A good request is half printed.
You/we always need this information:
1 Print run
The print run is the total quantity to be delivered, usually a simple number of pieces. If it is not yet fixed, ask for two or three variants. Alternatively, you can give us a fixed budget and we will calculate the print run that can be realised within this framework.
Optionally, the print run can be divided into varieties. In this case, we print different contents (image motifs, language versions, etc.) with otherwise identical parameters within one order.
For example, the following specifications each mean the printing of the same total quantity:
- 16,000 (no varieties)
- 16 x 1,000 (varieties of the same quantity)
- 5 x 1,000 + 3 x 2,000 + 1 x 5,000 (varieties of different numbers)
The difference in effort between these three specifications can be considerable. Therefore, you must always specify the possible variety breakdown in the enquiry.
If you need additional samples, write this in the enquiry as well, for example: 16 x 1,000 + 10 samples each.
The format defines the dimensions of the finished printed product as width x height. Especially for folded and bound printed products, this also indicates the orientation. 14.8 x 21 cm and 21 x 14.8 cm designate completely different products. If you open the first product, the double page is 29.6 x 21 cm, whereas the second is 42 x 14.8 cm.
This difference is unmistakably clarified when you open the product sideways, so that the length of the binding or the last fold is always given as the height. This seems strange in some cases, because according to this, for example, a wall calendar hung in portrait format is to be expressed as landscape format.
However, you can formulate it differently in the request, for example by binding on the short side. It is only important that you clearly mark a landscape format production.
Any incorrect format specification can lead to a costly order change, especially if it only becomes apparent after we have already procured the paper.
We assume a print with bleed. You do not need to mention this. Always state the dimensions of the finished, i.e. possibly folded, bound and end-trimmed product.
The number and type of printing inks used are essential effort characteristics for the product or its parts. They are listed in the notation front/back. This also allows us to distinguish between single-sided and double-sided printing and to formulate the rarer case of different colours on the front and back.
For a standard colour print you do not have to mention colour names in the enquiry, but simply write 4/4, coloured on both sides or similar. Similarly, we understand specifications such as 1/0 or one-sided single colour as printing with standard black.
But if your project contains spot colours, you have to list them specifically, e.g. write 5/0 scale+Pantone 802. Firstly, this is generally cost-relevant because at least one printing unit has to be retooled for your job, whereas we consider the press to be always prepared for the four standard colours. Secondly, spot colours have a material value several times higher than process colours, and to a very different extent.
While the actual consumption of process colours is not relevant to the price of your order, we assume a maximum of 15% ink coverage of the spot colour(s) unless you specify a higher value. If a higher coverage turns out to be necessary only after the order has been placed, we will have to make a price adjustment.
Bound content is normally printed with continuous colour. We can only calculate a different production with very precise information. It is not enough if you write, for example, 96 pages of content, 16 of them in colour, the rest in black. If the colour pages are somehow distributed over the content, it is 4/4-colour in total. This would be different for a perfect binding with 96 pages of content, of which p. 17 - 32 in colour, rest in black, because in this case the number of required printing plates is significantly reduced.
Please specify the substrate for a product or product part either by its qualitative properties or by a trade name and in any case with an indication of grammage or thickness.
The grammage is the paper weight per square metre. Almost all types of paper are available in several grammages. Since paper is traded by weight, there is a material cost difference of 15% between 100 and 115 g/m2, for example, and this has a significant impact on the price, especially for longer runs. Alternatively, if the copy weight is important to you, for example for mailing, you can specify a weight limit. We will then calculate the highest possible grammage on this basis.
Only write a trade mark for standard papers if you really have good reasons for this specification. The concrete makes, for example in the quality standard coated matt (i. e. multiple matt-coated, wood-free, white, under-volume), do not differ so enormously.
We keep a whole range of specifications in bulk for offset printing and even more in small quantities for digital printing. If we can offer you from these stocks, the costs are of course reduced considerably.
However, please do not remain completely vague. Plain paper, not too thin is no indication at all, just like high quality. In this case, we should talk on the phone first, because you obviously need advice. On the other hand, 100% recycled, uncoated, medium grammage would be sufficient. Then we offer the currently cheapest type in the exact medium grammage.
