes will help you choose the size that is best for your newsletter (and determine the press it will run on). If you are printing a single sheet, 8-1/2"x11" works well. Newsletters with four pages or more are usually run on 11"x17" stock with a half-fold.

   
What is a copy machine and how does it work?

Copy Machine - 1

Your best choice for a hundred or so copies of your newsletter is an office copier; a copy machine. Most quick print shops have good copiers and many are self-serve. They charge an average of 3 cents (black on white) to 10 cents (colored stock, double-sided, heavy stock) per copy and can enlarge and reduce, collate, and even staple.

   
How can I meet my publication deadline?

Meeting Deadlines

Meeting deadlines should be a snap if you start by working backwards from your newsletter publication date. After deciding on the date, write down each process (layout, writing, typesetting, proofreading, paste-up, etc.) and the approximate time it will take to complete each task. Then make a chart to show the completion of each "mini-deadline." After you finish each step, check it off - by the last check, your newsletter should be in the hands of your readers!

   
Is there anything I should do after my newsletter is published?

Beyond the Deadline

Let's say you've just finished publishing your newsletter and, most importantly, you successfully met your deadline. Was it smooth sailing? No last minute problems?

This is the perfect time to evaluate the entire process from start to finish. Take a look at each step in the process and determine what worked and what didn't - there's always room to improve.

You should also take a look at the last issue itself. Were there features you left out due to space restrictions? Was there enough fresh information to interest your readers to pick up the next issue? If possible, gather all those involved in the production for a brainstorming session - their ideas and feedback are vital to success.

And don't forget to start working on the next issue!

   
Should I use a commercial printer for my newsletter?

Things Your Printer Needs to Know

Since costs can vary dramatically depending on your printing needs, be sure to take a sample of a newsletter similar to the one you will be publishing. This will help your printer give you the most accurate estimate.

Also let them know whether you will be giving them "camera-ready" copy, or whether you will need to take advantage of in-house typesetting services.

Information you need to discuss with your printer includes number of pages, size, quantity, paper, ink color(s), photos/graphics/special effects, and any finishing work (including stapling, folding, etc.); always ask for a written quote.

Don't forget to ask how long it will take to have your newsletter printed - most shops are extremely busy and deadline schedules are tight. If you are in a hurry, they may allow for "rush" jobs, but you will be charged accordingly.

   
Should I use a quick printer for my newsletter?

Determining Factors

Determining which method of printing you should use for your newsletter depends primarily on the following factors: press run (quantity), page count, quality needs, schedules, and pricing.

   
How can I obtain the recycling icon for printing on recycled paper?

Recycled Paper Icons

Are you doing your part for the environment by printing your newsletter on recycled paper? If you are, you can apply to get the icon that says, “Printed on recycled paper,” faxed or mailed to you by writing to:

American Paper Institute
260 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10016
Fax: 212 689-2628

After they confirm that you have met their standards, they'll send the camera-ready icons to you.

   
What is the definition of a platemaker?

Platemaker

In order to create a plate for printing your newsletter on a press, your printer uses a platemaker. This unit is a vacuum frame with a rubber blanket and glass that holds the negative and plate in close contact for exposure from an intense light source.

(Also see "Plate")

   
Does quantity affect my choice of printing methods?

How Many Copies?

If you're not sure which method of printing to use, here's a standard guide: 500 copies or less, use photocopying; 500-1000 copies, use a quick printer; and 1000 or more copies, use offset printing. (20,000 copies or more - consider web offset printing!)

   
What is the best color of paper to use for printing my newsletter?

Paper Color

The most effective colors of paper to choose for printing your newsletter are: white, ivory, cream, or "natural." You can also help out the environment by selecting recycled paper.

   
What are paper (electrostatic) or plastic plates used in printing?

Electrostatic Plates

To save money, and for convenience, you can choose a quick printer who will use paper (electrostatic) or plastic plates on an offset press to produce your newsletter. One of the advantages of this method is they can sometimes make the paper plates directly from a computer via your floppy disk. Plastic plates allow up to 20,000 impressions before breaking down. However, stay away from plastic or paper if you want quality photos in your newsletter.

   
What is collating?

Collating

If your newsletter is more than one page (either front/back 8-1/2x11" or folded 11x17"), it will need to be gathered and arranged into the desired sequence. Collating can be done by hand or by machine.

   
What is the definition of a hickey?

Hickey

A hickey is a halo-shaped imperfection on a printed piece caused by dust, dirt, or other particles in the ink or on the plate or offset blanket.

   
Where can I find a good printer for my newsletter?

Choosing a Printer

Not all printers are created equal (and neither are newsletters!) Be sure to shop around for the best price for printing your newsletter. The yellow pages in your phone book are the best place to begin your search. Family members and friends can also recommend printers they've worked with on other projects.

Once you step through the front door, ask to see samples of other newsletters they have printed. More often than not, they will be proud to show off their work!

Then, whatever you decide, be sure to get a detailed, written estimate or quote for the final product.

   
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Guru Spotlight
Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.