Nuts and Bolts
Business Card Slits | Poly Bags and the Environment | Working with Cover Stock | Sex
Business Card Slits
Q: How many ways can there be to cut business card slits in the pocket of a kit folder? Yesterday, one customer wanted slits that would leave the entire top half of his card design visible... and an hour later another customer insisted on slits that wouldn't cover any part of either the left edge or the right edge of his card. Do I have unreasonable customers? Or am I out of touch?
A: Bindagraphics can cut business card slits in your kit folders to meet these customer requirements. To leave the top half of the card visible or to leave the left and right edges visible.
These two special cuts only scratch the surface. Most people think of either one of the following styles as the "standard" way to cut business card slits-
(The 2-corner style can be cut upper left/lower right, as show, or upper right/lower left.)
But in fact there are many variations. For example, the "standard" styles can be cut with "easy insertion corners"-
Then there are "Half Moon" cuts:
And "Side Traps"-
You can help your customers optimize their kit folder designs by scrutinizing their business cards and selecting the pattern of slits that works best. And whatever you select, Bindagraphics can cut the business card slits for you.
(Our thanks, by the way, to Ralph H. Pope's always useful column, "The Finisher's Corner," in New England Printer & Publisher, for the last word on business card slits.)
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Polybags and the Enviroment
Q: We print a lot of retail materials that get wrapped in polybags for distribution, but lately, some customers have been expressing concerns about negative environmental impact of polybags. Do you have any facts on poly vs. paper as far as the environment is concerned?
A: This issue arises because polybags have several distinct advantages over paper wrappers (if they didn't, there wouldn't be any controversy):
- Polybags protect their contents from dirt and weather more effectively than paper wrappers.
- Wrapping in polybags runs about twice as fast in production as wrapping in paper.
- Poly is so light it doesn't increase postage on a piece that goes into the mail; a paper wrapper will sometimes add enough weight to cause postage to go up.
- A poly bag is sealed to fully enclose its contents, so loose inserts can be included; they can't be in a paper wrap that just encircles the materials.
- Finally, poly is less expensive than paper.
But in today's atmosphere of heightened environmental concern, all these benefits often mean nothing if it's perceived that polybags contribute to pollution and paper wrappers don't.
Here are some facts on this point:
- Assumption: Poly won't biodegrade in landfills, and paper will. The truth is, most paper doesn't biodegrade in landfills, because it's quickly buried under more trash and highly compacted so sun, wind and rain can't reach it. According to an Office of Technology Assessment report to Congress (quoted in a Quad/Graphics "Enviro/Facts" bulletin), "There is evidence that decomposition rates of organic materials in landfills are so slow that the space-saving benefits [of organic materials like paper] may not be important."
- Well, if our scarce landfill space weren't so choked with plastic, waste paper might biodegrade more quickly. Not true. Paper takes up about half the space in landfills, plastic only about 12%. And that percentage has been virtually constant for over two decades, because-although we're using more and more plastic-manufacturers keep making it stronger and lighter.
- Still, paper is recyclable, poly is not. The truth is that poly is highly recyclable. In fact, it can be recycled over and over again without losing its strength.
Summary: Environmental impact is pretty much a non-issue in the paper vs. poly debate. (For more details, write to Quad/Graphics, W224 N3322 Duplainville Road, Pewaukee, WI 53072-4195.) You can feel comfortable about your social responsibility in advising customers to continue using polybags, and Bindagraphics will feel more than comfortable in continuing to supply your polybagging requirements.
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Working with Cover Stock
A: There's no "Q" in this "Q & A." At least, no single question. Instead, I want to address several issues printers have raised with Bindagraphics over the years, all of them related to binding/finishing problems that sometimes crop up on jobs printed on fancy text or cover stock.
The pointers that follow apply to premium grades of paper characterized by superior strength, printability, and durability. They have excellent folding, stamping, embossing and perforated qualities... provided you bear in mind the significance of bulk, grain direction, and paper finish.
The bulk of a particular stock may dictate whether or not it needs scoring. You should consult with your bindery ahead of time if you're in doubt.
Bulk can also cause "creep." When signatures composed of many pages, and/or printed on a bulky stock, are saddle-stitched, center pages will push out from the spine. Trimming the protruding edges will correct this condition, but since trimming reduces outside margins, the affected pages need to have generous outside margins. The designer who lays out the pages should anticipate this requirement, but since designers sometimes fail to do so, printers should be extra careful when planning a job on bulky stock to double-check the allowance made for outside margins. Appropriate margins are easily set in computer page-makeup systems, but only if the operator knows they're required. To avoid the need for repositioning the film during stripping, this is another case where good communication up front is called for-in this case between the printer and the designer.
When you print fancy text or cover stocks, you should usually run the job grain long. This will improve feeding and handling, and control stretch, in your shop; and it will promote better scoring and folding in the bindery. Grain direction should be consistent throughout the job, so your layout/imposition should be planned accordingly. Making up a dummy from press-size sheets in the exact sequence they will appear in the finished job is indispensable; it will help you make sure you're consistent on both grain and...
Finishes or patterns on a sheet, like grain, should be consistent throughout the job. Watermarks-since they are usually discernible in large solid areas or when a sheet is held to the light-should be positioned to read top-to-bottom and left-to-right on the more prominent side of the sheet. Finally, "two-sided" paper-any stock with pronounced differences in texture and printing characteristics between the felt side and the wire side-needs special attention.
- For printing halftones, separations, screens and fine line work, the smoother side of a sheet-usually the felt side-is often preferred. (For this reason, most paper is packed felt side up.)
- To ensure consistent image-to-texture control, you should usually print sheetwise on a pronounced two-sided stock, even though this may mean sacrificing some economies in stripping and plate changes you could achieve with work-and-turn or work-and-tumble. For example, when a four-page cover is run four-up sheetwise, all front covers will be printed on the same side of the sheet (usually the smoother side is desirable), which will give your customers the consistency they want.
- Matching the two halves of a crossover is easier when you run them on the same side-felt or wire-of a significantly two sided sheet.
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Q: Why did the covers fall off my $60 copy of Madonna's book, Sex?
A: Sex (the book) is about 5/8" thick. The publisher's specs called for it to be Wire-O© bound with 5/8" wire. The result is that when the book is opened and the pages are turned, the binding pulls apart. Sex should have been bound with 3/4" or 7/8" wire. The lesson? If you're planning to put naked pictures of yourself cavorting with all manner of species into a book, and you don't want the covers to fall off, call Bindagraphics. We'll know what thickness of wire to wrap you in.
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