If you write something like FSC paper, we always understand this as a requirement for FSC certified production. This feature does not appear in our offer for the paper, but as a product certification.
You/we need this information depending on the product:
5 Folding Leaflet, flyer, folding card, …
For regularly folded products, specifications such as 4-sided or closed altar fold or 3-break leporello or 8-page cross fold are sufficient for us. They are unambiguous in connection with the format (final size, in this case after the fold). We generally distinguish between the following types of fold:
- Centre-parallel: The fold input format is halved. If there is only one fold, there is no need to mention this type of fold, because the result is the simple 4-page. Each additional centre parallel fold doubles the number of pages. 8 pages are therefore created by only 2 fold breaks.
- Leporello: The fold start format is folded alternately two or more times at equal intervals to create a zig-zag shape. The number of fold breaks is page number / 2 - 1, so 3 fold breaks create 8 pages.
- Wrap: The fold input format is folded two or more times into each other. The number of fold breaks is also page number / 2 - 1, but the wrap fold requires more units in the folding machine than the fanfold and is therefore sometimes more time-consuming.
- Altar: The two outer legs are folded equilaterally to the centre. For this, a special unit must be installed in the machine. If the product remains like this, we speak of an open altar, also called a window fold. In most cases, however, the product is then closed so that the two previously folded legs are on the inside. A closed altar therefore always has 8 sides.
- Cross: The product is turned 90° in the folding machine so that the next fold is crossed to the previous one. The simplest and only clear scheme with a cross fold is therefore called centre parallel + rotation + centre parallel and thus has 8 sides.
With any combination of these folds we need a more precise characterisation of the scheme. For example, 16 pages can be created by 3-break centre-parallel, 7-break leporello or 3-break cross, but also, for example, as a closed leporello (zig-zag inside, wrap outside) or by a scheme like 3-break wrap + turn + centre-parallel.
Of course, you do not necessarily have to delve into this terminology for this, but can send us a sketch instead.
6 Extent Brochure, Book, Collection, …
Bound products are usually, with the exception of booklets, necessarily multi-part, i.e. they consist of at least one content (inner part, book block) and the cover or binding. For this, you probably specify the material, possibly also the colouring or a print finish, separately in each case. Please also refer to these product parts in the page count, e.g. write 64 pages of content, 4 pages of cover. If you only state the bare number of pages for a multi-part product, we do not know whether you mean including or plus cover.
Please do not confuse pages and sheets. A sheet has 2 pages. Only in the case of a set or pad (loose-leaf set, NCR set, notepad, etc.) is it correct, or at least alternatively customary, to state the volume as the number of sheets. In all other cases we talk about the page count.
With saddle stitching, as with thread stitching, 4 pages of the contents are inseparable, i.e. the number of pages of the contents must be divisible by 4. Only in the case of fold-out contents is this different in total, but you must mark such flaps very precisely in your enquiry, i.e. also with position.
For the cover, 6 or 8 pages means that it has flaps at the front and/or back. These flaps are cut in anyway, but if they only take up a small part of the final format, you should indicate the flap width so that we can optimise the print sheet layout. With saddle stitching, keeping the flaps flush with the contents takes more effort than if they can be set back 1-2 mm, which is often acceptable with a back flap. Please state your requirement for this as well.
7 Binding Brochure, book, pad, …
Terms such as magazine, catalogue, documentation, etc. are not clear characterisations of the product. We have to agree on the type of binding before the calculation, whereby the following can be chosen:
- Saddle stitching (stitched brochure, easy to handle and particularly cost-effective for larger print runs, suitable from 8 and up to approx. 80 pages content, with thin material also a little more if necessary).
