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Internet Brothers: Helpware for the Cybercommunity - Desktop Publishing

DTP Potpourri - Part II
by Judy Vorfeld

New to Desktop Publishing and the world of print shops? Don't have a clue about paper weight, finish, and the right uses for them? Most print shop owners and managers silently celebrate when people call for a quote and give them a work order truly descriptive of what's needed; in printer's terms. Let's see if any of the following tips will help your print shop complete your jobs efficiently and effectively.


Brightness: Indicates how much light the paper reflects. The 20 lb. stock most of us use daily has 84 brightness and is generally uncoated. One of my favorites when something's going to the print shop (camera ready): Hammermill Color Copier 28 lb. with 96 brightness. Another is Weyerhaeuser 28 lb., 94 white. Both are considered multi-use, and are excellent for quality and contrast.

Cast Coated: Paper with a finish similar to a glossy photograph.

Coated: Paper with a clay slurry applied to the surface. They range from very shiny to very dull. Glossy papers, such as those used for many high-quality four-color brochures, are all coated. They can be very light in weight, but are sturdy and opaque.

Finish: Refers to the paper's surface characteristics. Laid finish is a grid of parallel lines simulating the surface of handmade paper. Linen finish has a cross weave. Consult with your print shop manager to determine which kind of finish is best for your job. And save yourself grief: if you're having letterhead printed for someone who will output using an inkjet printer, get the right paper.

Grade: There are seven categories of paper: bond, uncoated book, coated book, text, cover, board, and specialty.

Kraft: Strong, usually brown, paper used both for wrapping and to create paper bags.

Stock: Another word for paper.

Weight: The thickness. Designated in pounds. The lower the weight, the less manageable the paper. The higher the weight, the more opaque the paper. Cover is thicker than the same weight in book, bond or offset. Quality letterhead is anywhere from 24 to 32 lbs.


From Ed McMahon The most popular business envelopes (9 1/2 x 4 1/8 inches) are called #10 envelopes. The next most popular size is around 6 x 9 inches. From this size and larger, they're usually manufactured in either Catalog or Booklet style. Catalog style opens on the shorter side of the envelope and is used for catalogs, large booklets and heavy enclosures inserted by hand. Booklet style opens on the longer side of the envelope and is used mainly for reports, brochures, literature or similar printed material.


GBC binding includes plastic combs, color coil, twin loop, VeloBind/SureBind or Therm-A-Bind. Other types of binding include saddle stitch, spiral, and perfect. Saddle stitch binds by stapling sheets where they fold at the spine. The perfect binding method uses strong glue to hold the pages to the cover at the spine. Example: most paperback and hard cover books.


Your Favorite Neighborhood Printer "A printing process where a film negative is made from your file or artwork," says Pacific Rim Printers and Mailers. "This negative is used to make a printing plate with the image of your design on it. The plate image takes up ink which is then transferred to a rubber 'blanket', which impresses the image onto the paper. This is the most common form of commercial printing."


Bindery: Either a separate part of a large print shop, or a separate business that binds, folds, trims, etc.

Bleed: Printing that extends to the edge of the document. Expect extra time and cost if you design this way.

Collation: If you have anything to be collated, plan on extra time. This kind of job often goes to a bindery.

Color: What you produce on your color inkjet printer usually will not photograph effectively: the colors look quite different when shot with a camera. Talk with your print shop about this, but be prepared to provide them with all black copy when additional colors are used. The print shop has additional challenges with tight registration (e.g., where two colors adjoin each other).

Copy: Everything that will be printed: text, artwork, and photographs.

Die cutting: Cutting shapes in paper (as for the insertion of a business card). Allow extra time and expect to pay more for this feature.

Folding: Sometimes your print shop has its own folding machines, but not always. Make allowances for extra time if they have to send it to a bindery or other specialty business.

Scoring: Compresses the paper along a line for later folding.

Stapling: If this is a requirement in your job, give it extra time, since it may have to go to a bindery.

This is what a real printer looks like One way to find out more about what your print shop does is to get one of their blank order sheets. Take it home and study it. Use the glossaries shown below. The more information you have when you ask for a quote or order a job, the easier it will be for you and your print shop to work together. Printing professionals are a separate and highly skilled group of people. Treat them with respect and you'll have a friend for life.


  2. Alphagraphics: glossary
  3. CDL Printing and Packaging: enormous glossary.
  4. Fox River: Glossary
  5. Kinkos: How to Prepare Digital Files for Printing
  6. Pacific Rim Printers and Mailers
  7. Wausau: Equivalent Basis Weights
  8. Webgrammar's Typography Resources


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Link to Office Support Services and Webgrammar.

Link to Office Support Services and Webgrammar. Judy Vorfeld (Webgrammar), owns Office Support Services, a home-based business specializing in the value of good grammar usage. Services include typing, copyediting, Web analysis, renovation, and design. She also works with foreign Web site editors when translated text needs clarification for the American English audience. You can reach Judy at or

Judy is truly one of the good people on the Web. She is highly motivated and community involved. We met her through our awards program and invited her to share her talent with you. When you go to visit her web site, please tell her the Internet Brothers sent you.

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