- Adhesive binding (simplest binding in a book spine, for more extensive content that would be too thick in booklet form or should have a spine thickness for other reasons)
- Thread-stitching (thread-stitched layers in a circulating cover, particularly high-quality brochure, best opening behaviour)
- Thread-stitching in a hardcover (standard version of a high-quality book, see below)
- Adhesive binding in hardcover (no thread sewing of the book block, thus somewhat cheaper and inferior)
- Swiss brochure (binding of the contents in one fold, cover can be folded away at the front)
- Wire comb binding (fully folding brochure, wall calendar or similar, also called Wire-O or spiral binding, although this is not exact)
- Ring-eye binding (booklet with ring eyelets for filing or similar)
- Block gluing (gluing that remains open, mostly for writing pads, i.e. a certain number of identical sheets plus a back cover, optionally also with a cover sheet)
For a hardcover, we assume the following standard features:
- Book block: thread stitching
- Binding: 2 mm cardboard
- Cover: 4/0 offset printing + foil lamination matt
- Front/back matter: white unprinted
- Spine: straight
- Headband: white
- Ribbon: no
Only requirements that deviate from or go beyond this must be stated in the enquiry.
Here it becomes optional:
8 Environmental seal
We can prove the environmentally friendly production of your print product by certificates. These options are shown on our environmental page.
Please note that this is always a product characteristic, not simply the paper used or any general measures on our part.
Therefore, you need to mention the desired certifications already in the enquiry so that we can take the associated requirements into account, even if they often have no or only marginal impact on the quotation price.
For example, we may not be able to implement a subsequent request for FSC certification if we have already procured the paper for your order.
9 Print finishing
Please also read our page on print finishing to get to know the most important terms and techniques in this field. Clearly characterise your possible requirements in the enquiry by:
- Technical effect (e.g. hot foil stamping)
- If applicable, material or colour(s) (e.g. silver)
- If applicable, product part or page positions (e.g. cover one-sided)
- If necessary, further information on the effort required (e.g. for embossing at least the size of the stamp, preferably the shape itself).
Of course, we will be happy to advise you before you make your enquiry, as this is a subject where you have to consider both technical details, e.g. when combining several finishing features, and the acceptable cost framework.
Print finishing also includes protective measures that we automatically factor in, such as film lamination of covers for hardcovers on non-hard-wearing paper or inline dispersion varnish to protect offset printing on matt-coated paper, especially for high-quality catalogues. Doing without them is possible, but usually not a good idea.
10 Creasing and perforations
We have a whole range of techniques for creasing and perforating. For example, brochure covers are creased inline at the cover feeder of the respective binding machine. This does not even need to be mentioned by you.
In particular, you do not have to commit to this, but can leave the decision to us as to whether fold breaks are pre-creased or not. This depends not only on the grammage, but also on the type of paper and the printing process. For example, a digital print with a motif in the fold break practically always has to be creased, whereas an offset print only has to be creased for thicker materials. If we are wrong with our calculation decision in borderline cases, that is our problem. We also crease the fold fraction at no extra cost if the necessity only becomes apparent during finishing.
Perforations and creases that are not parallel to each other form a kind of cutting die. For this we need the description from you for the calculation, for example 1 angular perforation, or a sketch. If it is a sheet to be punched anyway, the grooves and perforations are of course already included in the punching costs.
Parallel creases, micro and normal perforations are usually realised without toolmaking on our bar creasing machine. Only in the case of very long runs or frequent repetition can it be more economical overall to build a tool for our flatbed die-cutter, even if it is only a simple line. In any case, it is sufficient if you tell us the type and number of lines in the enquiry, e.g. perforation in a fold break.
If your print product contains changing elements per copy, we speak of a personalised print run, even if it may not involve people at all. Technically, we usually realise it as an offset print that receives a subsequent imprint on our digital printing press, alternatively as a pure digital print.
For the calculation, we first need to know the content type(s), such as address, salutation, barcode, QR code, consecutive numbering or similar. Secondly, for a multi-page or multi-part product, you need to specify the position(s).
Of course, personalisation on both sides of the sheet or even across several printed sheets will cause significantly higher costs. Thirdly, please also tell us the colour of the personalisation if it is not simply black.
A clear characterisation would therefore be, for example, for a cover letter Addressing and salutation or for an invitation Personalisation 1/0 opaque white or for a voucher booklet Numbering from 25001 over all pages.
Of course, we will pack your edition in a handy and transportable form even if you do not give us any specifications. However, it is not uncommon for you to have special requirements or wishes with regard to shipping, use or storage. Here are some hints on this subject:
- Basically, the packaging unit (PU) is a handy quantity. In the case of a smooth sheet product, the content quantity is not actually exact, but can be brought to a defined measure with the help of our counting strip inserter on the press. Folded, bound, die-cut or finished products are always counted in the last processing machine anyway. If you give us a fixed number of PU, this may result in slight additional costs.
- It is not a given whether and how we label the PU. If you do not give us any instructions, we will label with our logo, a product identifier and the PU. But of course you can also give us any other parameters you want, for example manufacturer neutrality or a specific article number. The costs usually remain unaffected.
- Within the PU, we can bundle the copies for easier removal. Although the division of the PU may only be done by staggered stacking, it can also be done with rubber bands, a coloured separator sheet or a band. Banding is a separate operation and therefore cost-relevant in any case.
- We pack formats up to DIN A4 as standard in stable slip cartons (microwave) for A4 contents with a filling height of 10 cm.
- Alternatively, we can shrink-wrap the PU in film. This is particularly useful for formats that do not fit well in telescope cartons.
- Larger formats are packed in packages, if possible. Posters are delivered rolled in a quatro pack for small quantities (digital printing or mail order distribution), and loose on a pallet as standard for larger runs. Please inform us of any other requirements.
- Pure palletising is often required for inserts and is also cost-relevant for large print runs because no inverted cartons or similar are needed. You can also define special arrangement instructions or, for example, packaging in Euro containers (Euro exchange pallets closed on the sides).
- For larger volumes, we assume by default that they are to be placed on Euro exchange pallets. We therefore assume exchange for empty pallets on delivery or collection. If this does not work, we will charge you for the pallets afterwards. Alternatively, please let us know explicitly that you want us to place the order on disposable pallets. This will not incur any costs.
- If we deliver to your warehouse and further conditions are set from there, you should also tell us them in advance.
And finally the important formalities:
If you do not give us a shipping specification, our quotation price is ex works, i.e. either for collection or plus shipping costs. However, we can also include shipping in the print price or show it separately in the quotation.
By free delivery we mean delivery to your address or an address explicitly stated in the enquiry by the cheapest means possible. Within Berlin we deliver by direct delivery, i.e. without delivery time. For other addresses we assume, depending on the weight, a forwarding agent or parcel service with normal shipping time. The standard delivery time within Germany is 2 working days.
For urgent shipments there are various express options, for example within Germany "Spedition Next Day" or "UPS Express Saver" or even tighter deadlines.
We would also be happy to arrange a wider distribution of shipments for you. But please understand that all parameters (quantities and addresses) must already be clear in the enquiry. The print request itself must not contain any weight-relevant options, e.g. several variants of the page count, because in such cases the calculation of the dispatch distribution is too time-consuming for us.
14 Deadline settings
Sometimes projects are already linked to fixed deadlines in the enquiry. Meeting the deadline is then also a decision criterion for awarding the contract, sometimes even an absolute priority. We understand this, and deadline reliability is one of our primary performance characteristics. But we have to distinguish in the quotation phase what your request is about.
First of all, your request in this case should not include widely differing variants. As long as it is not yet clear whether a certain print finishing will be added or not, even if the print run is either 1,000 or 100,000, you cannot expect any deadline statements from us. That would then rather be the subject of a preliminary discussion of your project.
If you ask us about a delivery deadline, we will generally only give you an answer based on experience. Our statement then means that we produce an object with the requested parameters on average within a certain number of working days. It therefore only serves as a rough guide for your schedule. Our production can also take significantly longer or be accelerated.
The situation is completely different if you state a delivery date in the enquiry and ask us by when we need the print documents in order to be able to meet this specific date. In this case, however, you must also tell us whether the delivery date is to be understood as absolutely latest. In addition, we must of course know whether we should quote the print substrate deadline, which is also the absolute latest possible, or whether we can allow for a sufficient reserve for our production time. This difference is relevant to the price, even though we do not have an "express option" with any kind of flat-rate surcharge.
We therefore do not respond to a specified delivery date in the enquiry with a simple promise, but propose a concrete schedule. In this, not only is the print substrate date important, but also the latest possible order placement, so that we can keep the corresponding production capacity free and procure the paper in good time.